My blog post yesterday regarding Ms Jansen’s recent Twitter comments was not inflammatory or accusatory. I simply shared information that had already been posted publicly and requested clarification regarding her remarks.
Explanation is the very least that is owed to the people of Alberta when a person entrusted with a position of public office, whose salary is funded through taxapayer dollars, chooses to brand tens of thousands of Albertans as misinformed, fearful and intolerant.
I continue to await Ms Jansen’s timely response clearly demonstrating how she came to her conclusion.
In the meantime, I know she has been inundated with many emails and phone calls from those who supported the PCE rallies. Several people have shared their responses with me and I would like to post two of them publicly.
According to Twitter remarks generated by my blog post shortly after it was posted, Ms Jansen assured people she has listened.
Hopefully her listening continues… because there are a lot of Albertans who have something to say.
May 16, 2016
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 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 “intolerant” 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.
May 17, 2016
Dear Ms. Jansen,
I am writing you this email to address your public comments made on Twitter. Specifically:
“The misinformation presented there is undeniably sad. Fear and intolerance have no place in my Alberta.” in response to a tweet by Progress Alberta, and
“This. A thousand times!!!” in response to another tweet by Richard Einarsenwho which suggests that the people who attended the rally do not view LGBTQ people as full and equal citizens.
I attended the rally in Edmonton with my wife and two children. I am a professional engineer, she is a family doctor. Our two sons are 10 and 8. It was peaceful and respectful, and dominated by families.
What was not peaceful and respectful was the behaviour of the counter-demonstrators. They heckled, they shouted down speakers, and they repeatedly cursed the crowd. I was near the front with my kids, and thankfully they were oblivious to the constant use of the F-word in our direction. At no time did the Sheriffs have to step in and remove participants attending the rally, but they repeatedly had to remove or talk to the counter-demonstrators.
Secondly, the Tweet from Progress Alberta regarding “luring” was taken out of context. The speaker at the rally has 5 children, 3 of which are Autistic, and he was discussing the disproportionate attention given to transgender kids (who number 1 in 35,000) while not enough is being done for the 1 in 10 children with disabilities. His concern was that an Autistic child, who typically is far more impressionable than a non-Autistic child, would join a club and be open to suggestions about their sexuality and gender identity, without their parents’ knowledge. This is a pragmatic issue, and worthy of a thoughtful response.
This entire thing could be ended by the government if they simply would pass a motion that affirms that parents, when providing a loving and nurturing home, know what is best for their children. And this extends to education. The Alberta PC Party, of which you are a member, introduced a private members motion urging the government to affirm parental rights in deciding what kind of education is best for their children – be it public, private, or home schooling. This was gutted by an NDP amendment that affirmed that choice in education is the government’s prerogative, not parents. My father is a concentration camp survivor. My mother’s side hid resistance workers during the Second World War. They have both lived in times when governments controlled what people believed, especially through education. This is why the UN Declaration of Rights confirms the rights of parents to choose their children’s education, so that governments are forced to relinquish the ability to indoctrinate the population. And this is what the rally on May 14 was about.
As an elected politician, you are not just the representative of LGBTQ constituents, but of cultural and religious groups that do not share the same ideas of what constitutes healthy sexuality. Your tweets are insensitive, as they call the very people you represent as intolerant. Thus, people have good reason to be fearful. If you truly believe in tolerance, you will foster an environment where Albertans are free to express their beliefs without their elected representatives resorting to name calling on social media.
Benjamin van den Berg