In Canada, School Board Members With Traditional Values Get Tormented Out Of Elected Office

Francine Champagne and Monique LaGrange were forced out of their elected positions after expressing views counter to the woke mob.
Published on January 26, 2024

Francine Champagne was elected to her local school board in Canada in November 2022. By November 2023, she had been fired from her university teaching job and suspended from Winnipeg’s Louis Riel School Division (LRSD) board so many times — without pay — and with endless suspensions in sight, that she was forced to resign as a trustee of the board.

Champagne’s “crime”? A few posts she made on her personal Facebook page. One said, “Make men masculine again, make women feminine again, make children innocent again.” Another read, “To identify is to live a lie.” The third post was a link to the Stop the World Control website, which, Champagne explained, “included information on the sexualization and grooming of children, the United Nations’ agenda and the WHO’s ‘educational’ material.”

It’s important to remember that Champagne was elected to her position. She beat out an incumbent candidate who’d been on the board for decades and received votes from 2,817 people who determined she was the best voice to represent them and oversee the education of their children. What’s more, freedom of speech is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

According to Champagne, her first six months on the LRSD board were positive. She visited numerous schools, attended district events, and built “an excellent rapport” with administrators, teachers, and the community. But then she ventured to ask that the board discuss a statement the board chairwoman, Sandy Nemeth, had posted on LRSD’s social media platforms declaring that LRSD fully supports LGBT resources in their schools.

“I simply asked during one of our meetings if we could talk about the stance of each trustee, because we never had addressed the issue,” said Champagne. “[Nemeth] immediately shut me down and told me harshly that she made the decision to emit a statement on behalf of the trustees, and that the diversity policy was not up for discussion. That was the end of that.”

It was, indeed, the beginning of the end for Champagne. Shortly after the dust-up with the board chair, Nemeth herself informed Champagne — during “Pride Month,” of course — that she had breached the LRSD code of conduct for her “hateful” posts that didn’t align with LRSD’s diversity policy.

Phony pretext in hand, the witch hunters set to work destroying Champagne’s life, starting, predictably, by attacking her in the press. Just five days after Nemeth’s confrontation, screenshots of the “hateful” posts appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press alongside an article about Champagne being “anti-trans” and “anti-LGBTQ.”

The next day, the LRSD board suspended Champagne for three months, and that same week, she lost her job.

The nightmare had just begun. Nemeth told the CBC that the decision to suspend Champagne “came after the realization of some incredibly unfortunate — and I will define unfortunate to mean disrespectful, hateful — comments on her Facebook page specifically indicating transphobia, homophobia, and just a general complete lack of [respect] for the LGBTQ community.”

“Because Champagne was democratically elected by the community, there is no provision within the Public Schools Act for the board to remove her,” Nemeth added. “However, the board can and will continue to suspend Champagne if she fails to sign and uphold the code of conduct.”

The board continued to issue suspension after suspension and went so far as to ban friends and supporters who showed up to board meetings to defend Champagne permanently from LRSD property. One community member noted in a letter to the LRSD board, “You are doing to her what you accuse her of doing to you, and that is bullying and discrimination.”

Champagne is a devout Catholic who expressed having “no fear” during her ordeal. “People are constantly calling me, emailing me, praying for me,” she said. “And I feel very peaceful inside just knowing that I’m standing on God’s truth.”

After determining that the LRSD work environment had “become unbearable” and that “it would be unsafe and unhealthy to work in an environment where intolerance reigns,” Champagne issued a statement of resignation and told her side of the story the media had largely ignored.

“I was no longer able to afford the legal fees towards the appeal process and other matters,” she said. “I surely did not become a school trustee with the intention of entering a legal battle. My objective was to focus on education (the 3Rs) and the molding of healthy minds, but political activism seems to take precedence. For all the reasons listed above, I will be forced to leave the board, and not of my own volition.”

Responding to Champagne’s letter of resignation, the LRSD board danced on her grave with nauseating sanctimony.

“Since June 6, 2023, the school board has endeavoured to hold a colleague accountable for words and deeds that caused great harm to students, staff, and members of our community while also working to reassure our community of our commitment to safe and caring working and learning environments,” they wrote. “The board extends appreciation to everyone in LRSD and beyond for their messages and demonstrations of support. We want to reassure you that actions and language that cause harm will never be tolerated, and decisive action will always be taken against anyone who attempts to spread baseless, malicious, deceitful and vengeful lies about our students, staff, and families.”

“The board accuses me of being harmful for trying to protect the children from all of this,” Champagne said. “In psychology, this is called gaslighting or projection. Unreal! The board has made its intentions clear: traditional views will not be tolerated.”

As Champagne’s martyrdom testifies to the power of the woke mob, Monique LaGrange continues to fight. Like Champagne, LaGrange was democratically elected and expelled as a trustee for refusing to apologize for posting a meme to her Facebook page or to undergo sensitivity training.

According to The Democracy Fund which is representing LaGrange in a lawsuit against the Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools, the meme “depicted two side-by-side photographs, one of children holding swastika flags and the other of children holding pride progress flags. The meme … included a caption stating, ‘brainwashing is brainwashing.’”

“I was elected to stand up and protect our children, and that is what I am doing,” LaGrange said.

“Our society is messed up, but God will fix this,” concluded Champagne, “all in His perfect timing.”

 

Originally published here in The Federalist, January 22, 2-24. 

Teresa Mull is an assistant editor of the Spectator World, a policy adviser for education at the Heartland Institute, and author of “Woke-Proof Your Life.”  

 

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