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Sunday, April 06, 2008 

When Eugenics Was Practiced In Alberta: 1928 - 1972

In 1928, the Province of Alberta, Canada, passed legislation that enabled the government to perform involuntary sterilizations on individuals classified as mentally deficient. In order to implement the Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta in 1928, a four-person Alberta Eugenics Board was created. These four individuals were responsible for approving sterilization procedures. During the 43 years of the Eugenics Board, it approved nearly 5,000 individual sterilizations, and 2,832 procedures were actually performed. The province of Alberta was the first part of the British Empire to adopt a sterilization act, and were the only ones who vigorously implemented it. [...]

The Alberta Eugenics Board was constructed in order to administer the sexual sterilization program. In section 3, the Act called for a four person Eugenics Board to determine, on a case by case basis, whether sterilization was appropriate for a particular individual. The Act gave the Board power to examine people discharged from mental health institutions, and to direct sterilization if deemed necessary. Not only was unanimous decision required, but consent, either from the patient, parent, or guardian, was essential for the surgical procedures to proceed. The Act put in place specific requirements for the board members: Two of the Board members were required to be medical practitioners, nominated by the Senate of the University of Alberta and the Council of the College of Physicians. The other two non-medical practitioner members were appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, and had to be well-known and of prominent reputation. [...]

Over all decades, aboriginals were the foremost targets of the Eugenics Board’s attention. [...]. In the last few years that the Alberta act was in place, Indians and Métis comprised about 27% of the sterilizations, although they were only accountable for 2.5% of the population. Furthermore, 74% of all aboriginal cases presented resulted in sterilization, which was alarmingly high – 14% above the average for all cases.

In 1972, the Progressive Conservative Government repealed The Sexual Sterilization Act thereby ending Alberta’s shameful era of forced sterilization.

The provinces of Alberta and British Columbia were the only Canadian provinces that practiced Eugenics. Currently, right wing revisionists, trying to discredit former Premier of Saskatchewan, Tommy Douglas, are quick to point out that his 1930 Master’s thesis was on the topic of eugenics. During a trip to Europe in 1938, where eugenics was medically practiced, he changed his views. Douglas was elected Premier of Saskatchewan in 1944. Eugenics was never practiced in Saskatchewan. Eugenics was practiced in Alberta under the premiership of William Aberhart and Ernest Manning (father of Preston Manning).

Material in this post is from Wikipedia

Eugenics defined

It's interesting to note that during 25 of the years of sterilization, E C Manning was premier.

He was the father of Preston Manning and involved in the spreading of the gospel in the prairies. Manning mixed populism and politics and religion.

And people wonder where the Reform and Conservative parties get their crackpot ideas.

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