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Monday, June 29, 2009

Is Bill 44 Already Reviving Some Old and Hateful Activitists

So the aggressive attitudes we feared would come out of passing Bill 44 are starting already. they are not just based on religion but attack "politically correct and pandering" to the legal acceptance of no allowing discrimination based on sexual orientation. Well known homophobe and pamphleteer Bill Whatcott has returned. Just Google him for some context. I am all for free speech and believe he has a right to say what ever he chooses, within the law. That is not my concern with these events.

This time he is delivering a flyer and targeting Alberta Minister of Government Services, Heather Klimchuk's constituency and labeling her as one who "panders to the media and celebrates homosexual pride" because she showed up and participated int eh Edmonton Pride Parade.

Minister Klimchuk was one of three Progressive Conservatives MLAs who were the first from the PC Party to participate in Edmonton's Gay Pride Parade a couple of weeks ago. Mr Whatcott is bemoaning that "...the Stelmach Tories felt they needed to send someone to Edmonton's shame parade to pander to the New Sodom." Wonder if he is also taking on the other two MLAs who participated in the Pride Parade, namely Doug Elniski and Fred Horne and distributing his flyers in their constituencies?

Politics is a blood sport played in public, without a net, and the rules are not always fair, as Doug Elniski has discovered as of late. Heather Klimchuk does not deserve this kind of abuse, nor does any other publicly elected office holder, but it comes with the territory. The members and organizers of the GLBT community can do without the revival of these old hatreds and stereotypes too.

The defenders of expanding and extending the opting out provision in Bill 44 into such broad areas of religion, human sexuality and sexual orientation and then piling on a Human Rights Act review and hearing process have tried to assure Albertans that this kind of thing would not happen because "Albertans are reasonable people." True enough, most of us are reasonable live-and-let-live people. But why did the Stelmach government take the enabling legislative step to empower and embolden the likes of Mr. Whatcott?

He is a well known reactionary Christian-values activists and at the extreme margins of the Christian community. His ilk can also undoubtedly be found in parents of school children who will be be just as inclined to target a teacher as professionals and private citizens. Teachers did not sign up for such terrorist type and targeting by fanatics. But the new opting out amendments to the Alberta Human Rights Act, that started out as the infamous Bill44, will no doubt embolden and empower those people to pursue their political purposes and agendas on the backs of Alberta's teachers.

This is going to be the stuff of good old-fashioned news to the MSM and the blogosphere. That is especially the case for the far right reactionary bloggers and those vile anonymous commentators we often get to "enjoy." The opting out laws masquerading as human rights and parental rights are ill conceived and so unnecessary. Nothing new needed to be done to secure and protect parental rights. The School Act provisions worked well for 20 years. Bill 44 was at best a solution looking for a problem. At its worst it is pure insider partisan appeasement politics beggaring a duty to provide good governance.

According to Mr. Whatcott, "Rather than stand on true principle, our so-called Conservative politicians prefer to pander to politically correct sexual perversion...." He then goes on to tell us why, in his opinion homosexuality is "physically harmful" complete with a graphic photo of anal warts which he says is an STD caused by homosexuality and "nothing to be proud of." Next he alleges homosexuality is "socially and mentally harmful" and lists suicide rates and says homosexuals are "overrepresented in child sex offenses." He offers no authority evidence or other forms of proof for his many allegations. He also denounces "bastions of homosexual tolerance like "posh corporations as the CBC, City of Toronto or Edmonton Police Force."

The spiritual harm of homosexuality is alleged to be evidenced by extensive quoting Biblical Scriptures. But he says there is "hope for homosexuals" again based on Christian forgiveness and Gods love of sinners. So the reactionaries are back, emboldened and about to wreck some havoc. This time is was a politician, Soon, I expect it will be some poor teacher who is just trying to do a professional job of educating our youth to enable them to live well and successfully in a diverse, complex and conflict riven world.

It is not to late to repeal those offensive opting out provisions of the Alberta Human Rights Act as the right thing to do as good governors and for the common good of society. To fail, refuse or neglect to fix this mess will undermine the essential social cohesion of Alberta and drive a values wedge into the rank and file of the PC Party too.

Sometimes certain politicians have to put away their "principles" and do the right thing, like repealing the offensive opting out sections of the revised Alberta Human Rights Act. As an aside, I will not be surprised if I am targeting by these folks for expressing my opinions on such matters. So be it. Free speech is not free because it requires vigilance and must be freely exercised, otherwise it will be lost. I look forward to your comments.