Friday, April 6, 2012

Wildrose Alliance Party would set back social advances in Alberta

A survey of party leaders conducted by the Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association last year has some troubling quotes from Wildrose Alliance Party leader Danielle Smith:
The Wildrose is committed to enshrining property rights in an Alberta Constitution, and views the protection of property rights the most fundamental role of government.
So, property rights trump social responsibility, human rights, the environment, health, education, democracy?

And, yes, in spite of recent denials and obfuscations, she is on the record in favour of “conscience rights”:
the Wildrose will ensure conscience rights for marriage commissioners and health professionals.

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6 comments:

Ardvark said...

How does property rights trump other rights?

And are you against 'conscience rights' all together or just in certain circumstances?

Grant Neufeld said...

By placing “property rights” as “the most fundamental role of government”, she says that they take precedence over the government’s role to protect human rights, the government’s role to ensure the health and welfare of the people, land and future of this province, etc. So, any case where property rights conflict with any other role or responsibility of government (which they often do), Smith’s statement says that she and her party would side with property rights — above all else.

I am against any “conscience rights” that diminish human rights and social/civil responsibilities. You can do what you want (or not do what you don’t want) only so far as it does not harm others. The “conscience rights” being advanced in North America, primarily by those who identify as politically conservative or libertarian, would do harm to others by denying some people their human rights (such as non-discriminatory and equitable treatment, and access to health services).

Grant Neufeld said...

Kent Hehr (Liberal MLA, Calgary-Buffalo) wrote a good post on “conscience rights”.

Ardvark said...

The idea of property rights shouldn't be diminished as they don't exist at either the federal and provincial level, which sort of scares me that in reality I own nothing, but saying that, they are not the be all and end all of rights. There has to be a compromise in there somewhere protecting both property and the ability of gov't to function.

Conscience right though are a different matter entirely. To respond to that Kent Lehr article linked in your comments: He lost me right here "The Alberta Liberals are firmly opposed to the concept of conscience rights" as freedom of conscience is a guaranteed freedom in the Charter (Section 2a) It isn't a concept, it is a charter right!

You sort of nailed it in your response that we all can do whatever we want to do or don't want to do, we can and I also agree that those decisions should not harm anyone OR limit their rights. The issue for myself here is what is the role of the gov't in all of this.

This is important to the discussion because this stems from the idea of someone having their 'rights' violated because of an individual use of conscience rights.

Should the role of gov't be to limit the charter right of freedom of conscience for someone or is it to make sure that everyone's rights are upheld equally? That is to say the gov't role is to ensure that whatever gov't service that may have been denied* due to someone exercising their charter right, gets provided to the person entitled to it. IMHO it isn't to force any single individual to perform that service, but to make sure that the service does get provided.

I used the * beside denied because it has yet to happen in Alberta as anyone who was entitled to receive a service in the end did.

adam said...

Grant its Adam from SALUG, I don't know any other way to get a hold of you I have tried email and calling. Can you please contact me?

K Blair said...

In the charter, you have the right to freedom of conscience. This is actually different from what the Wildrose is talking about. Freedom of conscience would mean that if marrying same-sex went against your conscience, that is completely up to you, and you could choose to not be a marriage commissioner. A marriage commission is an agent of the government (even though they operate privately) - their job is to marry people based on the laws. Not to impose their own conscience on others.

I think the Wildrose's method would increase government involvement in these issues. Instead of it just not being OK to enact your conscience as though it is the law, that being clear, and going to court with cases where people do it anyway, it seems to me that epople would expect to be able to violate human rights and the cases would go to that court system Danielle Smith mentioned (which I do not actually understand, I'll say that up front) which seems like a HUGE waste of time and resources. Right now, yes, same-sex couples cold go to another marriage commissioner, but it basically says it's OK for some arms of the government not to provide service to some people, and entrenches that.

Also, when extended to health workers, it's not too easy to go find another doctor, particularly if you are young. How are you, as a young person, to make an informed decision about what is best for your health if you doctor is saying no, they refuse to provide access to birth control or info on abortions? Again, if you, as an individual, are against those things, it's your responsibility to set up your life so you're not responsible for doing them.

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