News & Issues

Alberta's reputation matters; why Bill 10 has to go

Posted on December 03, 2014 by Greg Clark

Perception isn't always reality. 

In my experience Albertans are generous, hard-working and inclusive. We look out for each other, care about our environment and we try to leave our province better than we found it. 

But that's not how a lot of people outside our province see us. Spend time in BC or Ontario or Atlantic Canada, and many people think they need to set their watch back 30 years when they cross the border. They think we're a province of intolerant people hell-bent on oil development no matter the cost. 

We're not, but that's the perception of many.

I recently met an engineer who moved to Ontario from Mexico several years ago. He had no interest in living in Alberta because of his perception of our province. That was until he started traveling here for business and found out his perception was entirely wrong. In Alberta, it didn't matter that he came from another country, had an accent or didn't go to school here. What mattered were his ideas and his work ethic. 

He recently moved his family and his business to Alberta because of all we offer. But he wondered aloud whether he had misjudged our province based on the GSA debate raging in the Legislature. He asked "why would your politicians care what sort of club high school students create?"

Debates like this hurt Alberta's reputation. And in the case of Bill 10, hurt LGBTQ students, parents, teachers and staff. Bill 10 (and its amendments) are an offense to the basic human rights of LGBTQ Albertans and is frankly an embarrassment. 

It is precisely the kind of issue that hurts others' perception of Alberta. As we've seen with the pipeline debate that perception can have a real impact on our economy. 

In Alberta we must defend human rights of all kinds in those (hopefully rare) cases where discrimination and bigotry still exist. That's the kind of province I want to live in and it's the kind of province that will attract great people from all over the world. 

Bill 10 needs to go because it's the right thing to do for LGBTQ students. It also has to go because it's damaging Alberta's reputation. The world needs to know we've entered the 21st Century, and that Alberta is a safe and inclusive place for everyone. 

Showing 5 reactions

  • commented 2014-12-17 05:06:00 -0700
    A law that identifies groups by its very nature excludes groups. A process should be in place so that where any minority group desires to establish a support group for its members it will be done. Also many businesses provide tolerance training for it employees. This type of training should be provided to teachers and students.
  • commented 2014-12-04 21:13:12 -0700
    I’m of the opinion that human rights are a major value to Canadians and to Albertans. Albertans care about human rights. If you want to receive tax dollars as an educational institution, your school must be held to a certain standard, and that standard is equality and opportunity for everyone.
  • commented 2014-12-04 13:17:10 -0700
    Absolutely! Perhaps if some of our sitting politicians actual took the time to talk to the LGBTQ community and those who work with them, they would start to understand how much damage isolation and rejection causes. Stigma and barriers do not change identity – it only drives it underground.
  • commented 2014-12-04 11:25:20 -0700
    I have never felt so embarrassed to call myself an Albertan. We must change this!
  • commented 2014-12-03 21:50:26 -0700
    It also hurts Albertans who are not LGBTQ. We should never miss an opportunity to be accepting and supportive of each other. I want our government to lead by example. Bill 10 is a terrible example. This is not us.

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