If you looked at the post previous to this one you'll know that two Wildrose candidates have put their foot in their mouths, right up to the hip and beyond. The one in Edmonton thinks that it's wrong to tolerate or accept LBGT kids and that it's loving to bully them into changing their orientation so they don't burn in hell. I'm paraphrasing only slightly, he was considerably more graphic. The one in Calgary thinks that Sikh and Muslim public figures only speak for those communities, but as a Caucasian he can speak for everybody. A natural entitlement, of course. Both of these are pastors in what they describe as a church. More on that later.
Let's start with "Dr." Leech. The honorific comes from an unaccredited institution. It might have been one of those $29.99 specials and if you act now we'll include a decoder ring, a $5.99 value if you call before midnight. He's the one that says that only Caucasian people can speak for everybody, that Sikhs and Muslims only speak to their communities. There are Caucasian Sikhs and Muslims, so I have to wonder who Leech thinks they speak for. While he used those two groups as an example, I strongly suspect he would include other minorities as well. Calgary is a very multicultural city, and he's in one of the more multicultural ridings. How he thinks this gets him votes is beyond me.
Plus, the mayor of Calgary is Muslim, and it's not like he's a low profile guy. Mayor Nenshi is very well regarded by the citizens, most think he's doing a very good job, and even his critics would admit he is a superb communicator. He was voted the most trusted Canadian by Readers Digest in a recent poll. Someone that thinks that he is only speaking to Muslims isn't breathing the same air as the rest of us. And this is what Leech says in public! What does he say in his church and to his friends or family? I'd believe it was a slip of the tongue if all he had said was "being Caucasian is an advantage" when he meant "...isn't a disadvantage" which is bad enough. But there were the other comments about speaking to their own community that show it's all one thought, and beyond the pale.
Moving on to Mr. Hunsperger. In my lifetime opinions on homosexuality have changed enormously. Thinking back to my school days kids were routinely bullied and accused of being "a homo", including by the teachers. For most it didn't stick, but it did to some. Fights, pushing, tripping, shoving, and subtler assaults were common. In hindsight it was rancid environment for learning. No wonder I hated school.
That is what Hunsperger wants to go back to. I don't even have to ask him what he thinks of gay people getting married; the only reason he wouldn't pop a gasket is that he probably has a sermon memorized. A discussion about gay sex probably would pop his gaskets. As near as I can tell from chatting to gay friends, the right wing politicians think far more about gay sex than gay people do.
I suspect the schools are just the thin edge of the wedge for Hunsperger. Then he can move on to discriminating against them in other ways, such as trying to deny them marriage rights. Then it might be getting them out of "sensitive jobs in government or civil service" because they could be blackmailed by evil Russian spies. Or maybe it's Chinese spies now. It would not surprise me to learn that in his heart of hearts he thinks AIDS is a "gay disease given to them by God", and as such don't deserve medical treatment. I'll stop there, but what's important to remember is that bigots like this don't stop. Give them any room and they'll come back for more.
Now to Ms. Smith. She didn't rebuke them. This is all fine with her. Not even just fine, but good. It's just another opinion, like all the other opinions that any diverse group of candidates would hold. (Diverse isn't the word I'd use to describe a party of angry old white men where only about 10% of the candidates are female.) She thinks its important that people who have strong, sincerely held religious opinions belong in government, and they are entitled to their personal opinions. What she doesn't get, is that those opinions don't stop at the doorway of the Legislature. While she says they aren't going to legislate on controversial morality issues, it's just a smoke screen. To them, these issues aren't controversial. They're right and we're wrong. She's the one that has said that wily politicians can find a way around the Charter to create legislation for a desired result.
Here's where we get to the sifting. There is a grain of truth in much of what Wildrose says. People are entitled to their opinion, up to a limit. Just like your freedom to swing your fist stops at the other person's face, your freedom of opinion stops when it damages other people or is untrue. These two pastors already have a bully pulpit for their outdated and rancid views, and they expect to be given a bigger one?
Ms. Smith says it's wrong of the PC government to bully and intimidate the people in the medical system, and she is absolutely 100% correct on that. So why then is it ok to bully children?
One could go through much of the Wildrose campaign platform and point to things that are mostly true, or sound reasonable, or are based on real issues. It's where they go with it, or getting to the details that shows the problems.
How to say this? In Canadian public life religion is pretty much a non-issue. Canadians don't much care which church a candidate goes to, or if they go at all. Catholic, for example, might be in a paragraph with words like honest, open, communicator, hard-working, trust-worthy, ect. Nobody would blink to find a candidate that goes to the Anglican church, for example, doesn't mention that in their literature. Not in the sense of hiding it, just that there is limited space, and more important messages.
At least it's a non-issue until loons like these two crawl out from under a rock and start spewing their vile message, with their party leader standing there cheering them on. It's one thing to hold an opinion that is controversial and state your case. That's what free speech is all about. But these particular issues aren't controversial any more.
Society has evolved beyond the primitive world view of most religions. White people are not entitled by being white to speak for other people. Non-white people are not limited to speaking to only that community. Saying such things demonstrates such an out-dated world view as to render you unfit for public company, let alone public office.
We understand that being gay isn't a choice, it's a matter of the exact mix of hormones you get in your mother's womb. There is nothing to be done about it, and more importantly, nothing that needs to be done about it. Human rights are gay rights, and vise versa. Saying otherwise is simply counter factual, and if you believe that, I have to wonder what other untrue things you believe.
In the end, I'm still of the opinion that the PC's have to go. Wildrose might have some credible candidates; I'm not suggesting these two are representative of every candidate. Certainly the candidate in my riding, from his record, would be standing there supporting Hunsperger's opinion. The NDP want to raise taxes and swing too far the other way in terms of holding the oil and gas industry accountable. The Liberals. Sigh. I don't know if I can hold my nose that tight.
Those are my only choices. If you're an Albertan you may have other choices. Please consider them, and make your mark on election day.
The candidate or the party? The party or the candidate? Hmmm.