Essay awarded by Alberta government says immigration is ‘cultural suicide’, women are unequal to men

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The Alberta Legislative Building in Edmonton, 2019.CANDACE ELLIOTT/Reuters

The Alberta legislature has awarded an essay that equates immigration with “cultural suicide” and argued that women are “not exactly equal” to men in a contest defended and judged by an MP who is now the province’s Associate Minister for the Status of Women.

The competition, led by Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk of the United Conservative Party, was open to Alberta women between the ages of 17 and 25. He encouraged participants to describe their vision for the province and to detail what they would do as members of the provincial legislature. When the competition was announced in February, a press release said Ms. Armstrong-Homeniuk and a panel of female MPs would act as judges.

Ms Armstrong-Homeniuk released two statements on Tuesday, first saying only that the essay should not have been chosen, then a follow-up where she took responsibility for her selection as the winner. Neither explained how it happened or said who else was on the jury.

The third-place essay, which focused on women’s ability to give birth, proposed rewarding Alberta women for their “reproductive service” with money and medals for those who had multiple children, echoing a policy of the Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union.

“While it’s sadly popular these days to think that the world would be better off without humans, or that Albertan children aren’t needed because we can import foreigners to replace us, it’s a sick mentality that amounts to a surge of cultural suicide,” the essay said, adding that the “first rule of health” for any population is to reproduce.

The top three entries in the competition, entitled Her Vision Inspires, were posted on the Legislative Assembly’s website. It is unclear when the trials went live; they were withdrawn on Monday night after opposition New Democratic Party MP Janis Irwin drew attention to third place.

The essay said that “women are not exactly equal to men”, which its author described as a “biological reality” that was under attack. He also argued that it is harmful to encourage women to take up traditionally male-dominated careers, as it takes away from women’s role in the “preservation of our community, our culture and our species”.

The third-place essayist received $200 in merchandise from the Legislative Gift Shop, according to contest rules. The winning entries were identified by initial and last name.

Ms. Armstrong-Homeniuk announced the competition in her capacity as Alberta’s representative to the Commonwealth Women’s Parliamentarians Division in Canada. Premier Jason Kenney named the backbencher to the post of minister associated with the status of women in a cabinet shuffle in June that filled vacancies created by those who signed up for the leadership race. the PCU.

In a statement Tuesday morning, Ms Armstrong-Homeniuk said the essay did not represent her views and should not have been chosen. Hours later, his office released a second statement, noting that some of his colleagues had raised concerns with him about how the trial might win an award.

“I do not support rhetoric that in any way diminishes the importance and contributions of more than half of the people of Alberta,” the revised statement reads. “It is clear that the process has failed, and I apologize for my role in it. The selection of this particular essay and its awarding of third prize was a failure on my part as head of the jury.

No New Democrat MPs participated in the judgment, according to Rakhi Pancholi, spokesperson for children’s services. The UCP caucus women did not respond to questions from The Globe and Mail about their involvement, although three caucus women vying to replace Mr Kenney commented on the controversy on Twitter.

“It’s a shame that an essay arguing that women are not equal to men has won a government-sponsored award,” wrote Rebecca Schulz, one of the UCP leadership candidates. “Women and their contributions are just as precious and amazing whether we are moms or not.”

Rajan Sawhney, another leadership challenger, added: “The same goes for comments about ‘outsiders’. Alberta is the proud home of people from all over the world – from Ukraine to the Philippines and everywhere in between.

Leela Aheer, who is also up for leadership, said the top two tries were “awesome” but she’s unsure how the third “elevates” women.

Mr. Kenney’s office did not respond to questions about the competition and the fallout.

The contest was organized by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. The Office of the Legislative Assembly issued a statement on behalf of Nathan Cooper, the Speaker, denouncing the third-place listing. “The content is abhorrent and does not reflect the views of the Speaker or the Legislative Assembly Office,” the statement said, noting that the Speaker had the contest page removed immediately upon being informed of the substance of the essay. third place.

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