September 27, 2020

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School trustee hopeful walks back social media remarks

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/10/2018 (715 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A candidate for school trustee is apologizing for social media posts she made mocking Premier Brian Pallister’s pain after he broke his arm hiking in the U.S., and for suggesting she was going to run down illegal protesters blocking the road.

"Everyone has bad days," Tracey Drexler said in an email to the Free Press Friday. "I’m human, I’m outspoken about the issues that effect (sic) my family and my community," said Drexler, who is running for St. James-Assiniboia school division trustee in the Silver Heights-Booth ward.

"Everyone makes mistakes. I am truly sorry to anyone I have offended."

On the People of Winnipeg Facebook page last November, Drexler posted the Free Press story about Pallister breaking his arm while hiking in the U.S. She said one of her four children nearly died as a result of health-care cutbacks, and news of Pallister’s injuries "litterally (sic) made my day. If that makes me a bad person (for) being happy he is in pain, so be it."

Among the comments attached to the post, Drexler wrote "If it were up to me, I’d let his bone set, rebrake (sic) it, then leave an instrument in him."

Drexler said on Friday that when she wrote that post, her 18-month-old son was in the pediatric intensive care unit "fighting for his life in respiratory failure as a direct result of not receiving timely care for an asthma exacerbation at children’s hospital because of short staff."

"I’m sure there are many parents right now that have babies in (the St. Boniface hospital intensive care unit) that would wish Mr. Pallister to experience the negative effects of the health-care cuts," she said.

Drexler’s posts were sent to the Free Press by a reader who questioned their appropriateness for someone running for elected office. One of them was in response to news that protesters were blocking traffic on Portage Avenue. "Mother f---er, seriously? I have 25 minutes to make it from Balmoral Hall to Westwood to take my special needs son off the bus... With the construction on portage its nearly impossible as it is. So just a heads up if you choose to block my roadway I will NOT be stopping."

Drexler said she posted that two years ago. "I was fed up with protests constantly illegally blocking roads, causing a headache for commuters, and the stress of not knowing if I’d be home to get my special needs son off of the bus in time," she said in her email to the Free Press. "It’s a shame you chose to focus on the negative rather than all the positive things I’ve been advocating for."

Her nomination information posted on the city’s election website says she advocated for and worked with the school board to get a service-animal policy passed that benefits many children in St. James. Drexler said when her son and his service dog became a team five years ago, there was no service-animal policy in the division.

"Over the years, I’ve been a strong advocate for special education and student services at school board meetings."

Five other trustees are running in the ward for three positions on the board.

carol.sanders@freepress.mb.ca

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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