Fort Langley’s rainbow crosswalk was installed in 2017. On Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, the Township has consented to one between the school district and RCMP buildings in Murrayville. (Langley Advance Times file)

Langley East Liberal candidate denies NDP accusation of homophobia over crosswalk vote

Margaret Kunst said she has worked with LGBTQ youth with her PuCKS charity

The B.C. NDP called for Langley East Liberal candidate Margaret Kunst to be removed as a candidate Tuesday, citing her vote against a rainbow crosswalk at the local school board office.

Kunst, who is a Langley Township councillor, said her vote was about the way such projects are approved, rather than a single crosswalk.

“This is purely a policy decision on my part,” said Kunst, who had few comments during the council debate on Sept. 21.

The council was debating a motion by Coun. Eric Woodward to endorse the creation of a rainbow crosswalk that would link the Langley RCMP headquarters and the Langley School Board offices on 222nd Street.

The project has been in the works for months, with the Langley Board of Education voting to work with the RCMP and Township to create the crosswalk as far back as May of 2020.

Kunst was one of three councillors who voted against endorsing the project.

The primary objection to the motion came from Coun. Blair Whitmarsh, who said he did not object to inclusiveness, but argued the matter should be delayed until the Township could develop an “equity and dignity framework” that would establish general principles for handling such requests.

Kunst said she wanted to see that framework in place before making decisions on projects like the rainbow crosswalk.

READ MORE: Rainbow crosswalk between RCMP and school district offices approved by Township council

The NDP press release called on Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson to remove Kunst.

“If Andrew Wilkinson wants to live up to his promise that there is ‘no room’ for homophobia and transphobia in his party, he must fire Langley East candidate Margaret Kunst immediately,” the press release said.

Kunst said she’s worked with LGBTQ youths in her charity work for years.

“My record in the community will show that I’ve worked with all groups,” she said.

Kunst has long been involved with the local PuCKS Powerplay Foundation, which helps kids and teens access opportunities to play hockey, as well as gaining work experience.

“People who know me in the community, they know my heart,” she said.

She said she did not expect to be removed as a candidate and would not be stepping down.

The Township was not paying for the crosswalk, which is expected to be a Langley School District project. It will be the second rainbow crosswalk in the Township, after one was installed in Fort Langley in 2017.

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