Notwithstanding serious concerns raised about Collin May’s past praise for a tendentious book denigrating the Islamic faith, the United Conservative Party Government proceeded on Thursday with his controversial appointment as chief of the Alberta Human Rights Commission.
The Calgary lawyer who served as a human rights tribunal member for three years was appointed to a five-year term as the commission’s chief by Justice Minister Tyler Shandro despite the public revelation on July 7 of his 2009 book review in a right-wing online magazine in which he expressed views that should have disqualified him from any role on the commission, let alone as its chief.
According to a statement sent by justice minister’s office to The Progress Report when its reporter asked about Mr. May’s book review in C2C Journal, Mr. Shandro didn’t agree with the soon-to-be-appointed human rights chief’s publicly expressed opinions. Mr. Shandro has not had anything more to say on the topic.
At the same time, Mr. May sent a not-very-reassuring statement to The Progress Report about his 2009 review – which has been sitting in plain sight on the C2C Journal website for 13 years. In it, he said he has changed his views about Islam and Muslims. He too has not been heard from since.
It is unknown whether Mr. May’s past literary efforts were simply missed in the vetting process for his new job, if any, or if they were ignored.
Regardless, the only official mention of the man since then was a message on the commission’s website last Wednesday by departing commission chief Kathryn Oviatt that concluded, “I will pass the baton to Collin May on July 14, and trust that he will uphold these principles as he leads the Commission into the next chapter.”
Meanwhile, when the CBC finally got around to reporting the story yesterday, rather like the proverbial farmer who remembered to shut the barn door after the horse had gone, both Messrs. Shandro and May declined to be interviewed.
Instead of talking to the CBC’s reporter, Mr. Shandro’s press secretary trotted out what appeared to be the same statement used before Mr. May’s appointment.
As for Mr. May, he didn’t speak about his past publicly expressed opinions on the fatuous grounds passed on by a commission functionary, as described by the CBC reporter, that the commission’s “policy mandate prevents a chief from giving media interviews in order to maintain neutrality, given the nature of the position.”
This is obviously preposterous. Mr. May was not being asked to comment on a complaint before the commission, but to speak to his own suitability for the job in light of his past statements that can fairly be described as Islamophobic and offensive.
Rather like Mr. Shandro’s office, the commission passed on Mr. May’s July 7 statement.
So now that it has had almost nothing to say on this topic, we can assume the UCP Government will have nothing more to say.
We’re No. 1! Just not in a good way …
No one should be surprised by the revelation the Kenney Government appeared mainly to be motivated by a desire to be the first Canadian jurisdiction to drop COVID-19 mitigation measures rather than the health and wellbeing of the province’s population.
This information is found in documents ordered made public by a judge in a suit brought by the Alberta Federation of Labour and the parents of five immunocompromised children challenging the government’s decision to remove the school mask mandate and block schools from developing their own masking policies.
A Feb. 8 slide presentation prepared for Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw, one of the documents the government fought hard to keep confidential on grounds of cabinet secrecy, was pretty clearly tilted in favour of lifting the restrictions as soon as possible.
“Embedded in what I would expect to be a scientific discussion were considerations around political concerns and economic concerns,” University of Calgary health law professor Lorian Hardcastle told the CBC. “One of the ‘pros’ listed in this presentation was to have Alberta be a leader in reopening.”
“That has nothing to do with science.” She observed. “That’s politics.”
Joe Anglin, former Wildrose MLA, vows to appeal dismissal of lawsuit against Elections Alberta
A judge may have tossed out his lawsuit saying Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer maliciously prosecuted him for a minor election sign infraction, but former MLA Joe Anglin has vowed to continue his Quixotic seven-year fight come what may.
Mr. Anglin, renowned for his colourful stories about his experiences as a United States Marine and his often bumpy political career in Alberta, was ordered last week by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Michael Lema to pay Elections Alberta’s costs in his long battle against a $250 fine levied after the 2015 election for having print that was too small on his election signs.
The judge indicated he thought Mr. Anglin was abusing the legal process.
But the former Wildrose Party and Independent MLA for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre, who was seeking $2.2 million in damages, said he intends to appeal.
Mr. Anglin trained as a lawyer at a U.S. institution after his term ended in 2015 with the election of his former constituency staffer, Jason Nixon, as the riding’s Wildrose MLA. Mr. Nixon is now the finance minister in Jason Kenney’s UCP government.