Louis Riel school board candidate Candace Maxymowich tweeted Tuesday that abstinence is the only acceptable form of sex education -- but said she won't push for it if elected as a Ward 4 trustee on Oct. 22.
The 20-year-old also urged candidates to discuss family values and religious freedom during the campaign, but would not elaborate.
Maxymowich posted on Twitter she is running to defend parents' rights and to support the moral integrity of children, and gave a Twitter shout-out to two prominent anti-abortion organizations.
That set ablaze the Twitterverse Tuesday, and put Maxymowich in the spotlight for the second time since she announced her candidacy to be an exceedingly rare young-adult school trustee.
Maxymowich declined to be interviewed Tuesday, but said by email her tweet "was referring to the rights of parents to educate their children. This is a fundamental right. There are issues relating to family values and religious freedoms in schools that I believe candidates should discuss.
"There are issues that I think voters deserve to know where candidates stand -- as controversial as they may be," she said. "I personally do not support sex education other than abstinence. That's my personal belief. However, it is not something that I am campaigning on and I would not push for if elected."
She said in a speech to a campaign fundraiser on July 24, "I said that when running for office, 'You really need to have a complete clarity of values, to not waver from those values... more than anything, I believe that each child is valuable. I believe that every student deserves the best we have to offer. Each child is precious and valuable and is worthy of our finest efforts.' "
Maxymowich said by email she cited Life's Vision and the Campaign Life Coalition with hashtag references in her tweet because "they do take positions on some education issues."
Campaign Life Coalition's website includes criticism of the Ontario government's policies on schools teaching about family life and sexual orientation.
Pointing out Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is a lesbian, the CLC website calls the province's sex-ed curriculum disgusting, and says the Ontario Liberal government is "Christophobic," in part because it teaches children they should accept homosexuals as normal people.
Manitoba's public-school curriculum touts abstinence as the safest method of prevention. It also educates high school students about various contraception methods, such as the proper way to wear a condom. There is also a provision that allows parents to have their kids opt out of some material due to religious or cultural beliefs.
"Some school divisions in Manitoba refer to 'abstinence plus' education for students, as it is considered prudent to inform students of any birth-control methods... and address the advantages and disadvantages to maximize safety and reduce harm for those students who have or may become sexually active," Rachel Morgan, press secretary to Education Minister James Allum, wrote in an email.
In an interview in May, Maxymowich ruffled feathers of veteran trustees by accusing them of not consulting or communicating over major issues. Maxymowich said she offers ingenuity and integrity over incumbency. She denied implying current trustees lack integrity, and said she would consider reducing the number of teachers to keep taxes down.
-- with files from The Canadian Press