Attempt to recall B.C. Education Minister Rachna Singh fails

Minister of Education and Child Care Rachna Singh speaks during an event in Vancouver, on Thursday, April 13, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

An attempt to recall British Columbia’s education minister has failed.

The attempt, filed by Gurdeep Jassal, had to collect signatures from more than 40 per cent of eligible voters (11,811 signatures) in Rachna Singh’s Surrey-Green Timbers riding by Jan. 29.

According to Elections BC, recall proponents were able to collect 3,264 signatures by the deadline.

A website dedicated to recalling Singh places the effort squarely in the context to opposition to SOGI-123.

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Tractor driver remains in hospital after crash

SOGI 123 is a resource package designed to help teachers and school administrators reduce discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) in their curriculum.

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Jassal’s recall petition alleged that under Singh’s leadership, children in B.C. public schools are being “indoctrinated.”

It claims that kids are being shown age-inappropriate documentaries involving sex acts, that school libraries keep age-inappropriate “naked and semi-naked picture books,” and that schools are encouraging children to “perform surgeries that permanently mutilate their bodies, and without any say from parents.”

Click to play video: 'Vernon SOGI event cancelled after venue receives backlash'
Vernon SOGI event cancelled after venue receives backlash

It also alleges, without evidence, that teachers are telling children to keep secrets from their parents.

Opposition to SOGI has become a flashpoint in some B.C. communities, leading to a string of heated protests in recent months. SOGI opponents claim the initiative is sexualizing children, while supporters say opposition is rooted in homophobia and transphobia.

In a statement, Singh thanked constituents for “overwhelmingly rejecting this extreme and inaccurate petition campaign.”

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“B.C. has a world class education system, and I continue to stand with the teachers and school communities who work every day to support all students,” she wrote.

There have been 28 attempted recalls since B.C. implemented the Recall and Initiative Act in 1995.

While no recall petition has ever technically been successful in B.C., an effort to recall BC Liberal MLA Paul Reitsma in 1998 did secure more signatures than necessary. Reitsma, however, resigned before the signatures could be verified.

Last January, an attempt to recall Premier David Eby calling him a “dictator” also failed.

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