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Attorney general blames BC Conservatives after SOGI protest tractor crash

The police watchdog is investigating a BC highway chase involving a tractor flying a protest banner against controversial sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) programs in schools.

The province’s attorney general has called opposition to the SOGI programs a "fringe" and "hateful" issue inflamed by the BC Conservatives.

Surrey police said Sunday that one person was taken into custody after the tractor crashed with a cruiser and rolled on Highway 1.

Mounties said Monday the Independent Investigations Office was looking into whether police actions or inactions were responsible for the man’s injuries, which the RCMP said were not life-threatening.

[Warning: The below video contains explicit language]

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RCMP said the person driving the tractor was possibly involved in a convoy protesting SOGI programs being taught in public schools.

"Officers had reportedly attempted to pull the tractor over for an extended period while it was part of a convoy that was heading to Vancouver," the RCMP explained.

"During the interaction, the tractor and police vehicle collided, the tractor inverted, and came to a rest on its side, resulting in the driver suffering non-life-threatening injuries. He remains in hospital."

Attorney General Niki Sharma told reporters at the legislature on Monday that the incident was "very concerning," and she accused BC Conservative Party Leader John Rustad of "stoking, fear, hatred and division" in the province.

Rustad meanwhile said in an email that parents are "right to raise concerns" about the teachings, known as SOGI 123, calling it "gender ideology."

The SOGI programs include lessons for schoolchildren on gender identity and what it calls "respectful language." It also supporters gender-neutral bathrooms in schools.

<who> Photo credit: Canadian Press

Social media videos show the tractor was flying a black banner saying "Stop SOGI 123."

Rustad said his party wanted the education system "refocused on academics and leave the social issues for families."

But Sharma said there had been a rise in "divisive and hateful politics" among people protesting about SOGI, saying they are "targeting children" – the latter a claim often made against proponents of SOGI by its opponents.

"I want to call upon the leader of that party, John Rustad, to denounce the type of division and dangerous protests that we’re seeing and to leave children alone."

– With files from Canadian Press

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