Why I am not part of "Wildrose" country

I've said before that I don't often dabble into politics on social media.  Most of the time it just isn't worth it. The reality is that if I say something that someone doesn't agree with, they let me know, usually in the most rude way possible.  Not everyone is like that, and There are many people I have reasonable, constructive conversations with, but the public and anonymous nature of mediums like Twitter nasty things get said.  I've talked about that before here.

Because of that, i've stayed relatively silent on social media about the current Alberta election.  I wrote a post here at the start of the campaign about how I wasn't sure who I was going to vote for, and that I would let the chips fall.  With 6 days to go until the vote, one thing has become clear, the Wildrose Party does not deserve my vote.  I've tried to write this post about 3 times before deleting it every time, but this time, I'm just going to write and see what happens.

The Wildrose party has tried to brand themselves as a fresh alternative to the PC.  A new, better conservative party that goes back to the roots of what the PC party used to be.  However, as this campaign has gone on, and more light has been shed on the Wildrose party, the real grassroots of the party have come to light.  It's always been clear that the Wildrose party is a right-wing party, but just how right-wing was obvious until this election campaign started.

First off, I literally cannot believe that conscience rights have become an issue in an election in this country in 2012.  I know that there are still many difficulties with regards to these types of issues, but it really is hard to believe that this has become an election issue in Canada.  Not even Stephen Harper's Conservatives have dared to wade into these waters.  Stephen Harper went out of his way years ago to make sure that everyone knew he would not be pursuing any agenda on things like abortion, and it has been a non issue since then.  Yet for the Wildrose party, it will not go away.  Now, admittedly this isn't for a lack of trying by Daniell Smith.  She has, to her credit, indicated that a Wildrose government would not pursue conscience rights in the legislature.  Though she did say that the reason for that was because any legislation likely would not stand up to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in court.  However this issue keps coming up because members of her party keep bringing it up.  From a campaign staff member bringing up abortion (which is what started all of this), to a candidate having to explain a blog post from 2011 with a complete anti-gay tone.  This just keeps coming up, and will not go away.

Now, Danielle Smith could have ended these issues simply by saying that these things that have been said are not reflective of the Wildrose party and that those members do not speak for the party.  However the simple fact is that she can't say that, because those things *do* reflect the beliefs of the party, and if she outright denies it she will face eroding support from within her own party.  Instead she has to downplay the issue, saying that every person is entitled to their own opinion but that her party cannot pursue that agenda.  Frankly, that is not good enough.

The Wildrose party believes in citizen initiated referendums on any legal issue that is not related to the budget.  In theory, a referendum on issues, especially controversial and divisive issues is a good idea.  But the main reason why we have the type of government we do is because having every person vote on every issue is horribly inefficient.  The entire reason we have a government is for we the people to elect them to make those decisions for us.  IT is unreasonable to think that referendum will work on many issues.

The other, more practical problem with citizen initiated referendum is that it is slanted in favour of wealthy lobbying groups trying to push an agenda.  Those groups that fund a campaign to try to initiate a referendum are at a significant advantage.  The state of California has a similar rule with referendum, and the result has been terrible.  There are some issues where that state has become paralyzed and unable to act because of referendum initiated by wealthy lobbying groups trying to push their own agenda.  Citizen initiated referendum is not good for democracy, it is a hinderance to it.

The latest gaffe, which I am adding to this post after almost the rest is written, came today from a Wildrose Candidate in Calgary.  This past weekend he stated during an interview that he believes that he has an advantage in his riding because he is Caucasian.  I don't have much to say to that, except that it is yet another example of how narrow the party really is.  That is something that you simply cannot say.  It is my hope that the people of that Calgary riding show the Wildrose how costly views like that can be for a political candidate.

Denielle Smith has promised that once the province returns to surplus, a Wildrose government will distribute $300 to every Albertan every year.  At first blush, that sounds like a good idea, but again, once you move past the "oooo, $300! Shiny!" aspect and look at the realities, it is easy to see that this really isn't a good idea.  While $300 would be nice, that is literally less than $1 per day.  You cannot buy a cup of coffee for less than $1.  Now, I will admit that $300 for low income families would make a difference to them.  But again, this $300 would only come in years where there is a surplus large enough to support it.  Which means that a low income family cannot even depend on this money coming every year.  Some years we may get it, some years we may not.  That makes it impossible to plan around and count on, which makes the idea and the promise of the Dani-dollars pretty much irrelevant.  I would much rather see the $300 to me, or roughtly $1.2 Billion that would be paid out, to be spent on something more worthwhile, like infrastructure, healthcare, or education.  Put the money somewhere where it can be better used.

Another pretty big issue I have with the Wildrose is the attempt to gain votes by digging up the Edmonton city center airport issue up from the grave.  The debate over the City Center Airport in Edmonton was very bitter.  An entire civic election was fought over it, and at the end of the day, the decision was made.  I'm on the record saying that I was an airport supporter and did not want to see it closed.  However, the decision has been made, and the issue is over.  I respect the democratic process and in this case, I consider the issue closed.  Danielle Smith has no right to be trying to bring up a civic issue that was decided well over a year ago.  And really, it isn't even a very smart issue to bring up, because at best it will create a divide in those who might support her.  And considering that the pro-airport side lost, perhaps she picked the wrong side.

That gets me to my opinion about Danielle Smith herself.  In my opinion, Danielle Smith has campaigned not on her party's platform and strengths, but on the premise that she can just say "the PC's are bad you should Bote for us"  While there are many people, myself included, who are not all that happy with the PC party, I would hope that the average person has the ability to see through that.  I've simply grown sick of Danielle Smith only talking about how the PC's have been in power too long and are arrogant and need to be voted out.  That is a fine argument, however the Wildrose consistently fails to talk about what they actually want to do that is better, only what the PC's are doing that is wrong.  She claims to have travelled the province for the last 3 years, so she knows what the people want.  but if all she can come up with is "the people don't want the PC's, so vote for us!" than I really question what she has actually been doing.  I would also like to point out that aside from one leader's debate less than a week ago, she has never actually engaged in government.  She is not a MLA, and has turned down three separate chances to run in by-elections in the last 3 years in an attempt to become a MLA.  You would think that the leader of a party would want to get into the legislature as soon as possible, but instead she has chosen to sit on the sidelines for 3 years, talking about how things need to change when she has made no attempt to get into the legislature to make the changes she claims to want.  I do not believe she has handled herself very well during this election campaign, and has had to spend too much time downplaying and back-peddling from things that members of her party has said, instead of focusing on what the party actually does want to do.  Oh, and she also said she doesn't believe in global warming.  While the degree of human involvement is something that is unknown, I think it is safe to assume that climate change is a real thing, and anyone who tries to say that it is not needs to give their head a shake.

The last 3 weeks have really shown where thiss party really stands.  When looked at carefully, this shouldn't be very surprising.  the Wildrose party is made up largely of right-wing Conservatives who formerly supported the PC party.  The Wildrose was born from the feeling that the PC party had moved too far to the left, and a new, truly conservative party was needed.  That is why you see the types of things coming out of this party that we have seen.  Conscience rights, anti-gay remarks, and other remarks that border on simply being racist.  Just as we don't see extreme left-wing beliefs and opinions in modern politics, we should not be seeing a party that goes this far to the right.  There is a degree of tolerance and being moderate in political policies that is not just necessary, but required, to be relevant in a modern, developed nation.  Say what you will about how far right federal Conservative party leans, the old Reform party was too right-wing to succeed, and the Wildrose party are just as right-wing as they were.  I could talk about more things in the Wildrose platform that really scare me.  Like their attitude towards cities, health care, or education, but I am trying to keep this  shorter than a 20 page essay, so I'll eave it at this.

Now, let me finish by saying that just because I am not going to vote for the Wildrose party, that doesn't mean I'm particularly happy with any of the other parties.  I am not a fan of Alison Redford, Raj Sherman, or Brian Mason.  I especially do not like that Alison Redford is premier only becuase of a promise to restore $100 million to the education system.  I greatly enjoyed when the other leaders pointed that out to her during the leader's debate and piled on at the same tie.  But for as much disdain as I have for the PC's, Liberals, and New Democrats, I quite frankly cannot in good conscience vote for the Wildrose party.

That being said, while I won't say I don't care at all who you vote for, I really hope that you will go out and Vote on April 23rd.  If you've read through this whole thing you're likely the kind of person who is going to vote anyway, but it needs to be said.  I don't think I have to tell anyone that this will be the closest election in Alberta in a generation, and the best way to ensure that the party with the majority of support does come into power, we need a large majority of the people to vote.  PC, Wildrose, Liberal, New Democrat, just please go out and vote.  Remember that wars have been fought, and are being fought in other parts of the world for people to gain the basic rights we take for granted.  Please exercise them, even if your political leanings do not match mine.

(One last footnote, because I know I will hear from at least one or two people:  I have not talked about the Alberta party at all, andhe reason for this is simple:  the AB Party is not running a candidate in my riding.  It is pretty hard to care about a party or take it seriously when I am not able to vote for them even if I wanted to.  I've been told by an AB party supporter that they plan a big surge after the election is over, and that for the next election they should have a candidate in my riding.  That seems to miss the point, no?)

p.s.: I welcome constructive discussion at all times.  However non constructive discussion will be treated as such and removed/ignored.

And so the Election race begins

Well, the Alberta election has finally been called.  I've been meaning to write this post for a few days now, knowing this day was coming, so I guess now is the time I do it.  Basically, 27 days before the election, I have absolutely zero idea which way I'm voting.  Zero.  And let me make this clear, it is not because of the fantastic quality of each party. It is exactly the opposite.

In no paticular order, we have the Conservatives, Wildrose party, Liberals, New Democrats, and the Alberta Party.  None of them scream to me as a party I want in government.  A bit about each:

The Conservatives have been ruling the province for 40 years.  While that's not necessarily a bad thing at one point they will have to lose.  Could it be this time?  Yes.  The number of questionable things the Conservatives have done int he past 2-3 years are frankly too long to list.  I could also say that about nearly every political party on the continent, so it's not worth it to go through everything.  It is my belief that the key for them will be whether or not Alison Redford can convince people that she is different enough from Ed Stelmach that there will be meaningful difference.

Now, Alison Redford is the premier of this province for one reason only.  That reason is $100 million in immediate funding for the education system.  Now, don't get me wrong, the previous leadership taking that $100 million away was not a good thing, but Alison Redford used that to her advantage and won the leadership because of it.  That is the only reason.  Now, for full disclosure, I did become a member of the tories in 2011 to vote for the leadership, and I did not vote for Alison Redford.  I did not agree with the majority of her ideas, nor did I think she was anywhere close to the best candidate in the leadership debates, which I followed, and attended the Edmonton one in person.  I do not think that she was the best person for the leadership, and I am not sure if the Conservatives can be an effective government under her leadership.

The Wildrose party under Danielle Smith makes me want to scream into a pillow.  I cannot remember a party that has beat their own chest so loudly without actually accomplishing anything.  The entire party platform seems to be "this is what the tories have been doing for 40 years and we will say the reverse of everything they are doing wrong since they have been in power for 40 years and don't know what they're doing."  I have yet to hear any policy speech or announcement from the Wildrose party that doesn't involve talking about how they they think the tories are bad and need to be voted out of office.  It seems that the Wildrose platform is so weak that their only differentiator is to attack the tories at every turn.  I don't like that.  And the problem is that even if they do have a good platform and policies that I might agree with, I wouldn't know it because it gets buried in their anti-conservative rhetoric.

The Leader of the Liberal Party is Raj Sherman.  Regardless as to how I may think about the Liberal Party, I do not want to vote for any party with Raj Sherman as the leader.  Beyond my issues with how he has handled his accusations about the health care system, he essentially went to the party that was the highest bidder after being ejected from the Conservative party.  it had nothing to do with his political leanings, but what was the best situation for Raj Sherman.  The liberal platform, while not fantastic, has some merit, but whether it is realistic or not is debatable.  But again, it is hard to tell past a leader who really does seem to have risen to his current position on one singular issue and value, and that does not bode well for that party.

The New Democrat leader is Brian Mason.  Brain Mason was my city councillor in Edmonton.  I will not vote for any party led by Brian Mason.  I'd go into more details than that, but anyone who knows how well Brian Mason did as a city councillor in Edmonton would know that I don't.  Since I can honestly say I have no idea who I am voting for in this election I am trying to be open minded about every party, but the fact remains that I will never vote for any party that Brian Mason is affiliated with, simple as that.

The Alberta Party is an interesting enigma, but they don't have anywhere close to a full slate of candidates, or the sheer literal volume of a campaign that the wildrose party has.  I know the least about them, and need to learn more sooner rather than later, I am realistic about them, and know how this election will likely go for them.  There is simply too much competition for them to thrive.

After reading what I just wrote, the one thing that remains clear that regardless of what the party is, the real problem in this provice appears to be leadership.  We simply do not have a single good, strong, charismatic leader in this province, and that is going to hurt every single party, and likely the election turnout.  I feel like I will be voting for a bad choice, no matter which party I choose to vote for.  That is unfortunate, but it is the truth.

Do not get me wrong, there are many more issues than just the leadership of the parties and how they conduct business.  There are real issues that need to be discussed, and the party that handles themselves the best on those issues will get my vote.  I'll be talking about those issues through the campaign, because they are what will drive it.  But wow, when I look at my choices today, at the start of the race, it does not look good.

27 days remain for either one party to win me over, or for one party to piss me off the least. Let the fun begin.

The NDP & Quebec - should we be surprised?

The 41st Canadian Parliament is about to get underway, after the election in May 2011. In that election, the New Democratic Party(NDP) won a landslide victory in Quebec, Taking many seats from the Liberal Party and Conservative Party of Canada, and all but eliminating the Bloc Quebecois, leaving them with only 4 seats.

This came as a massive surprise to almost everyone, but after a few weeks and some thinking, it's easy to understand why this happened.

The NDP is the furthest left on the political spectrum of all the major parties in Canada.  Because of this, their policies in general reflect certain things.  They believe in bigger government, more spending on social services, and more control over businesses.  They want more government regulation on industry, and believe that the increased degree of control they want will improve the economy because it ensures a more level playing field for all, and doesn't allow one company to get too big and control too much of any market.  NDP budgets, or election promises, are usually higher than most other political parties because of this.

Now, let's take a look at Quebec.  As a province, they have more independent social programs and government programs than any other province.  Things like the Quebec Pension Plan and redundant services the province supplies that are also offered by the Federal Government.  Quebec has many crown corporations for the province, and is more regulated than other provinces, especially those in the west.  Quebec also receives more monetary assistance from the other provinces in the form of equalization payments from the Federal Government.

Now, let us combine those two thoughts.  When we do, it really does seem like Quebec and the NDP are made for each other.  Quebec, in general, wants bigger government and more government services, and the NDP is a party that wants to provide a bigger government, as well as more regulation and control.  Sitting back and really thinking about it, It does kind of boggle the mind how this was the first time that the NDP have had any success in Quebec.  Taking all of these concepts into consideration Quebec should be an NDP stronghold, and should have been for years.

So the question is, why hasn't it been?  That's a much simpler answer that goes back to Confederation, and the issue of separatism.  Quebec has had deep roots in the Liberal Party, which has existed since Confederation and have historically been very strong in Quebec.  In the recent past, the rise of the issue of Quebec separation brought in the rise of the Bloc Quebecois and the Parti Quebecois, which have dominated politics in Quebec for many years.  In the last 20 years the Liberal Party and the Parti Quebecois has struggled for power in provincial politics, and the Bloc Quebecois has won the majority of the seats in Parliament for Quebec.

That changed in the 2011 election.  I think that it has more to do with the people of Quebec finally giving up on the Bloc Quebecois and their tired message, and being fed up with the Liberal Party under Michael Ignatieff.  So, when the people are sick of the separatist party, and sick of the Liberal party, who can they turn to?  The options left are the Conservative Party of Canada and the New Democratic Party, which are the two parties furthest apart on the political spectrum in the country.  And again, based on the concepts of what the NDP stands for, compared to the Conservative party, which is a right leaning party, the choice was pretty obvious.

In the end, I'm still very surprised to see the NDP landslide victory in Quebec.  Quebec going NDP is a logical choice based on the general beliefs of the voters and the party.  I'm still surprised that the people of Quebec have finally had enough of the Bloc Quebecois and are done with the issue of separation.  That in itself is as big a shift in politics in this country as the actual rise of the NDP to second party status.  Either way, there was a seismic shift in Canadian politics in the 2011 election, probably the biggest shift ever that did not involve a change of government.  I make the argument that the shift finally brings politics in this country to where they logically should be, but regardless it will make the next few years of Canadian government and politics very interesting, and I can't wait to watch. Let the 41st Parliament begin.

Bandwidth Caps–The Critical Mass

The issue of bandwidth caps in Canada has hit critical mass. It is being widely reported by mainstream media, and more and more people are asking questions, and voicing their opposition to these limits. This has caused the House of Commons to respond to Canadians unrest.

So how did the tipping point get reached?

I believe the final straw came when news broke on January 31st, 2011 that a small ISP in Eastern Canada, Teksavvy, was being forced to significantly reduce what it could offer its customers. As I discussed in an earlier article, Bell and Rogers are now allowed to charge smaller ISPs that lease space on their networks on the same usage based model that it can for it's customers. This essentially means that those smaller ISPs are very limited in what it can offer to it's customers. This resulted in Teksavvy having to reduce it's bandwidth limit on customers in Ontario from 200GB a month down to 25GB. This is a reduction of nearly 88%. Even a single average Canadian can use 25GB of data per month, without using any online video service like Netflix.

The reaction to this news has been overwhelming, with people finally understanding what the usage based billing model means to Canadians, and what we can expect from our ISP's.

The link to the CBC article that really started this can be found here.

This specific case has even been carried on some US based technology news websites. Ars Technica and crutchgear both had articles about this, and Tech News Today, a daily tech news show produced by the TWiT network, covered it on their show on Monday, January 31st as well cnet's Buzz Out Loud covered the issue on Tuesday, February 1st.. This issue has interested our neighbours to the south in a big way, and goes to show how big of an issue this is.

[read] – Ars Technica

[read] – crunchgear

[read] – Tech News Today

[read] – Buzz Out Loud

What will the CRTC do?

Honeslty, I have no idea. The CRTC just recently ruled that the rate that Bell can charge small ISP's for overage is to be reduced by 15%. That is not much, but it is a start. With the Government ordering a review, anything is possible. However, the CRTC does not have a history of being friendly to consumers in it's decisions. The vast majority of its rulings in the recent past on ISPs and Usage Based Billing has been in the favour of the media companies, with little regard to the consumer. Perhaps with a government ordered review the CRTC may look more carefully at the wishes of Canadians, but it really is unknown.

What is the landscape looking like in the Government

The New Democratic Party(NDP) has been in opposition of UBB since the beginning, and now with the issue hitting critical mass, more people are finding that out. On February 1 the opposition Liberal party also stated that they are opposed to the UBB model in Canada.

The Conservative government has not come out with a firm stance. Stephen Harper has called UBB "troubling" and Industry minister Tony Clement has confirmed that the government will be reviewing the CRTC decision and that it will be watched closely.

What if the CRTC doesn't change it's ruling?

Well, in that unfortunate scenario, the Government could step in and overrule the CRTC decision. With the Liberals and the NDP already stating their opposition, this would pass the House of Commons quite quickly and easily. This is one of the few issues in recent memory that all major parties agree on, and I hope that they can come together for the good of the consumer on this issue.

So does this mean that the debate is over?

Not even close. There are no guarantees yet. The CRTC could rule to keep UBB as it is. And the Government could chose not to override that decision. There is still much work to do.

The best thing you can do right now is contact your Member of Parliament, Prime Minister Harper, and Tony Clement, to voice your opposition to UBB. The next thing you can do is sign the online petition at www.openmedia.ca/stopthemeter. The petition has grown by almost 75,000 signatures in the last 24 hours, and as of this writing is around 250,000.

The time to act is now. The voice of the consumer is very powerful, and hundreds of thousands of voices together can be deafening, and hard to ignore. Sign the petition, write to your MP and to the Prime Minister. Without further action this could be nothing more than window dressing.

Anything else?

This is a note relating to Shaw users. Shaw took a good step today, February 1st, and enabled it's bandwidth monitor for all of its customers. This can be accessed from secure.shaw.ca. Be aware that clicking on the modem usage link tries to open a pop up to display the graph. Most browsers block pop up windows automatically now, and it will have to be disabled for Shaw's website. An annoyance, but at least we have the tool now.

I found that in the previous two billing cycles my household used 77.8GB in both months, well over the 60GB cap on the plan. This is troubling because those of us in the house, especially in the December-January billing cycle, were aware of the cap and were trying to lower our usage. We did not use Netflix at all and tried to curb our streaming video usage.

We will have to monitor our usage, and if we cannot get under 60GB, will probably have to upgrade to Shaw extreme. Based on our usage we would have had $36 in overage fees, with nothing but "normal" usage.

I personally hope that the CRTC reverses the decision to allow ISPs to implement Usage Based Billing. This is nothing but a cash grab for the service providers, while Shaw is currently enjoying record profits without the UBB system in place. It is simply not needed, and only serves to crush innovation and technology in Canada, when the future moving forward is based on that technology.

[read] – Conservative and Liberal parties talking about the topic

[read] – CRTC ordered to review the decision

[read] – openmedia.ca

[sign] – Stop the meter petition

My Letter to my MLA regarding Bill 44

For those of you living in Alberta, Bill 44 has become a very large issue.  It has the ability to limit classroom discussion about religion, sexuality, and homosexuality by requiring parents be notified before these topics are discussed in school as well as giving parents the ability to remove their children from the classroom if they do not agree with these topics.  It will also open up the ability for teachers to have human rights complaints leveled against them if these topics are brought up.  While the government claims that the “everyday Albertan” is on board with this legislation, I have not found that to be the case.  The “everyday Albertan” we have been called, seem to overwhelmingly oppose this bill.  Human rights advocates oppose it, and perhaps the biggest telltale sign, the Alberta Teachers Association also very publicly and vocally opposes this legislation.  Here is the letter that I sent to my MLA, the honorable Tony Vandermeer, as well as the honorable Ed Stelmach, Premier of Alberta.

 

Dear Mr. Vandermeer,

I am a member of your constituency, and I am a strong conservative supporter.  However, I am deeply concerned with Bill 44.  This piece of legislation is one that truly concerns me as a Canadian, an Albertan, and a human being.  This bill serves no other purpose except to cripple our education system, stunt the growth of our youth, and harm a teacher's ability to teach.

the Education curriculum, which is defined and maintain by the Government of Alberta, is largely based on though provoking subjects designed to open the eyes of our youth to new ideas, especially in the area of social studies.  So much of our human history is fuelled by religious beliefs.  From the medieval times when wars were fought over beliefs in different versions of the same god, to more recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Almost every important event in our history can be connected to religion in some way.  I know that a new Junior High social studies curriculum is being introduced soon, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are included in the studies.  Bill 44 will cripple the social studies curriculum, because any time a teacher wishes to talk about something that might have to deal with religion, a letter will have to be sent home, and if a single parent voices concern, the teacher simply cannot talk about that subject.  How can a teacher be expected to teach well when the potential exists for virtually the entire social studies curriculum may not be teachable because of Bill 44.  A teacher will also have to tip toe around everything they do in fact teach, because as soon as religion is brought into the discussion, they risk having a human rights complaint brought against them.  Teachers should not have to teach in fear, and I am afraid that if Bill 44 passes, that will happen.  I know several teachers, and they are all terrified of Bill 44, and the consequences of it passing.

On the topic of human sexuality, I do not understand why new measures need to be implemented over what already exists.  When I was going to school, consent forms were sent home before any sex education classes, and any parent who did not want their child to learn about that, the child would be taken out of the class and given other activities to do for that period of time.  Bill 44 overly complicates this, and again further opens up the teachers to risks of human rights complaints.  What about biology classes that teach human physiology.  A parent could potentially launch a human rights complaint because their child is learning about the physical human body.

I will concede that homosexuality is a difficult issue.  Alberta is not the first jurisdiction, nor will it be the last, to deal with these issues.  I believe in equal human rights, and it is my personal belief that people who are homosexual are discriminated against because they are not always given the same basic rights that I am.  To be totally frank, the issue of homosexuality will not go away until people of my generation move into prominence, and become the decision makers in the world.  In my experience, it is the older generations who are mostly afraid of this issue, and are the ones pushing against it.  As the younger generation takes over, this issue will go away.  However, until that happens, consider this.  Teenagers commit suicide every day because they discover they are homosexual, and cannot bear the weight of the persecution, public perception, and lack of equality they are given.  Children who discover they are homosexual are scared, made fun of, and have their self esteem destroyed.  Bill 44 will further pile on to this, because as long as a single parent disagrees, a child will be unable to talk about homosexuality in a classroom.

I firmly believe that this bill will stunt the growth of the youth of this generation, because it will take away much of the thought provoking substance of the curriculum.  It is difficult enough to get the youth actively engaged in what is being taught, and if the best parts of the curriculum are taken away because one parent wishes them taken away, then the curriculum loses most of it's effect.  The subject will be bland, with no substance, and will get the youth further disconnected.  With the cultural diversity that now exists in our country, where it is not uncommon to find Christians, Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, Jewish people, and Atheists in a single classroom, as well as people who are hetero and homosexual, teaching will be nearly impossible, since there is no way to discuss a single subject without offending at least one person.

Our schools are supposed to be a haven for youth.  It is a place where our youth and teachers can talk about many subjects, some of which youth of today, especially teenagers, are not comfortable talking with their parents about.  A student should be able to trust their teacher, but if Bill 44 passes, the teacher might not be able to be the trusting figure for sensitive matters, for fear of human rights violations.

Please, vote no on Bill 44.  It is a dangerous Bill which could harm the school system of our province, our teachers, and our youth, in ways that cannot be described.  If Bill 44 passes into law, not only will I be ashamed to be a Conservative supporter, but for the first time in my 22 years, I will be ashamed to be an Albertan.

Thank you,

Tyler Hardeman

Please note that I am also sending a copy of this e-mail to Premier Stelmach.