Ric McIver Stumbles…the PC Party Falls

“Closed-mindedness or intolerance have no place in the PC [party].” —The PC party’s response to Ric McIver’s participation in the March for Jesus led by anti-gay pastor Artur Pawlowski.

Instead of belabouring Ric McIver’s pathetic too-little, too-late apology for participating in last Sunday’s March for Jesus (led by Pastor Pawlowski who says gays are agents for Satan) let’s focus on the Progressive Conservative Party’s response to Mr McIver’s participation in this appalling spectacle.

Artur Pawloski

On Monday PC party president, Jim McCormick, shot out a statement saying “individual members…are expected to follow our statement of principles, which includes that of being an open party that’s accessible to all Albertans.”

Well, a certain “individual member” who happens to be running for the leadership of the party did not follow PC principles and Mr McCormick, who was quick to smack down a sitting premier, Alison Redford, is doing absolutely nothing about it.

On Wednesday, Premier Dave Hancock characterized Mr McIver’s participation as oversight. “Sometimes we don’t necessarily get all the background on things, and I won’t chastise anybody for something they may have done not having the full picture”. He urged leadership candidates “to be careful how you associate, because people will make assumptions that you can’t control”.*

Not having the full picture….? Mr McIver participated in the Walk for Jesus for four years. It defies reason that he was not aware of Pastor Pawlowski’s homophobic views.

What did they talk about as they marched down the street arm in arm…the Pope? No wait, Pope Francis said “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge him?”**The weather? Well okay, maybe the weather. Pastor Pawlowski did say the 2013 flood was caused by God “weeping for the perversions of homosexuality”.***

Trust me, Albertans have “the full picture” and it isn’t pretty.

Let’s review.

PC’s “support” of LGBTQ Albertans

The PC government made it crystal clear that it would not protect the rights of LGBTQ students when it refused to support a motion put forward by Liberal MLA, Kent Hehr. Motion 503 would have required school boards to support LGBTQ students with policies that allowed students to create gay-straight alliances. NOTE: Mr Lukaszuk voted in favour of Mr Hehr’s motion. Mr McIver and Mr Hancock were absent.

Ric McIver

Much to the PC’s surprise, the government’s Neanderthal response to this motion created an immediate backlash. In an effort at damage control Justice Minister Denis (who was photographed with Pastor Pawlowski in 2012) quickly rolled out a one-time grant from the Civil Forfeiture Fund—a grand total of $76,250—to the Edmonton Pride Centre for a mentoring project to encourage LGBTQ youth to avoid a life of crime by developing relationships with LGBTQ adults who would help them develop safe and positive community connections. The program expires in 2 years.

So the PC party message is this: It has no issues with MLAs who support anti-gay ministries. Remember it green-lighted Mr McIver’s nomination when he ran in Calgary-Hays, by then he’d already participated in at least one March for Jesus, and looked the other way when he continued to do so. It responded only after the issue exploded in the twittersphere. It whitewashed Mr McIver’s participation as an oversight. And it will allow Mr McIver to continue his bid for leadership of the PC party which means it is prepared to take the risk that Mr McIver will be sitting in the premier’s office this fall.  

But this should be of no concern to the LGBTQ community because the PC government has given the Edmonton Pride Centre $76,250 (!!)

Frankly this makes Danielle Smith’s decision not to dump MLA candidate Alan Hunsperger—who said gays and lesbians are doomed to an eternal “lake of fire” unless they changed their sexual orientation—look like an administrative hiccup.

Gay rights in the 21st century

Lord John Browne

The corporate world has embraced gay rights. Over 90% of Fortune 500 companies have policies against homophobic discrimination.****Employees who violate these policies are disciplined or terminated. Lord Browne, former CEO of BP, who kept his homosexuality hidden for decades, says this is good business—firms that embrace gay rights will win the war for talent by being able to attract gay employees as well as gay-friendly employees.  Firms that don’t will be left in the dust.

The same principle applies in government. So why did Premier Hancock make feeble excuses for Mr McIver and why did the PC party allow Mr McIver to stay in the leadership race?

Two possible reasons: One, the PC party knows that Mr McIver reflects the views of many PC members and prefers to tread softly rather than risk losing these members to the Wildrose. Two, the PC party thinks that keeping Mr McIver in the PC leadership race will split the “old guard” vote between Mr Lukaszuk and Mr McIver, thereby guaranteeing a win for Mr Prentice.

This is cynical and short sighted.  Refusing to remove Mr McIver from the leadership race confirmed something most of us suspected. The PC party will do whatever it takes to stay in power, including sacrificing the rights of LGBTQ Albertans.

Welcome to the dark ages.

*Calgary Herald, June 18, 2014, A5

**The Christian Post, online, Sept 19, 2013

***Calgary Herald, June 17, 2014, A4

****The Economist, May 31, 2014, 62


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10 Responses to Ric McIver Stumbles…the PC Party Falls

  1. champspersonaltraining says:

    Hello Susan, I am just astounded that individuals in positions of influence and power have such cave – man neanderthal attitudes with gay and lesbian people. We are ALL PEOPLE deserving of equal rights and we should not be punished for our sexual preference. And supposedly God’s weeping caused the 2013 flood???? I repeat, I’m astounded with this mentality. On Jun 22, 2014 10:46 AM, “Susan on the Soapbox” wrote:

    > susanonthesoapbox posted: ““Closed-mindedness or intolerance have no > place in the PC [party].” —The PC party’s response to Ric McIver’s > participation in the March for Jesus led by anti-gay pastor Artur > Pawlowski. Instead of belabouring Ric McIver’s pathetic too-little, > too-lat”

    • No kidding! Ric McIver has put himself in the position of having to prove he’s not a homophobe because he’s an idiot who didn’t do enough research on a group he’s been involved with for the last FOUR years. This is not the kind of man I want running my province and representing us to the world.

  2. Julie Ali says:

    Hi Susan,

    The only way I can understand Mr. McIver’s association with this pallid group of citizens is because he actually believes the schema being sprouted by them. I really doubt that he did not know about the views of this group.

    If he has been associating with this group for years, it is pretty hard for him to say that he did not read their literature, yap with the members, go on their website and try to find out their backbone beliefs. As a politician he is canny enough to get hired by citizens but not smart enough to do a search of a group he is associating with for years? I find this excuse very hard to believe. I mean you can easily ascertain the beliefs and positions of any group simply by going on the Internet,

    So it is very doubtful to me that Mr. McIver did not know of the homophobic views of this group. It also seems clear to me that this sort of stance in the world that is both unlawful and unethical is part of the Alberta landscape and has always been treated in a very forgiving way by the Tories and really everyone else. I am surprised by this sort of junk and the mellow responses of the Tories. Are they all mad? I mean they are all pandering to the irrational folks in Alberta and not the rational ones so I can only assume that the politicians are just as nutty as the folks they are pandering to. At all levels of government we have folks with derogatory,appeasing and frankly disgusting views of other human beings that not only impacts these folks emotionally and psychologically but also prevents them from participating in our society as free and full citizens.

    I believe that in rotten parts of Alberta we have school board members with these sorts of abhorrent views who may not openly espouse the sort of religious junk that interprets the bible in literal and frankly hateful terms, but still practice what the bible preaches in their votes and in their decisions within school systems. These school board members in my mind are in the wrong place because they are impacting the weakest and most vulnerable citizens –the children. But how to root them out?
    They obviously have a following.
    And they continue the pattern over generations— in Alberta of letting elected individuals as well as religious groups of speaking in discriminatory ways against the most vulnerable minority group in our society. This is all so wrong that I can’t see how any parent would shut up about it. Any school board trustee with Mr. McIver type views should be rooted out and dumped by the parents in their communities.

    The only way to stop this nonsense in the larger stage of our society— is to advertise the illegal stances of these public figures —and disagree with their espoused views or accidental associations.
    Mr. McIver seems like a nice guy.
    But he bit into the wrong apple on the dead tree of hate at the worst time in Tory politics.
    We are tired of the old school politicians. We won’t tolerate their intolerance. And we want them to get out of public office if they can’t control their inner demons.

    Public office requires intelligent, kind, inclusive and determined politicians.
    This is something we do not currently have in Alberta.
    We have folks trying to fool us into believing they are Wildrosie while in the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta like Mr. McIver. We have folks with hateful views. We have folks who are associating with hate groups. We have folks who support both these hate groups and the politicians associated with these hate groups. All of this is wrong. It is especially wrong for the temporary premier to weakly defend the McIver guy. He should have stomped down on this wormy junk but instead delivers his usual platitudes and maze of convoluted thoughts that make me wonder how this guy ever got elected. Was I that dumb to have voted for this sleazy chatter?
    We have the Hancock guy weakly trying to turn over the rotting log of the Tory party blaming the victims instead of the perpetrator of the offence in his usual slimy way:

    On Wednesday, Premier Dave Hancock characterized Mr McIver’s participation as oversight. “Sometimes we don’t necessarily get all the background on things, and I won’t chastise anybody for something they may have done not having the full picture”. He urged leadership candidates “to be careful how you associate, because people will make assumptions that you can’t control”.*
    How gentle of the temporary premier to characterize Mr. McIver’s hateful association as a sort of fly by night oversight. Mr. Hancock is wrong to do this sort of excuse making for the inexcusable behavior of Mr. McIver. There should have been boots on the rump of Mr. McIver but no, instead of the disciplinary action we get the chatter that citizens will take this sort of association the wrong way.
    Yes Mr. Hancock we will “make assumptions” that the Tory spin machine won’t be able to control and these assumptions generally turn out to be correct. The rotting log is full of insects.

    And of course you have the head honchos at the top of the pyramid of corruption in the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta—who are supposed to follow the laws of the land and yet, in my mind—seemingly only pay lip service to them in all the ways possible.

    These folks want to appeal to all the people in Alberta–the folks who hate homosexuals, the folks who don’t care and the folks who believe that there should be no discrimination -ever. These folks will say and do anything to stay in power–even pretend or be the Wildrosies. You gotta admire such tenacity –the oil monarchy is suddenly Arabic in its nature in Alberta.

    This last term in office of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta– has been very useful for ordinary Albertans.
    We finally get to see the extent of moral and economic corruption in this party of no good politicians. How did we get fooled for so long by such poor quality government employees?

    • Exactly! I googled “Artur Pawlowski” and got the link to his Street Church webpage. Right there on the first page it says “Due to Street Church’s stance on homosexuality, abortion and divorce the CRA revoked our charity status…” and goes on to ask for donations. it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Street Church is out of step with the law of the land on homosexuality, abortion and divorce. There are only two explanations: Mr McIver knew this or he and his people were too stupid to check it out. Neither is a palatable position for the man who aspires to be the next premier of Alberta.
      Premier Hancock’s attempt to whitewash the whole thing and the PC Party’s perfunctory statement to “individual members” to comply with party policy is shocking.
      As you said Julia, this last episode clearly demonstrates just how fall the PC Party has fallen from the party of Peter Lougheed. Shameful.

  3. Jane Walker says:

    Thanks, Susan, for another well-developed blog! You have quite simply brought out evidence that the Tories will will do and say anything to ensure that they are not derailed by principle but rather driven by their aspiration to survive at any price …. in order to continue on with their own ‘con’ agenda from behind closed doors.

    Julie has stated that “Public office requires intelligent, kind, inclusive and determined politicians.” Hmmm …. interesting concept! Hancock tries to play the part of “intelligent, kind, inclusive and determined politicians”. I am glad that there are people out there who are not ‘taken in’ because I have been wondering …. since he keeps on slithering through from election to election. Rudyard Kipling knew this man when he spoke of “bear[ing] to hear the truth you’ve spoken, twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools” …. I’ve watched Hancock do this for far too long!! Town halls, private meetings, conversations appealing to the wishes of the liberal citizens of our province …. any of these experiences will show that Hancock has smiled, nodded, shaken hands, implied promises … and gone away and made sure that there were moves that looked like ‘action’ and sounded liberal but would not interfere with the overall Tory strategic direction.

    I am weary of watching this performance but I am relieved to know that Hancock’s absence from the assembly at the time of the vote for ‘gay-straight alliance groups’ was not only noted but found its way to some aspects of media where it will be information for those who care. It’s recent and it’s blatant. It should ring bells …. I hope!

    • Jane, Dave Hancock is a classic PC. He points to the fact that he marched in Edmonton’s Pride parade and Redford marched in Calgary’s Pride parade as “proof” that the PC party supports the LGBTQ community. But when it really counts (ie the vote on motion 503) he’s absent from the Leg and a bunch of Tory MLAs join the Wildrose in voting the motion down. As they say—actions speak louder than words and the message doesn’t get any clearer than that!

  4. Thank you, Susan. My sentiments echo those of Jane Walker. – Velvet Martin, Spokesperson for Protecting Canadian Children, founder of Samantha’s Law

    • Thanks Velvet. I thought of you when the discussion turned to Dave Hancock. As you know only too well, Mr Hancock was Minister of Human Services when the media broke the story about the hundreds of children who died in care. He downplayed this shameful episode and when it became apparent that the government couldn’t sweep it under the carpet Redford moved him to another portfolio, replacing him with Manmeet Bhullar. In January Mr Bhullar sponsored a roundtable that was going to bring about greater transparency and accountability for child deaths in care, and yet now six months later another mother whose child who died in care is told she can’t disclose her name or her child’s name. If she does she could be sent to jail and fined $10,000. Nothing changed. Here’s the link. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/mother-of-girl-who-died-in-government-care-wants-names-published-1.2681855

  5. Carlos Beca says:

    Susan, your comment that the PC party will do anything to stay in power is what is behind this unclear position about the gay community. In fact they have more than one area where they really cannot define their poilicy at all, and they go with the prevailing wind. The only explanation I have for Mr. McCormick’s atittude is that deep inside he does not support gays, otherwise he would have reacted as fast as he did for Alison Redford. I am not sure what it is that makes these people so uncomfortable with two people loving each other and wanting to be together. Of course they always emphasize the sexual part of a gay relationship as if what they do with their spouses is the proper way of having sex. They should just request permission to go to an emergency room for a month and witness how inventive humans can be when it comes to sexual behaviour.
    I also agree with you that Mr. Hancock is just show off. When it comes to the real deal they are never available to vote.

    I hope Mr. Soapbox survived the train trip.

    • Carlos, Thomas Lukaszuk made this comment about Ric McIver’s association with Pastor Pawlowski. Lukaszuk said McIver’s “…affiliation with that group may have actually garnered some support in some quarters. There are those who actually believe in that, unfortunately.” We’ll get a good idea of just how many PC party members support Pastor Pawlowski’s views on Sept 8 when we see how many votes McIver racked up compared to Luzaszuk and Prentice. If there’s any justice in the world he should rank dead last.

      Thank you for asking about Mr Soapbox. He survived the train trip very well, but has made it crystal clear that if Ms Soapbox plans to ride the Trans-Siberian train she’ll be traveling solo. 🙂

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