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OPINION – Chilliwack District Parent Advisory Council Sets The Record Straight – They Are Not Affiliated with Parents Voice BC

Chilliwack – Over the past few days, Parents Voice BC reached out to a number of media outlets including FVN, to get their message out for their candidates in the upcoming 2022 Municipal Elections.

The Chilliwack District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) wants to set the record straight that they are not affiliated with Parents Voice BC.

In the DPAC release from Chair Katie Bartel:

The Chilliwack District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) is one of the most important
partner groups with the Chilliwack School District and Board of Education. We are the only
partner group legislated under the School Act to “advise the board on any matter relating to
education in the school district.” DPAC Executive is elected to represent the collective voice of
parents and remain nonpartisan. We hold seats on school district committees as partners in
learning and volunteer our time. As a council, DPAC’s mission is “to educate, inform, and
empower parents to be partners in the education of their children.” We work tirelessly to
advocate on behalf of all parents and students in our district.
We are hearing that some voters are confusing the new elector organization, Parents
Voice BC, with Chilliwack DPAC. Parents Voice BC does not represent the collective and
diverse parents in the Chilliwack School District, nor do they have any affiliation with the
Chilliwack DPAC, or any PAC or DPAC. In Parents Voice BC’s own words, they “support
electing School Trustees who will listen to parental concerns” yet their endorsed candidates in
Chilliwack have made no effort to respond or engage with the Chilliwack DPAC, who are the
actual legislated parent voice in the district.
Being nonpartisan, Chilliwack DPAC will not endorse specific School Trustee
candidates. We will, however, share which candidates have demonstrated that they value the
legislated voice of parents in this district.
In addition to the School Trustee Candidates Debate, Chilliwack DPAC extended an
invitation three times, to all the candidates, to have a conversation with the Chilliwack DPAC
Executive regarding the priorities and concerns of parents. Brian VanGarderen, David Swankey,
Teri Westerby, Margaret Reid, Darren Ollinger and Willow Reichelt responded and booked
meetings. Heather Maahs indicated she was too busy. Carin Bondar, Darrell Furgason, Greg
Nelmes, Barry Neufeld, and the Parents Voice endorsed candidates Richard Procee, Elliot
Friesen, and the previously running Lewis Point did not respond. The Parents Voice candidates
also did not participate in the DPAC co-hosted School Trustee Candidates Debate.
Chilliwack DPAC is committed to transparency. We strive to provide leadership to
support, encourage, and develop successful Parent Advisory Councils. We support parental
involvement, skill development and the interests of public education in our district. We hope and
expect to have a good working partnership with all elected Trustees but are disheartened that
some will not demonstrate that they value the Chilliwack DPAC in their candidacy.

This is the media release from Parent Voice BC endorsing candidates Richard Process and Elliott Friesen (sent by Fritz Radandt, Campaign Manager, Parents Voice BC)

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