‘Shocking, disappointing’ billboard targets Chilliwack school board candidate

CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) — A woman running in the Chilliwack school board by-election says a billboard questioning her fitness for the role is an example of bullying, and totally out of line during a campaign.

It’s since been taken down, but the billboard put up on Thursday showed a still image from a YouTube video made by Carin Bondar, asking “Is this your child’s idea of a school trustee?”

“This is ridiculous. How is this setting an example for our students if we’re acting this way? It’s just not good enough. I also wonder what kind of message this might send to other women thinking of entering public office,” Bondar says.

“It’s not what one would expect in an electoral campaign where we are making it about the issues and about the kids. It’s shocking and disappointing. The smear tactics have been used from the other camp for a few weeks now, although this billboard is the culmination.”

The YouTube video, a parody of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball was made in 2014. Bondar is a biologist and an instructor at the University of the Fraser Valley. While she acknowledges some might question her methods, she says was trying to capture some of the momentum of Cyrus’ viral video to teach about science, biology, and natural selection.

“It ended up being a fun project that was widely shared and covered in some pretty major outlets like Discover Magazine,” she told NEWS 1130 on Monday.

Anonymous sign breaks advertising rules

Bondar points out the sign — in addition to being harassing, misogynistic, and nasty — runs afoul of rules for advertising during elections.

“The sign itself does not follow the legal requirements, during an election it has to have clear information about who paid for the advertisement, which campaign it came from. The sign had neither of those things. It’s not a legal piece of signage to begin with,” she says.

“It says it’s a coalition of concerned SB 33 parents. Do we know who they are? I don’t know who this group is, and they haven’t actually been officially registered anywhere.

RELATED: Prospective Chilliwack school board trustee stands by scientific ‘Wrecking Ball’ parody video

Bondar accepts that some may find the content, including her swinging on a wrecking ball in her underwear and licking a microscope inappropriate.

But she thinks setting up a billboard targeting her is not a way to promote or encourage healthy debate.

“I certainly will not be bullied into changing the way that I advocate or or the or how I approach my life in any way it’s just not right,” she says.

“I would certainly be open to speaking with anyone interested in talking about sexuality and biology, but I’m personally not interested in participating in a smear campaign that’s somewhat anonymous.”

The school board by-election is set for is Feb. 13. It was triggered when Dan Coulter was elected as an NDP MLA in October’s provincial election.

With files from Tarnjit Parmar

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