Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Pallister CON shakes up Trustee Race with Hard Right Culture Warfare

LRSD Ward 4 candidate & provincial
Conservative Youth Representative
Candace Maxymowich (left) beside
Conservative leader Brian Pallister.

Image Source: Candace Maxymowich/Twitter
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Candace Maxymowich is a candidate for School Trustee in the Louis Riel School Division's Ward Four and is the Pallister CONs Youth Rep. Recently she's been in the news for bringing her support for Forced Birth and Abstinence Only "Education" into the trustee race.

It's sure been one hell of a weird trip up to this point.

It was tense at the Louis Riel School Division's (LRSD) Fourth Ward. Hastings and Gaboury schools swapped students due to French immersion growth. There was a lot of bad blood and division between parents of the two different schools over the swap.

Some parents at the Anglophone Hastings - which had an extra room - were upset with the switch to Gaboury school - short a room for the rising French immersion population.

Carey Bridges, parent of a then Hastings student, opined to the CBC in March on how Gaboury was meeting on the issue "behind closed doors" for months. According to Bridges Gaboury wanted ''... their kids in our facility ... Well, who wouldn't? It's a better facility."

LRSD Ward Map.

Image Source:
Hugh Coburn and Tom Parker, the two representatives of the Fourth Ward, came under fire from Candace Maxymowich. There was discontent over the School Board's consultation and communications when it came to the swap. Maxymowich started her campaign with heavy emphasis on communication and attacked the incumbents.

The Winnipeg Free Press's Nick Martin reported that Candace wondered how Coburn - also the chair of the LRSD - could sleep at night. She also asked voters to "put integrity and ingenuity over incumbency this election", which Hugh took as a shot at him and other Board members.

The challenger veered off her generic anti-incumbent message when she suggested savings that could be found in schools. One may wonder what savings? Well, she provided a sensible option: privatizing school breakfast programs.

"Is the food used for that really an efficient use of money?" she asked Freep reporter Nick Martin.

She gave vague insinuations about finding "private partners" for school lunch programs. Few specifics were provided in the Freep article or the campaign literature I've seen.

She also told the Freep that she "may consider" reducing the number of teachers. Because, as you know, there's just too many teachers teaching too few kids in southeast Winnipeg. Larger class sizes for the win, am I right?

She later backpedaled on the firing teachers suggestion.

After veering far right on teachers and school lunches, she took a similar direction with sex ed and abortion on August 3, 2014.

She issued a tweet challenging other candidates to defend "parental rights" and the "moral integrity of children". She referenced two anti-choice organizations in her tweet.

Screen capture obtained from the @CandaceMax twitter account on very late Monday,
August 4, 2014.

 Now, one will notice that the tweet third down from the top asks "Which candidates will stand up for your parental rights & the moral integrity of children?". This, rather clearly, seems to be saying that Candace Maxymowich wants voters (or, at least, Forced Birther voters) to know the candidates position and consider it when voting.

Candace Maxymowich tried to bring various culture war conservative rhetoric into the trustee race, talking about "parental rights" (while, oddly opposing the rights of young women emotionally unsuited for parenthood to end unwanted pregnancies) and "moral integrity of children".

While giving shout outs to Manitoba's Life's Vision and the national Campaign for Life, Candace made it clear that she had a broader socially conservative agenda when it came to "parental rights".

Screenshot of Twitter conversation between @BenBrisebois, @CandaceMax, and @ZachFleish.

She stated on record that she opposes comprehensive sex education and supports abstinence only "education". Even though she started the entire tangent on "parental rights" and the "moral integrity of children" explicitly challenging rival candidates to give their views, she tried to diffuse the situation by claiming she was only giving a "personal opinion".

Twitter Screenshot

The backlash that switched her into full on backpedal mode is too big to list here. The Freep has a slideshow on it, for those interested.

Some people, like rightwing radio personality Charles Adler and Manitoba Liberal Harry Wolbert, have chimed in to offer personal support. They claim that she has the right to free expression and is brave for voicing her views. Charles Adler claims he doesn't share her socially conservative opinions, whereas the Liberal Wolbert supports abstinence only "education".

Partial twitter screenshot. See tweet here.

Twitter screenshot of @hwolbert.

Regardless, they're both misjudging the situation. Candace Maxymowich was explicitly contacting two socially far-right organizations and challenging other candidates to voice similar views. She was trying to drive a wedge between herself and other Ward 4 candidates for her own electoral gain (social conservatives are very motivated voters, especially in a low turnout race). Her plan backfired and now she pretends she was just offering her own personal musings.

Voters can't let Candace Maxymowich off the hook that easily. If you're going use your "personal beliefs" to win over the socially conservative fringe than mainstream voters have a right to voice their discontent.

I defend Candace's right to say her ignorant beliefs in a public forum. I also, however, defend the right of informed critics to poke holes in her ill-conceived views.

 The stakes are high, as this candidate will be a member of a Board that influences the health and well-being of kids in southeast Winnipeg. Opposing evidenced-based policy is a bad precedent for a trustee to set, both for other board members and as a role model for students.

We need to expect better than this from school trustee candidates in every division and every ward. Politicians who use their "personal beliefs" to win votes and create wedges will be held accountable.

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  1. She has a right. It behooves all of us if we could get more wanna be politicians to express their "personal" views. It helps us get through the chaffe and make sound choices when we vote.

    I like people who speak their minds. Unlike harry, but, I don't give them my vote just for doing so. I listen to what they have to say, then make my mind up.

    We should all push and encourage candidates to speak their minds. Only then can we get past the fake smiles.

  2. In her Feb. 9, 2012 letter to the editor of the Yorkton News, she self-identifies as a supporter of the federal NDP:

    1. She was a member of the provincial Conservatives by 2013 and involved in various campaigns of theirs then. She was elected by fellow provincial Conservatives to the post of Youth Rep, a position on the Board of the Manitoba PC Party.

  3. I'm going to give Candace a free pass on her statements and am only going to examine her actions. So on Feb 19, 2012 she claims to be a supporter of the NDP, yet the following year she is a member of the provincial conservatives. Talk about a 180 degree turn. I think Candace flip flops more than a fish out of water and I suspect she lacks clarity of her own political identity. For that reason, I don't think she has the acquired leadership to do the job and I for one, will not vote for this candidate. Thank you Analyst for shedding light on this matter. I would not have come to this decision had I not read your blog!

  4. Good summary, you should be consistent about use of surnames vs first names though. It is sexist to call Maxymowich by her first name and the other candidates by their last names, even if she herself perpetuates sexist views in her platform.

    1. Seventh paragraph down.

      "The Winnipeg Free Press's Nick Martin reported that Candace wondered how Coburn - also the chair of the LRSD - could sleep at night. She also asked voters to "put integrity and ingenuity over incumbency this election", which Hugh took as a shot at him and other Board members."

      I referred to her so often and since blogging in general has a conversational quality that I decided to use her given name in some instances. I suppose I could have referred to her as "the challenger" instead if I though I was overusing her family name.

  5. How about mention the very sexist hate tweets Maxymowich got. Its really too bad the haters won't get fired from their work places for their hatred, personal remarks!