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Problematic Pandering from our Potential Premiers

by robbreakenridge • June 17, 2014

Further to yesterday’s story, my latest Calgary Herald column looks at the controversy swirling around Tory leadership candidate Ric McIver – and, to a lesser extent, Jim Prentice:

It’s not surprising that the would-be leaders of the Progressive Conservative party are appealing to past glory. The current state of the party is nothing to write home about, and so it makes sense to hearken back to the glory days. And while a Klein-era fiscal approach might be worthy of resurrecting, the last thing Alberta needs is the Klein-era pandering to religious and social conservatives.

Such voters still exist, though, and to win the Tory leadership, candidates are eager to secure every last vote they can find. No doubt there were some in attendance at the March for Jesus who appreciated McIver’s involvement and will now set forth to buy a Tory membership.

And while McIver might be the most obvious in trying to woo religious conservatives, he is not alone. During a candidates’ forum last Thursday, the issue of Section 11.1 of the Human Rights Act came up. Albertans might be more familiar with the name of the legislation that ushered in the change: Bill 44.

That section allows parents to pull their children out of classes if and when issues of sexuality or sexual orientation are being discussed. Of course, parents have always had the right to pull their kids out of class if they object to the subject matter. Section 11.1 requires that written notice be provided ahead of time, which is more about discouraging such topics than empowering parents.

While Thomas Lukaszuk called for a “robust discussion” over that provision, McIver vowed to fight to defend it. Jim Prentice also pledged to preserve Section 11.1. Whether these two really believe in this law or are simply pandering to those who support it is rather beside the point: the end result is the same.

The rest here. Further thoughts from me on this subject here.

Additionally, I had the chance last night to speak with leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk about these matters:

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