Friday, April 20, 2012

You're welcome to your conscience, but keep it out of my rights

I'm about to do something I hoped I wouldn't have to: weigh in on Alberta's election morality battleground. I have been reluctant to do so and have been quietly biting my toungue as the arguments go back and forth. The past few weeks of revelations on Wildrose personal opinion have been concerning especially since I was seriously considering the Wildrose candidate in my riding.

As I've stated before party politics means nothing to me. I had an excellent discussion with Meagan LaFave's campaign about peak oil and it's the first time a politician has seriously entertained my concerns. The NDP have consistently written off my concerns about peak oil, and for me this is a big deal. Rachael Notley has been a good MLA but she's never entertained my thoughts on peak oil.

Peak oil is not thoroughly understood within the Wildrose party. Last year in an interview with Jason Lamarche Danielle Smith states that she's not really familiar with peak oil and then without even bothering to understand it continues to explain why its not true. This contradiction in views seems to plague the Wildrose and the last few weeks have been no exception. I fully understand that I'm Canadian, not American and that we vote for a local representative and not a leader but it's still conflicting voting for an MLA based on their take on a problem the leader doesn't understand at all. This confliction for me has only grown in the last few weeks with the moral controversies.

Let me be clear here, I do not support the concept of conscience rights. You are however perfectly welcome to your own conscience freedoms. If your conscience is telling you that you can't provide a service to a citizen then you probably shouldn't be providing that service and you're free to find yourself a different career. This is what freedom is all about, it's a double-edged sword and you're perfectly free to make your own decisions even if the options associated with that freedom are not nessecarily your personal preferences.

The Wildrose response has been "we will not legislate on contentious social issues". Who cares about whats legislated? What we are electing here are representatives who should be listening to their constituents about what to suggest legislation on in the first place. What concerns me is whether conscience rights will be applied selectively, where there is no legislation.

Lets say Allan Hunsperger wins and some months later a homosexual brings a concern about gay rights to his representative. Will Hunsperger give equal weight and concern to the matter or will his own bias against homosexuals interfere with his ability to represent? If he truly believes in his convictions which he is defending then is it not reasonable to assume his response could be "well you're just going to the lake of fire anyway"? Everyone deserves equal representation and whether or not the Wildrose can provide that isn't being made clear what-so-ever.

I find it very difficult to understand how clear support for personal discriminatory views can translate into unbiased and fair representation. Maybe conscience rights and intolerance won't be legislated on (although you can never be sure, its not like governments have never legislated on something they said they wouldn't), but that speaks nothing towards whether they will respect and uphold existing rights and represent their constituents proportionally.

UPDATE 6:56 PM

It's come to my attention that Danielle Smith has addressed the topic of representation today. Her release can be found here. I'm not sure when this was posted (no timestamp) so I can't say whether it's in response to my post or simply coincidence (probably the latter as I have few readers). I wish I had read this at the beginning of the week, I held out on writing this post as long as I could waiting for a concrete answer.

Danielle Smith has pledged that her candidates will represent everyone. This statement satisfies my concerns, and I expect that if the Wildrose is elected any MLA who breaches this pledge will be promptly removed. Tolerance for intolerance is something I will not tolerate.

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Richard Fantin is a self-taught software developer who has mostly throughout his career focused on financial applications and high frequency trading. He currently works for eQube gaming systems.

Nazayh Zanidean is a Project Coordinator for a mid-sized construction contractor in Calgary, Alberta. He enjoys writing as a hobby on topics that include foreign policy, international human rights, security and systemic media bias.

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