In politics, there are different parties and different opinions. There are issues open to debate. There are human rights laws that shouldn't be debatable, but Alberta thinks otherwise... none of this is what I have to talk about today.
Today I saw Jim Prentice's PC Party and the Wildrose Party engage in an ORCHESTRATED SILENCING of Laurie Blakeman's Bill 202, a Bill that proposed to protect LGBTQ students, their allies, and children of LGBTQ people in law. It hurts no one who believes in Lakes of Fire and is homophobic; the Bill contains opt-out clauses. It seeks only to make schools safer places for students quantitatively more prone to self-harm, bullying, and suicide than other groups.
But all that aside. It was a Private Member's Bill. Those only get to be discussed on Monday afternoons from 3-5 in the Alberta Legislature. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are strictly government (ruling PC party) business. So today, two bills were up for reading and debate. Bill 201, from Joe Anglin, the raging homophobe who left the Wildrose because they are not homophobic enough, which dealt with transparency of energy regulators. An empty bill that every backbench MLA in the PC and WR party stood to speak in favour of, ranting on about lines on their own utility bills, using points of privilege to argue WITHIN THEIR OWN PARTIES to delay the ability of MLA Laurie Blakeman to speak to her Bill 202.
They did it. They stalled and wasted time with points of privilege (meaning the time allotted the debate pauses while point of privilege is considered, but absolute ending time, 5pm, goes unchanged.)
Who did it? Janice Sarich. Dave Quest. Rob Anderson. Joe Anglin. Linda Johnson. Frank Oberle. And more. This people who are supposed to support democracy instead colluded to argue with each other on Bill 201 which they ALL SUPPORTED. They played childish, stalling, democracy-averting games to ensure the clock would run out and MLA Laurie Blakeman would not get to read her Bill.
Everyone already knew her bill was dead. Prentice, the premier, has first reading, second reading, committee of the whole, and third reading all scheduled for this week. His bill, that does not support students in any way other than allowing them "legal recourse" if their school won't support a GSA (you know, those independently wealthy 15 year olds whose parents don't support their gender identity or sexual orientation, be they in public or faith based schools) will be enshrined in law by Thursday at which time the Speaker will call session (Prentice having prorogued it because he was NOT ELECTED when session was supposed to begin) and MLA Blakeman's Bill 202, which could have helped innumerable students, including my own children, will be dead on the floor.
But the PCs and WRs would not even let her speak. They babbled about the oddness of acronyms for British energy regulators. They read off lines from their person utility bills. THEY ALL WANTED BILL 201 passed.
This was orchestrated silence. They did not want MLA Laurie Blakeman to table letters from parents, teachers, homeschool parents, religious community members, about their support for GSAs and Bill 202. They did not want her to have a chance for Albertans dissent to appear in public record.
THIS IS NOT DEMOCRACY. In democracy, there is debate; there is not childish stalling and silencing of voices that do not align with the ruling party.
Those MLA names up there, the ones I mentioned who spoke, all no one back benchers; they did all they could to subvert democracy today. Take what political stance you will, but do not claim that their actions are just. What those people did today was gag the voices of thousands of Albertans, refuse them voice in their legislature.
And those not named? Mr. Thomas Lukaszuk sat sprawled in his seat, smirking and laughing at MLA Blakeman, pointedly looking at me in the gallery, then at her, and laughing. If you think he or Heather Klimchuk, who have clearly only paid lip service to the LGBTQ community, care one iota about queer youth, you are wrong. They have been silent (thought Lukaszuk has a media mouthpiece wife who has managed to get him airtime when he wants it) through all of this. Klimchuk is, very unfortunately, the MLA representing the riding I live in, and she, oh so eager to pose for photos with Lukaszuk and Kris Wells (don't even get me started on him-- see Kikki Planet/ Kathleen Smith's reasoning for his complete and utter failure of the queer community,) you are wrong. Have they crossed the floor to protest this extreme social conservatism? No. They are career politicians who care about their next election; neither gives a damn about LGBTQ youth unless it serves them politically. If they did, they'd speak out. They haven't. And Sandra Jansan who supported MLA Kent Hehr's Motion in the Spring Session to mandate GSAs if students requested them? She's the one presenting Prentice's Bill 10.
This government is corrupt. Don't be fooled into thinking Alison Redford was alone. Or Ralph Klein was alone. This is a government with a 40 plus year sense of entitlement that thinks Albertans are lemmings who will vote for them time and time again.
These people are authoritarian and dictators. They manipulate systems to silence dissent. THIS IS WRONG.
I have never in my life voted for a conservative of any stripe (they like to change their colours often- PC, Conservative, Reform, WildRose, Canadian Alliance) and I never will. Until today, it was because I disagreed with their platforms. After today, it is because they are heinous creatures who have no respect for the citizens of this province and this country. And because their platforms are awful. (Don't even try to argue that you're a fiscal conservative. Every party in this country is fiscally conservative; it's all about social conservatism and social liberalism... the conservatives in this province are fascists. They proved that today.)
MLA Laurie Blakeman, you are my hero. You are, as you know, my daughter's hero. You fight for basic human rights, for people at risk in various demographics, and you are genuine. You put your heart and your soul into what you do; you're not there for airtime and expense accounts (cough... David Xiao;) you are there and you get voted in time and again because you listen to the people and you fight for the people. You are democracy in action.
The PCs and the WRP are despicable. I allow people, as I said, to agree with their platforms. I cannot. Their tactics fly in the face of democracy and civility.
To anyone who voted for them and especially anyone who chooses to vote for them in the future; YOU carry the weight of dead children on your shoulders. YOU have voted for people who shut up and won't allow debate. YOU have voted against democratic principles, against freedom of speech, and against common courtesy.
It is shameful. Read about the Nazi Party. Look at Prentice's government and the Conservative dynasty. If you vote for them, you are complicit.
And I will be writing to my MLA, the Education Minister, and lodging complaints to the Human Rights Commission EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. my child comes home having sung O Canada or having read a book with opposite sex parents; because the default is not what's legislated; under Prentice's Bill, and indeed, the Alberta Human Rights Act as it stands, I have a right to be notified in writing, in advance every time patriotism, religion, or sexual orientation is mentioned in class. Heterosexuality is a sexual orientation. National anthems are patriotism. To those who agree that we all have rights, not just that Conservatives have rights, I urge you to join me.
Don't let the bastards drag you down. And don't let these assholes get away with fascism.