Monday, July 28, 2008

So, I Email The Premier About The AHRC...

And this is what I get. I'm actually not unhappy with the response, at least I got one. What I think needs to happen is more people emailing the Premier about the Alberta Human Rights Commission. It is clearly not on the Minister's radar, so email the Premier, let him know you are upset with the AHRC. It doesn't hurt, and if enough of us send emails, it will become an issue. Here is my email:

I am Alberta born and bred, I am a staunch Conservative supporter and I am of Ukrainian decent. I will NOT vote for your government again, unless you rein in your human rights commissions. They are nothing more than kangaroo courts with too much power and NO accountability.

The idea that "truth is not a defence" is so repugnant to me and my conservative values, that I can not support a party that actually sent a government lawyer to "convict" a pastor and make him renounce what he believes. What happened to freedom of religion? Free speech? This in Alberta, the land of the strong and free.

I live in a riding in Edmonton that only won by 50 some votes, it's a riding that could easily go Liberal again, and don't count on the fact that you and your party are safe for 4 more years. Next election, I will vote Wildrose Alliance if you do not stop the AHRC in it's tracks.

I do not like Liberal Lite, I want a government that stays out of my life, and lets me practice my religion without fear of the AHRC putting me through the wringer because I write a comment in a paper, like Rev. Boissoin did. I disagree with some of what he said, but I respect his right to say it. The HRC's are taking away my right to agree or disagree, can you not see it for the cancer it is? Do something or lose votes.

The response:

Dear :

The Honourable Ed Stelmach, Premier, forwarded your recent e-mail regarding the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission. As Minister of Culture and Community Spirit, responsible for the Commission, I appreciate the opportunity to respond.

Every Albertan has the right to live free from discrimination. The Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission has a two-fold mandate: to foster equality and reduce discrimination. It fulfills this mandate through public education initiatives and the resolution and settlement of complaints of discrimination.

If Albertans feel that their rights are not being respected, they can discuss their concerns with the Commission. The Commission is required to accept all complaints that fall within its jurisdiction. A large number of these complaints are resolved by meeting with the two parties and trying to mediate a solution. For others that can't be resolved, there is an established process in place to address the concerns raised that provides an opportunity for both parties to be heard.

The Albertans Human Rights and Citizenship Commission operates independently of government and its work is guided by the Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act. As an elected official, I do not become involved in the day-to-day activities of the Commission, nor do I comment on individual cases. The Act protects people from discrimination in a number of areas including publications and notices, employment, services and tenancy. Within these areas, Albertans are protected on grounds such as race, colour, ancestry, disability, gender and religious belief. The Act includes a variety of appeal provisions to ensure that the best decision is made in each case.

Government recognizes the importance of reviewing all legislation from time to time to ensure that it is meeting its intended purpose. We will be taking your views into account as we examine Alberta's human rights policies and legislative framework to ensure it supports all Albertans.

Thank you again for writing and sharing your ideas.

Lindsay Blackett

Minister of Culture and Community Spirit

MLA, Calgary-North West

cc: Honourable Ed Stelmach, Premier

So, why send a government lawyer to help convict Pastor Boission? It's interesting because it was copied to the Premier. Showing that the Premier wanted a response. What is also interesting is that it mentions reviewing the legislation. That would be a start, and inviting me to help them would be even better. HA! Oh, why not, I'm a concerned born and bred Albertan!

All in all, I am semi-happy with the response, for now. If nothing gets done, if I do not hear about a review, I will email again, and again, and again. What I think Albertans can do is just what I did, email the Premier, he is obviously interested in what we have to say, and I like that. He's no Ralph Klein, but maybe that's a good thing, he appears to be listening, so talk to him. Send him an email. I was shaking when I sent mine, I thought it was too harsh, but it obviously served it's purpose.

Next time I don't want an obviously "scripted" response like I got, (hey, I'm not dumb) next time, I'm thinking about a meeting with Minister Blackett.

If each of my Alberta readers would send one email, just one, this issue might gain some steam. I know Conservatives are loath to cause a ruckus, but it's about Alberta "strong and free". It matters.


Ardvark said...

That sure is a nice form letter you got back; I have one EXACTLY like it.

Mr. K said...

I congratulate your initiative in writing to the Premier. If no one complains about the AHRC, nothing will be done, for sure. It's also valuable that you posted the reply since public awareness of the issue is key.

Unfortunately, I saw the same letter posted by Ezra here, so I imagine the task of replying to these complaints has now been delegated to the lowest level clerk in Blackett's office.

Ezra's take on it was "I can sum up the above letter more succinctly: "We don't care what you think, and don't respect you enough to say so honestly. So we'll give you a bucket full of cliches and buzzwords. Go pound sand."

In terms of how to get Blackett's and Stelmach's attention and not be relegated to the "don't bug me!" category, perhaps there is a talk radio show that will feature the AHRC issue sometime? Also, perhaps an online petition would help raise their interest?

frmgrl said...

Inundating the Premiers' office is all well and good but I don't think it will get anywhere. The PCs have such a big majority I don't see them doing anything. There is no opposition to speak of. The Libs are in a leadership race and we don't know where they stand on this issue. The NDs most likely wouldn't be on our side.
Don't get me wrong. I don't think we should throw in the towel. We just have to be creative in getting the Stelmach goverments attention to take action.

rabbit said...

This statement in particular struck me:

Every Albertan has the right to live free from discrimination.

Horse droppings. This is such a vague and overbroad statement that it could be used to justify any amount of government intervention in our lives.

As the collection of "human rights" that our society attempts to protect gets ever wider, one quickly reaches a point where it can not be extended further without seriously damaging existing - and in my view more fundamental - rights.

kursk said...

They sure used a lot of words to basically say nothing.