Skip to content

Richmond trustee candidate upset to be listed as being against diversity

A Vancouver Island man said he 'googled' candidates in order to create lists classifying candidates.
Ballot vote election
The municipal election will be held on Oct. 15.

“No, no, no, for god’s sake, no,” was the reaction from one Richmond school trustee candidate when she learned that a website listed her as a “wise choice” candidate along with anti-SOGI (sexual orientation and gender diversity) candidate Dean Billings.

Kay Hale, who is running in the Oct. 15 municipal election, was shocked to hear someone had created a website classifying candidates as “status quo” candidates, those supporting diversity and inclusion policies,  and “wise changes” candidates, those who support a return to basic academics. Hale’s name, unbeknownst to her, was put in the “wise” category.

The website was created by a man living in Campbell River and was emailed to a Richmond News reporter. When asked how he created the classifications, Bob Bray said he “googled” the candidates and looked at party platforms or social media posts.

Hale said her motivation to run as a candidate for school board is access to mental-health issues in schools and the need to communicate better with parents who struggle with English.

In fact, she said she hadn’t read the SOGI policy before considering running in the school trustee election, but, when she did, she thought it was a “great policy.”

But she said many parents equate it to sex education, and base their opinions on hearsay, which is why she wants better communication with parents.

“Let’s find channels where we can better (communicate) policies to parents,” Hale said.

Since being contacted by the News, Hale has reached out to Bray and asked him to remove her from the list.

Hale was also upset she would be associated with Billings on any candidate list.

The News reported how Billings sent what appears to be pre- and post-operation pictures of a youth who’s had a mastectomy to a Richmond teacher. Billings direct-messaged the teacher, Mark Reid, saying “Hi there. You may not realize it, but here is an image of what you’re supporting.”

In a statement to the News, Billings said his DM was in response to a tweet Reid had tagged him in on Friday morning, as well as the "broader conversation that tweet was part of." Reid, however, didn't tag Billings in his tweet, but, rather, had replied to a tweet that had tagged Billings.

Reid said he didn’t know why he was receiving the message from Billings, but he surmised it was because he was gay and a teacher.

Hale said she was “disgusted” by what Billings did.

The website created by Bray, who is an advocate for charter schools, lists what he thinks the policies held by “status quo” candidates are. This includes diversity, inclusion, equity, pink shirt day, orange shirt day, pajama day, walk-around-the-block hour, rainbow coloured traffic "barriers" and lots of homework.

He claims the “wise changes," or “common sense,” candidates support history, literature, arithmetic, spelling, grammar, phonics, times tables, cursive writing and hardly any homework. 

While he said diversity and equity are good principles, he thinks learning material should be age-appropriate, referring to two pieces of curriculum recommended for Grades 4 and 7.

- with files from Vikki Hui