The Fraser Valley Labour Council has endorsed four Chilliwack school board trustees, from left to right, Dan Coulter, Willow Reichelt, Kelly Janveaux and David Swankey. (Submitted)

Fraser Valley Labour Council endorses four Chilliwack school board candidates

Union group endorses three for city council, pulls endorsement for mayoral hopeful Sam Waddington

The union organization representing approximately 12,000 affiliated members in the Fraser Valley has endorsed three Chilliwack city council candidates and four School Board 33 candidates.

The Fraser Valley Labour Council (FVLC), which is a chartered body of the Canadian Labour Congress, focused in particular on the school trustee candidates.

“For many reasons, the Chilliwack School Board is a high priority,” the FVLC said in a press release issued Thursday. “With three incumbents stepping down the board will look significantly different on Oct. 21.”

The FVLC said that after a process where candidates apply, are interviewed, and have their applications approved by delegates, the four (out of 17 candidates) chosen are: Dan Coulter (incumbent), Kelly Janveaux, Willow Reichelt and David Swankey.

“Together they create a well-balanced team with a clear and inclusive vision and path forward,” the FVLC said. “They have experience and the ability to advocate strongly, budget effectively and secure funding in the best interests of our school district.”

The FVLC pointed to other candidates they consider positive, and they alluded to those other candidates who have come out opposed to the SOGI 123 teaching resource designed to prevent bullying of LGBTQ students and staff in school.

“There are other positive open-minded individuals for consideration, in addition to the four labour endorsed candidates, but there are also a number of candidates on the ballot who would not even be welcome at schools.”

The latter statement refers to something outgoing school board chair Paul McManus said about anti-SOGI 123 candidates.

• READ MORE: Outgoing Chilliwack board chair says anti-SOGI trustees won’t be allowed in schools

“We must elect Trustees that will not be distracted by things not in their control and will be determined to focus on the relevant issues affecting education in our district.”

Some of those relevant issues for the FVLC include building relationships will all partners in education, and addressing future plan needs and current infrastructure deficits.

In the past, the FVLC has endorsed incumbent school board trustee candidate Barry Neufeld, but after he came out against the SOGI 123 teaching resource last fall, the council pulled its endorsement and asked for him to resign.

• READ MORE: Labour council calls for resignation of Chilliwack school trustee

In the same release issued this week, the FVLC said that through its application process it has also endorsed three out of the 14 running for Chilliwack city council: Lisa Morry, Louis De Jaeger and Patti MacAhonic.

What the FVLC did not address in its press release is the pulling of its endorsement for mayoral candidate Sam Waddington.

In an internal letter to members of CUPE 458 acquired by The Progress, the union which represents City of Chilliwack members and is part of the FVLC, it explained to members that Waddington was no longer endorsed.

“Since the endorsement application process for Sam Waddington was completed and approved, additional circumstances and information has come to light creating inconsistencies in the information provided during the process,” the FVLC message said. “This has created a potential risk to the integrity of the labour council endorsement process and the other labour-endorsed candidates.”

In the message sent to CUPE 458 members by the union’s president, it explained the FVLC’s decision.

“Due to recent events, the Councils have taken steps to pull their endorsement of Mr. Waddington and we all wish him well in his endeavours,” the president said.

• RELATED: Chilliwack teachers’ union publicly picks school board candidates


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paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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