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Friday, March 27, 2009 

'The Good, The Bad And The Ugly' In Alberta's Proposed Human Rights Code Changes

Ten years after the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that gays and lesbians could not be discriminated against, the Alberta Conservative government is looking at including wording that says as much in their Human Rights legislation.

Now, if that was all that there was to this story, you could merely say, 'okay - 10 years was too long but finally they have acknowledged reality.'

HOWEVER (... and this is a big 'however'), two of the proposed changes need some scrutiny. The new act will strip the Alberta Human Rights Commission of the power to adjudicate cases involving hate crimes and free speech. The Alberta government insists that "those matters are better handled by the hate laws in the Criminal Code". HUH?! Did Ezra Levant write that section of the Act for them?

As well, proposed changes to the Human Rights Act will enshrine Alberta parental rights to opt their children out of basic science instruction in Alberta schools. "It's possible some parents would want children to opt out of classes about evolution," says Alberta Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett! Parents would also be able to remove their children from any sex education classes.

I will give credit (albeit ten years too late), to the Alberta government for protections to gay and lesbian persons. I will also point out that the only dinosaurs in Alberta are not in the Badlands, but in the ranks of the Government Caucus at the Alberta Legislature!

Pandering to fundamentalist nonsense is not becoming to a province that styles itself as being firmly rooted in the 21st Century. This is not '19th century' rural Dixie, .... or is it?

Calgary Herald

If you look at the working in Blackett's statements over time, they get vaguer and vaguer over timing. Today its "possibly this spring" for the changes. My bet is they drop all these as hot potatos.

Good point. I think the whole 'gay rights' angle to the changes is to provide 'cover' for the proposed parental rights provisions AND the 'Levant' clause??? They may simply end up ticking everyone off and doing as you predict .... just dropping the whole thing.

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