Candace Maxymowich, a 20-year-old woman running for school trustee in Louis Riel Ward 4 in Manitoba, faced a backlash for stating abstinence is the only acceptable part of sex education in schools.

“Personally, I do not support sex education other than abstinence.” she posted August 5 on Twitter.

Twitter users responded with anger and dismissed her ideas as outrageous. Most of those who replied were against her views, and instead favoured more sex-education in schools. “Abstinence only doesn’t work. They need to know, if they have sex, how to do it safely,” replied one typical user.

Alissa Golob, youth coordinator for Campaign Life Coalition, agreed with Maxymowich. “These beliefs are pretty common sense,” she told The Interim. “Abstinence education helps students identify healthy relationships, understand the risks of STDs and contraception and encourages positive decision-making and character building.”

Golob also looked at Maxymowich’s position another way: “Despite Candace holding the pro-abstinence view, her platform is for parental rights. Why would a parent vote against that?”

CLC’s Jack Fonseca had this to say regarding Maxymowich’s values. “We are supporting Candace’s pro-abstinence and pro-life position, and we hope she succeeds in this election to become a trustee. She was absolutely right: abstinence before marriage is the healthiest policy to promote to students, from a medical, emotional, and spiritual perspective.”

Maxymowich said she would not push for abstinence-only education if elected, stating she was merely expressing a personal view. “The issue of abstinence-only sex education isn’t something that a school board has a lot of power over,” she explained. “It’s something that falls on the hands of the provincial government, so by making the statements that I did, it’s just really saying this is my personal opinion.” She also said, “if I were to be elected, I’m not necessarily going to be pushing for that in our schools.”

When she was interviewed in May, Maxymowich, a first-time candidate, was accusing veteran trustees in Louis Riel Ward 4 of failing to communicate and consult with residents on major issues, and asked on Twitter how Hugh Coburn, a Ward 4 trustee, could sleep at night. She is not afraid to speak her mind, even if it ruffles other people’s feathers in the process. “There are certainly issues relating to family values and religious freedom in schools that I think school trustee candidates shouldn’t really shy away from,” said Maxymowich.

When asked if her age played a positive or negative factor, Golob had this to say, “Candace’s age is a motivating factor behind her positive campaign because she is a young adult herself, who understands how difficult it is given our current societal climate that pushes sex on students at an extremely young age, to remain chaste and not objectify herself. Nobody understands how difficult it is for students, besides students themselves.”

Maxymowich also mentioned two prominent pro-life organizations in her original tweet, Campaign Life Coalition and Life’s Vision. That led the local media, including the Winnipeg Free Press and CBC to note she was, controversially, pro-life.

She later tweeted: “The truest measure of any society is how it treats those least able to defend and speak for themselves. Who is more vulnerable than a child?” Her strong views on abortion had many wondering what it had to do with the school board election. “What is there to discuss? How is this important to a school board election? Stay out of my uterus,” replied an angry Twitter user.

When asked if Campaign Life Coalition does anything to support other candidates who are running for school board trustee, Fonseca said “We do. We help them out with campaign strategy tips, talking points, and volunteer recruitment, as well as ‘getting out the vote’ efforts closer to election time. We assist them along the entire process.”