Tory Leader Brian Pallister says a Progressive Conservative board member is entitled to state her views on sex education, even though they don’t reflect the views of the party.
Candace Maxymowich, a 20-year-old school trustee candidate in Ward 4, raised eyebrows Tuesday when she tweeted that abstinence is the only acceptable form of sex education.
She is listed on the PC Manitoba website as the party’s youth rep, although Pallister said today that as a candidate for public office she is obliged to take a leave from the board of directors.
"Just to be clear, the lady’s position is her position. It is not the position of the party," he told a news conference called to address water management and flood mitigation issues.
"Any person standing for public office, whether it’s civic, provincial, federal, has a right to state their position. We’re freely supportive of that as far as the candidate’s position. That is her position."
He referred questions as to when Maxymowich began her leave of absence and whether she has been replaced on an interim basis to party president Ryan Matthews.
Meanwhile, Pallister said a Conservative government would expand a wetlands revitalization program, now in pilot stage, across Manitoba.
The Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) program provides financial incentives to offset the costs of maintaining wetlands and grasslands.
The Tories say extending the program province-wide would cost an estimated $20 million to $30 million, but the benefits would be great.
Wetland protection reduces flooding, among other benefits, including habitat protection and the filtering of contaminants.
It’s estimated that in Manitoba and Saskatchewan combined, the equivalent of one section (one square mile) of wetlands is lost each week.
"We can no longer afford to ignore wetlands loss," Pallister said.
In June, the provincial government announced a $320 million surface water management strategy that included a wetlands component.