Local Wildrose president under fire for comments on GSA's and residential schools

By James Wood
April 11, 2017 - 10:38am Updated: April 11, 2017 - 7:19pm

 

The President of the Medicine Hat Wildrose Constituency association is facing a social media backlash, after comparing government action on gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in the Alberta school system to dark periods of Canadian history.

In a Facebook post made on April 4, 2017, Maureen Prince expresses support for the stance taken by Alberta's Progressive Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney on GSAs, in which parents would be informed when their children join the clubs.

In her post, Prince expressed doubts that a teacher would know better than a child's parent, and "That a 5 year old is capable of making life altering choices without parental support."

"Unless a parent is grossly negligent, a parent is always the best advocate for their child. Always," reads Prince's post.

"Good for you Jason Kenney for being a voice of reason in a supercilious policy. Keep standing up for children and helping parents continue to provide the best care for their children. To those who disagree with Kenney, take a look at history... when has the government done better than a parent? How did the native schools turn out? Yup, that was the government telling us they knew best. How about sterilizing handicapped people? Yup, another brilliant government idea. Capable parents are everywhere, give them some credit!"

The post then links to an article describing the disagreement between Kenney and Wildrose leader Brian Jean on the matter.

Since the post was made to Prince's Facebook page, a growing reaction has been expressing anger with Prince's choice of comparison. Commenters have described her choice as "insensitive" and "outright cruel".

CHAT TV reached out to both Prince and Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes for comment on the post.

In response to the request for comment, the Wildrose Party supplied the following statement from Barnes, which did not specifically address the comments made by Prince. “I believe that every single child has the right to an education in a safe and caring learning environment and this principle should guide the conversations we have on this issue. I also understand the desire of parents to have a paramount role in the lives of their children. As our party believes, parents are the child’s first teachers, and are the primary decision-makers for their children’s education. The buttons that were provided to me by a constituent yesterday reflect this principle. I do understand that some of the rhetoric currently brought to this debate is not helpful and lacks perspective. The bottom line is that parents need to be respected as partners as policy makers work to ensure the safety and security of children in the school environment.” Deputy Premier and Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman is criticizing the Facebook post made by Prince. She said the juxtaposition between 'creating safe spaces for children' in schools and residential schools was inappropriate. “I think to say that that is the same as residential schools where children were stripped from their culture and from their communities who often faced physical assault, sexual assault, loss of language and culture, I think it shows just how out of touch some of the leaders of the Wildrose party [are], including this riding association president,” said Hoffman.

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