Monday, May 04, 2009

Alberta Vs. The Creationists, Part III: In Which Minister Blackett Contradicts Himself And Others

"But Lindsay Blackett, the Tory minister responsible for human rights, said in an interview that the intention of the law is to only allow parents to pull children out when the curriculum specifically covers religions, something that only happens for a few hours each school year."

"It's talking about religion (such as) Hindu, or Muslim, or that type of religion, not ... the curriculum with respect to, for instance, evolution," he said.


Blackett said if people believe the wording of the bill is unclear and could lead to complaints beyond what the law is intended to cover, the government could tighten up the language before it passes.

"If that's the main worry than we can certainly narrow that down, we're reasonable people."

There are two problems with this.

1) Both Alberta Minister of Culture Lindsay Blackett and Premier Stelmach have said explicitly that Bill 44 would allow parents to remove their children from classes in which evolution was taught. So either one of these two guys is lying, or (more likely) they have misread the intention of their own bill, because...

2) the language does not need to be tightened up. In fact, Blackett is correct in the above: the wording of the law states pretty clearly that it applies only where the classroom subject "deals explicitly with religion, sexuality or sexual orientation". The problem is not with the language in the bill, but the language Blackett and Stelmach have used in talking about the bill.

A very confused government, out there in Alberta, I'm afraid...


MgS said...

If Blackett thinks that the initial wording allows people to yank their kids out of classes that their faith disagrees with, he's being dense. Either that he's hoping that the right-wingnuts that clause is aimed at are even denser than he is.

Kurt Phillips said...

This is as worrisome even if what Blackett says is true.

So if a teacher is talking about the history of Japan (in the Grade 8 Social curriculum) and the topics of Shitoism and Buddhism come up as major components of that nation's culture, parents can demand that their children be removed from the class for the duration of that lesson? And in a discussion of Middle East politics, a teacher might have to avoid talking about Muslims and Jews in relation to Israel?

This is really, really stupid.

bigcitylib said...


I don't doubt you, but I thought this stuff was already in effect because of the schools(?) act. In other words, Bill 44 didn't make it worse.

MgS said...

Update: apparently someone gave Blackett a reading lesson, because he's now saying what I said it meant from the beginning.