What would Asha's Mum think?

In an interview with Public Eye late yesterday, controversial Surrey school trustee Mary Polak confirmed rumours circulating around government caucus that she is considering running for the provincial Liberals in the Surrey-Panorama Ridge by-election. Ms. Polak made headlines seven years ago when she refused to approve three children's books depicting same-sex relationships for use in kindergarten and Grade 1 classrooms. The books included Asha's Mum, Belinda's Bouquet and One Dad, Two Dads, Brown Dads, Blue Dads.

Speaking with CTV News back in 2002, Ms. Polak defended the ban and the parents who supported it saying, "There is an insinuation that if you hold the moral position that is opposed to homosexuality, that believes that it is sinful, that therefore you are bad, you are wrong."

The board's decision was overruled by the Supreme Court of Canada last year on the grounds it violated a requirement in provincial legislation that the public school system remain secular and non-sectarian. According to an article published in British Columbia Report Magazine, Ms. Polak also voted for a motion on April 10, 1997 requiring a formal board review of any gay and lesbian publication - that is not on the province's approved list - before permitting its use in the district.

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon, whose political fiefdom encompasses Surrey-Panorama Ridge, would reportedly back Ms. Polak nomination bid. Minister Falcon is friends with the school board trustee and helped out during her first election campaign. But other provincial Liberals are less enthusiastic about Ms. Polak. There is a concern among some that her candidacy would tar the party as being socially conservative, a brush the Campbell administration has so-far been able to avoid. So the hunt is on for an anyone-but-Polak candidate.

Ms. Polak, an advocate for school board autonomy, was recently elected to the British Columbia School Trustees' Association board of directors. In the past she has also supported traditional schools and student uniforms. Ms. Polak ran against Gurmant Grewal for the federal Conservative nomination in Surrey-Central prior to the last election and endorsed Conservative leadership candidate Belinda Stronach. She currently works for iTrend Research Group Inc., a new polling firm.

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