Bill 44: Alberta allows bigot parents to substitute gay bashing for education
OUTRAGE. Rob Wells at the June 1 protest. While Bill 44 adds sexual orientation to the province's human rights act, many argue that the "parental rights" clause threatens lessons on sex and sexual orientation in the province's classrooms. (Ted Kerr photo)
Alberta became the last Canadian province to recognize sexual orientation under its human rights provisions. Alberta's gay bashing is well entrenched. After all, over 11 years ago a teacher in Alberta, Delwin Vriend was dismissed because he is gay. This led to the landmark ruling Vriend vs. Alberta, in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that each province is compelled to add 'sexual orientation' to its own human rights act.The bigots fought hard to not only delay the passing of the required language over the last decade, but to include provisions that limit or negate the ability for respect, decency and equality to be applied afterward. Within Bill 44 are provisions that parents can pull their children from any class that teaches sex, sexuality, gender or anything that mentions penis and vagina. This climate of perpetuated ignorance and bigotry as a family value has made it possible for the Big Valley Creation Science Museum right there in Alberta.
At 11am on the legislature steps, prominent activists from the community held a press conference to denounce Bill 44. The group included lawyer Julie Lloyd who was involved in the Vriend vs Alberta Supreme Court case, which ruled sexual orientation must be included in provincial human rights legislation across Canada. Also in attendance were police commissioner Murray Billet, long-time activist and former city councillor Michael Phair, Kris Wells of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, and Lance Anderson, a gay father of two who along with his husband won a major adoption battle in Alberta.
During the press conference Billet noted that this all started 11 years ago with the Vriend vs Alberta Supreme Court ruling when "a teacher was fired for being gay." Now, the province is "making it so a teacher can be fired for teaching gay," he says. (XTRA)
Alberta, rich in oil, cowboy culture, fundamentalist religion bears striking resemblance to Texas. Each region provides great wealth to a minority while the majority dines on ignorance as a cultural tradition. The worst part is the missed opportunity for better education and levels of human respect that could easily be made available with a fraction of the revenue produced from the ground they stand on together. The best part is that the oil will run out and minds will open, as people are forced to think in order to survive, to co-exist and to live together.