June 14, 2017
Dear Brian Jean,
On June 5th, 2017 I had the honour of being introduced in the Legislative Assembly by MLA Leela Aheer, Education Critic for the Wildrose.
The purpose of my visit was to witness the tabling of the hundreds of personally written and signed letters from across the province voicing concerns about the sexually graphic material that was found on a government-funded website for K-12 children.
But unfortunately those letters were not tabled.
Despite my immediate request that MLA Leela Aheer provide a public explanation as to why she reversed her commitment at the last possible moment, I have still not received a reply.
Furthermore, based on details regarding the documents which were tabled that day, there are concerns regarding inaccuracies which now exist in the official public record of the Legislative Assembly.
Given the gravity of the original concerns regarding sexually graphic material being provided to K-12 children, and now questions regarding misrepresentation of these concerns in the public record, I appeal to you to take further action.
Inaccuracies in the public record
According to page 50 of the official record from the Legislative Assembly, here is what MLA Leela Aheer tabled instead of the 700 individual letters that were originally promised:
Based on the above description, there are four critical questions which must be addressed:
1. My online change.org petition includes 2, 560 names as of today, June 14th, 2017. Yet MLA Aheer claims that she tabled a list of 2, 700 names over a week ago. Where did the extra 140 names come from?
2. Why did MLA Aheer decide to withhold the actual text of the petition and submit only the list of names to the public record?
There certainly aren’t any legislative rules that deem online petition text inadmissible as a document. In fact, only 6 days prior, the official records indicate that text from a different change.org petition was officially tabled on May 30th:
3. The official record states that the list of names supported an online petition “related to the Kindergarten to Grade 12 curriculum re-write”. However, that description misrepresents the primary purpose of the petition signed by these 2, 560 people.
A more accurate summary would be “an online petition requesting Hon Mr. David Eggen, Minister of Education, to ensure accountability for organizations that directed children to sexually graphic material found on a government recommended website.”
Most troubling is that without the text of the petition submitted alongside the names, this inaccuracy can never be verified by the public record. How is it that an MLA can be permitted to submit a description to an official public record on behalf of thousands of Albertans that fundamentally misrepresents their concerns?
4. The official records state that only 5 letters were tabled “expressing concern over sexually graphic material linked from the Alberta.” Unfortunately, this number represents only 0.7% of the total letters photocopied and provided to MLA Aheer that she had committed to table that day. What about the other 695 Albertans whose letters were not submitted? On what basis were 5 deemed acceptable and the hundreds of others ignored?
These inaccuracies are an affront to the thousands of Albertans from across the province who signed the petition and wrote and mailed personal letters because they fundamentally misrepresent their concerns.
On behalf of these citizens, I respectfully insist that you:
1. Provide specific public answers to the first three questions I have asked regarding the inaccuracies in the documents which were tabled.
2. Personally speak to MLA Aheer and ensure she provides a public explanation as to why she did not follow-through on her commitment to table all the personally written letters that were mailed from across the province. Why only 5 letters and not the other 695?
3. Rectify the public record to ensure that the numbers and summary of the petition are corrected. If possible, ensure that the text of the petition is also attached and included with the list of names.
“On Your Side”?
Recently you have launched a new website to campaign for Premier.
Does your slogan “on your side” apply to the thousands of Albertans who have had their signatures publicly mispresented in the public record? And what about the hundreds of people who invested significant time and effort to write and mail personal letters of concern, 99.3% whose voices have now been ignored and dismissed by your party? Are you really on their side?
Why is it that you publicly supported the Wildrose being represented at the Pride Run and Walk event this past weekend, knowing this event specifically raised money to support iSMSS– the same organization which directed children to links for sex toys, BDSM and advice to pay for pornography?
Today you publicly denounced your own members for what you deemed “hateful and intolerant” comments. Will you also publicly denounce the individuals and organizations who unapologetically provided sexually graphic material to school children?
Your website says “In the midst of unprecedented challenges facing Albertans, Brian has always had our back.”
However, the question must be asked: do you actually have the backs of thousands of citizens who are deeply concerned for the safety and care of children in schools?
If so, then I invite you to showcase your leadership capabilities and demonstrate through meaningful action that you will resolve these profoundly important questions and concerns and demonstrate your care for the safety of children in this province.
Please provide a written response prior to June 21st, addressed to the thousands of Albertans who signed the petition and wrote letters, that explains why their voices of concern are not being accurately represented and addressed by your party in our Legislative Assembly.
Your letter will be posted publicly on my blog and change.org petition in order to inform Albertans of your response.
Thank you for your time.
Theresa Ng, on behalf of concerned citizens across the province of Alberta