Nine of the 10 candidates running for the two vacant School District 57 (SD57) trustee positions attended an all-candidates forum at Vanier Hall, but only eight candidates left.
Josh Silva, who previously ran in the Oct. 15 2022 municipal election but was not elected, abruptly announced his resignation before the forum was concluded.
The forum which was organized by The Prince George District Teacher Association (PGDTA) , CUPE 3742, and the District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC), and moderated by Citizen editor Neil Godbout, saw candidates answer questions on a variety of issues facing the district.
These topics ranged from issues such as transparency, to the budget, SOGI, recruitment and more. Each candidate was allowed 60 seconds to answer each of the nine questions.
During the eighth question which was about teacher bargaining and working conditions, Silva forgoed answering and said he instead wanted to talk about ‘informed minor consent’ and parental rights.
Candidate Dusty Martin jumped in and said, “as someone who is a part of the LGBTQ community, you’re spreading misinformation.”
This caused shouting from the gallery and Godbout then asked the next candidate in line to answer the question.
When the candidates were then asked to address a question about the challenges of balancing the budget over the next few years, Silva again refused to answer.
“Back to informed minor consent before I was so rudely interrupted, informed minor consent, there is no set age that a doctor can administer any medication for your children...”
The audience then shouted, “answer the question!” and Godbut repeated the question regarding the budget.
“I just wanted to let everyone know I had an appointment with my business partners today and I’m not running anyhow and that’s why I have been a little more abrasive here,” announced Silva, adding “I wouldn’t be playing a game like this, you can’t act like this, let’s get real.”
After the conclusion of the forum Silva clarified that something came up in his life that would take 100 per cent of his attention and as such, he would no longer be able to run as a trustee.
That leaves nine candidates in the race for two seats left vacant by the resignations of Prince George trustees Betty Bekkering and Gillian Burnett.
The second advance voting day is Tuesday, June 13 and general voting day is Saturday, June 17. The last SD57 by-election was held in January 2022 and had a voter turnout of just 1, 137.