Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Whitemud PC Assn Constituency Resolution Seeks to Repeal Human Rights Act on Opting Out.

I understand this is the wording of the proposed Bill 44 Resolution wording that the Edmonton Whitemud Progressive Conservative constituency Board is considering:

Whereas on of the primary goals of public education is to expose students to a wide variety of issues and beliefs with the goal of creating a tolerant, multicultural, open-minded society;

Whereas the majority of Albertans do not want teachers to be put in the position of defending themselves for discussing sexual orientation, sexuality or religion in the classroom before quasi-judicial hearing of the Human Rights Commission;

Whereas there is a strong likelihood of potential increased costs to the province for future appeals of the parental rights provisions;

Therefore be it resolved that:

The Government of Alberta introduce an amendment to the Human Rights Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act to remove Section 9 from Bill 44, the clause referring to subject matter that deals primarily and explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation

And be it further resolved that:

The Government of Alberta reconsider dealing with this matter under the School Act.

If this is the wording it needs to be changed to reference the removal of the relevant sections of the new Human Rights Act since Bill 44 has been passed. This old Bill 44 reference is over now since is has third reading ans Royal Assent but not Proclamation as I write this. That is technical stuff that a lawyer will pick up on quickly.

More to the point this is a resolution that calls for the repeal of the offensive "parental opting out" provisions in the Human Rights Act that puts teachers at risk of incurring expensive and protracted legal processes that will be difficult to prove one way or the other with the fuzzy wording of the Act. This is an important matter and good to see it described in plain language.

The second important part of this proposed Resolution is that it acknowledges there is a place and need for parental involvement in the education of their children, ideally in partnership with teachers, school administration and school boards. The proper place for that parental engagement is through the School Act and this Resolution states that in plain language once again.

Well done to those on the Executive Committee who drafted this. I now hope they can garner the support of the rest of the Board to put the Resolution before the Progressive Conservative Party to vote on at its Annual General Meeting in November. I also hope this initiative by Whitemud encourages other PC Constituency organizations to pass such a resolution so the debates on the issues emerging from Bill 44 can finally get a form of public discussion, at least within the PC Party as a place to start.

Stay tuned Alberta the fallout form Bill 44 is not over yet - not by a long shot. I hope other PC Constituencies are thinking of joining in to influence the Stelmach government to change it tune and change the new Human Rights Act. accordingly.