The mystery of the unauthorized byelection billboard with an image of candidate Carin Bondar from a YouTube parody video is unsolved, but both Bondar and candidate Richard Procee have now responded.
And two sitting school trustees are weighing in on the matter.
The sign made from a screenshot from the 2014 parody video about evolution is based on pop singer Miley Cyrus’ 2013 video Wrecking Ball. On the sign were the words: “Is this your child’s idea of a school trustee?” In the corner was printed: “Coalition of concerned SD33 parents.”
No one has claimed responsibility for putting up the billboard, and the landowner of the Chilliwack River Road property tore it down later that same day.
In response to questions if he might have been involved, fellow candidate Richard Procee issued a statement about the billboard, critical of anyone who would do such a thing, and confirming he did not endorse the sign nor have any knowledge it was there until after it was taken down.
“I am opposed to any form of communication that violates principles of respect, value and dignity. I have spoken with Carin Bondar and assured her that I had no part in the matter. I appeal to all members of our community to conduct ourselves with courtesy and empathy.”
Bondar’s campaign issued a statement about the billboard late Thursday calling the sign tantamount to bullying.
“They are launching these nasty, personal attacks because they don’t want you to hear about my ideas,” she said in an email. “I have been an educator for years and no one can question my commitment to science education.
“If opponents or other third-party advertisers want to use dirty tactics, that’s for them to explain. The people of Chilliwack don’t want to see this kind of smear job against women candidates.”
Current school board trustee Darrell Furgason, however, said in a comment on a story on The Chilliwack Progress website that the billboard “is simply telling the truth about Carin Bondar.”
“It’s her chice (sic) to portray herself in sexualized imagery, selling ‘science.’”
Furgason also recently emailed the president of the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) to complain about Bondar’s “Wrecking Ball” video where she talks about evolution, calling it “soft porn” and “hate speech” against Biblical creationists.
Furgason was asked by The Progress if he was involved in the posting of the billboard.
“No, I am not involved in the posting of that billboard in any way,” he said via email.
Current school board chair Willow Reichelt also weighed in on the subject of the billboard, and of Furgason’s comments.
“I am so angry!” she wrote on her Facebook page. “The fact that this misogynistic bullying is being perpetuated by some of my trustee colleagues is particularly enraging.”
There has been serious division on the Chilliwack school board for years, division that is proving to be ongoing in the current school board byelection to replace the seat left vacant by Dan Coulter who was elected MLA for Chilliwack in October.
The first day of advanced voting was Feb. 3. There are two more advanced polls at Chilliwack Heritage Park Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Thursday, Feb. 11 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Chilliwack Heritage Park.
General voting day is Saturday, Feb. 13 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Chilliwack Landing Sports Centre and Chilliwack Heritage Park (44140 Luckakuck Way).
– with files from Jessica Peters
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