MLA Sandra Jansen offends thousands of Albertans with claims of misinformation, fear and intolerance

Sandra Jansen, MLA for Calgary Northwest, is considering running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative party.

With that in mind, it astounds me that Ms Jansen feels at liberty to offend the 4000+ concerned Albertans who attended the Parents for Choice in Education rallies in Calgary and Edmonton this past Saturday.

One would think she would be more careful when labeling thousands of Albertans with claims of misinformation, fear and intolerance.

Jansen rally tweet1

Jansen rally tweet2

 

Using such bold, sweeping overgeneralizations, especially on the basis of one tweet with a quote of eight words taken completely out of context, is a questionable decision when attempting to garner support of Albertan voters.

As someone who was actually present at the Edmonton rally, as both an organizer and the MC, I would like to question Ms Jansen’s conclusions:

On what basis is “Progress Alberta” making claims of our rally being “anti-Trans”?

And based on what evidence is Richard Einarson claiming that those in attendance at the rallies “don’t support acceptance of LGBTQ people as full & equal citizens in Alberta”?

And, most importantly to Albertans, on what basis does MLA Sandra Jansen feel justified to base her understanding on such claims?

In advance of the rally, constituents hand-delivered printed rally information packages to many MLAs across the province, including to Ms Jansen.  She cannot claim ignorance of our purposes and goals.  Provided in the overview letter of that package is the statement from Donna Trimble, Executive Director of Parents for Choice in Education:

Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) does not oppose or support Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in schools. PCE opposes Bill 10 because it fundamentally and profoundly disrespects the right of parents to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children, imposing GSAs on every school in Alberta, including Catholic, public, charter, private and independent schools.

 Every parent wants Alberta’s schools to provide a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment. A law requiring this is redundant and unnecessary, but otherwise not harmful. When it comes to the best way(s) to achieve a welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environment in schools, there are as many different opinions as there are parents. All of these opinions should be considered and respected. None of them should be imposed on every school in Alberta as the only way…

 In a free society that respects parental rights, and in the context of legislation governing education, PCE believes that no one should have the right to impose their views about sexuality (or any other topic) on others by way of mandating a certain gender ideology on everyone. We believe that authentic diversity, maximum choice for parents, and the health, protection and well-being of our children are undermined by Bill 10 and the Guidelines.

Personally, I fail to see any reasonable connection between advocating for all parents to have “maximum choice” and the “right of parents to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children” with claims of being “anti-trans”.

Do not trans students need support of their families too?  Do not trans students benefit when parents are given the freedom to exercise the “right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children”?

Wouldn’t any parent agree that mandating a specific ideology onto every K-12 student in Alberta, with a complete disregard for a family’s values and cultural sensitivities, is an over-reach of government authority into the sphere of the family?

Ms Jansen now owes all of us a public explanation for her conclusions. She should also be cautious of who she relies on as her sources of information.

Interestingly, at the end of the day, Ms Jansen and I both reach the same conclusion: fear, misinformation and intolerance have no place in my Alberta either.

It is the reason I started this blog and my motivation to advocate so publicly about this issue.

Albertans deserve to know what their elected officials are saying about them. As the adage says “Knowledge is power” – and it is only when we are fully informed that we can make the best decisions for ourselves, our families and the future of our province, especially when it comes to decisions of who to support in positions of public office and the best candidates for potential leadership roles.

Politicians like Ms. Jansen need to remember that (thankfully) Twitter is not representative of most of Alberta. And that popularity contests on Twitter will not necessarily get politicians re-elected. Listening to Albertans, hearing their voices and addressing their concerns would certainly help.

Or at least it should – if we as Albertans take seriously our responsibility in a democracy to make our concerns known and hold those in public office accountable for their public remarks.

I’ve been listening to thousands of Albertans across the province and there is an uprising of voters in this province who are frustrated with lack of representation and beginning to mobilize and activate.  As evidenced by the overwhelming support for our rallies on Saturday, increasing numbers of people are becoming aware of the concerns represented by our rallies. And these Albertans will not stop spreading awareness about these issues until their concerns are addressed.

MLA Ric McIver received a groundswell of support for his recent advocacy supporting parental choice in education.

By contrast, Ms. Jansen has just opened a chasm between herself and a huge, politically activated group of concerned Albertans that she has labeled instead of listened to.

I would strongly encourage every one of those 4000+ people who attended the rallies in person, as well as the tens of thousands of concerned Albertans from across the province who were unable to attend in person, to send Ms Jansen a message, loud and clear.

Since she is not a fan of misinformation I am certain she would welcome Albertans respectfully setting the record straight.  Her phone number is 403 297 7104 and email is calgary.northwest@assembly.ab.ca   (cc: Interim PC Leader Ric McIver at calgary.hays@assembly.ab.ca).  Feel free to even just send her the link to this article as representative of your concerns with her claims.

Furthermore, with all due respect, I invite Ms. Jansen to provide further explanation to her claims and conclusions regarding her tweets of Saturday’s rallies.  Upon receipt of her explanation I would be happy to publicly share it with the tens of thousands of families who supported the rallies across the province, through posting it on my blog and passing it along to Donna Trimble, the Executive Director or Parents for Choice in Education.

One last piece of advice to elected officials across the province: if you want to garner support of voters, give up trying to appeal to the Twitter-sphere.

Instead, start listening to the concerns of the thousands of Albertans showing up on your doorstep and begin addressing their concerns.

rally2016 (27 of 42)

At least 2300 people gather at the steps of the Alberta Legislature on Saturday for the Parents for Choice in Education peaceful rally.

rally2016 (9 of 42)

Calgary march

At least 2000 people march through downtown Calgary following the Parents for Choice in Education rally at the McDougall Centre.

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10 comments

  1. Geoff Aucoin (@gaucoin13)

    I stopped reading after “Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) does not oppose or support Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in schools,” why would you have a rally if you don’t have a position on it? Why rally against a bill that supports GSA’s but not have the courage to support or oppose what the bill stands for? Realistically, how does this bill affect you at all?

    Like

    • informedalbertans

      Parents for Choice in Education has been very clear on its position, for those willing to actually read it.
      That said, I would suggest the challenge you have communicated has less to do with PCE’s position, and more to do with an unwillingness to read the information provided.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Leah

      Geoff, the rally was against the removal of parental rights in the AB school systems. You asked how this bill effects the 4400 people that took part in this rally. Like most people you only know Bill 10 to be about the LGBT movement. You should take the time to look into this especially if you have or are going to have children. It’s so sad that most believe this bill to be only about the LGBT because the fact that parents no longer have any say in their children’s education is by far more important. PS you just stopped reading the article to soon 🙂

      Like

  2. mstacey16

    My letter, with respect, that I wrote to Ms. Jansen:

    Hello Ms. Jansen:

    I am emailing you today to express my concern and shock in regards to your Twitter comments made regarding the recent rallies supporting Parental Choice in Education.

    Not only did your comments completely miss the point of the rally (which was not to debate the human rights of those who identify as transgendered), but then to completely alienate and vilify close to 4000 Albertans and their families, on the basis of misinformation given to you by a secondary source over unreliable social media, is asinine. As a Provincial politician, I would expect that you would uphold a more rigorous standard for vetting the content of your comments on social media before posting, and investigate both the source of the information and the alleged “hate” before passing judgement. Your position is an influential one, and as a 23 year old recent Bachelor of Science graduate, I would honestly expect more professionalism and impartiality from my elected officials before labeling a group “hateful” who’s motives you couldn’t even be bothered to investigate before spreading the “misinformation” you claim to be wrong.

    Now, let me set the record straight on my end. I voted PC in the first provincial election I was eligible for at age 18, and my family voted PC steadfastly for 3 generations, until recently. Unfortunately, your party continues to move in a direction which I cannot support. A direction which continues to cater to “progressive” rhetoric, and a direction which erodes both the fiscal and social policies that made this province a beacon in an otherwise dark world.

    It’s quite humorous to me, actually, that you claim any sort of alliance to a conservative moniker, when the very nature of your statements moves towards an ideology which has long abandoned that of conventional (and healthy) societal norms, which include abandoning the rights of parents to be informed about their child’s struggles within the public school system and be the sole decision maker for their child’s well-being.

    Funnily enough, the very nature of the rally that you so egregiously vilified with your comments sought to preserve the very institutions that remain in the sphere of conservatism – the rights of the parent to their child. Let me put it plainly – your party long ago abandoned any sort of fiscal conservatism, as we are all well aware, and really, the only conservative part of your party left over was the preservation of tried and tested conservative elements of social policy – again, the United Nations enshrined rights of the parent to be the sole caregiver and provider for decisions surrounding their child. I guess I know where the PC’s stand on this issue. Maybe you should ask your interim party leader, the Honorable Ric McIver, where he stands on this issue. I guarantee it’s not where you seem to stand.

    Bottom line, this is what the rally was about. Give back the rights of parents to determine the best practices for their children, rather than allowing the education system to begin subscribing to the dangerous ideology of the NDP government and “popular culture” that vilifies any sort of opposition to the “transgender movement.” It’s not about “bathrooms” – the movement on Saturday was about the erosion of parental rights.

    Transgender adults have the same rights as you and I, enshrined in our constitution since before you and I were both born. Parents of children that are struggling with their gender identity have a God-given and United Nations- granted right to be informed and consulted when their children are struggling with gender identity issues. They do not need to have their government’s permission to decide what information is disseminated to them about their child’s gender identity struggles, through the voice of the government via the state educational institutions.

    That, Ms. Jansen, is a true violation of human rights.

    That is what one member who spoke at our Calgary rally escaped communist China for. If you were at the rally in person, rather than hearing about it through the grapevine of social media, you would have heard his testimony. You have a responsibility to stop this erosion of rights as a legislative member of a conservative party that stands for the freedom of the individual, and the sanctity of the family unit, which is being attacked by the New Democrats at this point in time.

    Unless, you don’t believe in the right to determine your own child’s education, and the information they learn about as they form their world-views. If that’s the case, I challenge you to stop representing the PC party and cross the floor to the New Democrats. At least then, you would be honest in your convictions, and your constituents would know where you stand on this issue.

    That’s a move I could respect.

    With respect,

    Mike Stacey

    Liked by 4 people

    • Ron Voss

      Well said Mike! Great analysis of Ms. Jansen’s stand and the sorry state of the Progressive Conservative Party.

      Like

  3. Free Alberta

    Is Sandra Jansen actually PC or she got paid by the NDP/liberals to defeat the PC from within? Alberta needs a party that stands for families, freedom of speech and economic development. People like Sandra Jansen reminds me of communism and dictatorship. As long as she is PC there will no opposition to NDP and liberals. Similar to Bill 10, she eliminates choice from the party equation. Thanks PCE and Theresa for standing up for Alberta and our future (our children)

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Ron Voss

    Sandra Jansen’s tweets come as NO surprise, particularly as opposition to Bill 10 is singled out by PCE, and a call for its amendment was prevalent at the May 14th rally. Remember that Sandra Jansen was the sponsor of Bill 10 and, thus, to some extent, Bill 10 is ‘her baby’. Here is an excerpt from the Alberta legislature’s Hansard for March 10, 2015 when she rose to move third reading of Bill 10: “I’m rising to move third reading of Bill 10, An Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect our Children, and it feels very good to say that right now…I’m so proud today to be asking for the support of the House for this amended bill…The work we have done here today makes three things very clear about GSAs: that, first of all, students who want a GSA in this province have every right to have a GSA, that that GSA has to be in their school, and that it has to be under the name of their choosing. Mr. Speaker, it was more than a year and a half ago when I became associate minister of family and community safety, and LGBTQ issues were in my mandate. That’s when I met Dr. Kristopher Wells, who is in our audience right now and who has been an amazing support to me on this issue….That is why they’re so important. A lot of these kids don’t get that support at home. They will get that support in a GSA, and I’m so proud to be able to say that every child in this province who wants one can have one. You know, Bill 10 in its entirety represents a huge step forward for LGBTQ rights in this province with respect to gay-straight alliances, and that is something that I have stood for in my career proudly. The bill enhances the Alberta Bill of Rights by ensuring that no Albertan will be subject to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The fact that we are able to talk about those things right now is a wonderful moment in this province in terms of social justice…As those in this room and across the province know, I have been a forceful advocate for LGBTQ citizens. I think it’s a hugely important issue for us. I was proud to steward the removal of the preamble to the Marriage Act that states that marriage is between a man and a woman. We are a progressive, conservative province, (WE ARE?) and I am proud that we are, and this shows that we are…I want to thank the Member for Edmonton-Centre (Liberal Party MLA Laurie Blakeman) because she has done a fantastic and forceful job on this issue… I know that we still have work today going forward on all the inclusive issues in this province that we want to work on.”

    Recall, as well, her April 6th, 2016 response to Minister Eggen’s Ministerial Statement. The following is a transcript of excerpts of what she said: “I rise to recognize the fact that this province has never been more proudly inclusive…As Associate Minister of Family and Community Safety, I was honored to preside over the raising of the pride flag for the first time at the legislature. I was also pleased to bring forward the Relationship Statutes and Vital Statistics Act removing the preamble to the Marriage Act that states that marriage is between a man and a woman. And removing the onus to be 50% of the way through gender reassignment surgery in order to get the sex changed on your birth certificate. I want to send out a particular thank you to our Education Minister. You have been incredibly inclusive and thank you for including us in the discussion about the LGBTQ guidelines (NOTE THAT THE PCs PARTICIPATED IN SHAPING THE TRANSGENDER GUIDELINES!). The progress that has been made on these guidelines is a great start. There is still however work to be done…The Progressive Conservatives (THUS SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE PCs) support the guidelines. We offer our full support and guidance to the government to get this task done. And lastly our deepest thanks to the many advocates in the LGBTQ community…We stand side by side with you now and in the future to ensure that the human rights afforded to every Albertan are your rights too.” Listening to Sandra Jansen speaking on behalf of the PC Party offering “full support” for the ‘guidelines’ shows how much the lines between the two parties, PC and NDP, have been blurred, if not eliminated. The possibility of the PCs and Wildrose merging as a ‘conservative’ party should be out of the question!

    So, no surprise regarding her tweets. A May 1st, Calgary Herald article announcing that Sandra Jansen is contemplating a bid for leadership of the Progressive Conservative party indicated that “She has been an advocate for defining the Tory party as ‘socially progressive’ and ‘fiscally conservative’.” In other words, a half-baked conservative party that even has abandoned any sort of fiscal conservatism which will gain no benefit from bowing to political correctness. Why would people vote for the wannabe ‘progressives’ when they can vote for the real deal with the NDP and the Liberals? Sadly, Alberta at this time has no political party clearly declaring that it stands for parental rights in education.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Bill

    it is not YOUR Alberta ms. jansen. and you are a fake conservative, a con that is, so good luck in leadership bid.

    Like

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