This May, my vote will go to the party that is looking to our future instead of our past, is willing to adapt to the social and economic ideals that are moving us forward and ensures our province will be ready for the world yet to come.
CONSERVATIVES, PROGRESSIVES CLASH ON FREE SPEECH
A UCP-government initiative to protect free speech on university campuses is satisfying conservatives but riling the NDP opposition as well as students, who would rather see the provincial government focus on “real issues” like quality education and job creation.
UCP leader Danielle Smith stoked the debate – Alberta’s take on the culture wars playing out across North America – when in her mandate letter last November she asked Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides to ensure “post-secondary institutions are adequately protecting the academic freedom and free speech of students and faculty.”
In February, Nicolaides said he would introduce free-speech report cards, which will require all 26 post-secondary schools in Alberta to adhere to the Chicago Principles on free expression and to develop policy in support of it. “My priority is to work with our institutions to develop the report cards in such a manner that it doesn’t add a significant amount of additional red tape, and that helps to provide clear, simple and transparent information to the public about how individual institutions are doing,” he said.
The report cards would help monitor the effectiveness of free speech policies developed by different institutions and include penalties for failing to meet the province’s standards, Nicolaides said.
The UCP initiative coincided with the cancellation of a speaking event featuring former Mount Royal University professor Frances Widdowson at the University of Lethbridge, after a large student protest. She was fired from Mount Royal in 2021 after questioning ‘woke’ policies at universities as well as the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s labelling of residential schools as an act of genocide.
NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Widdowson’s speech would have been an exception to free speech principles. “The idea of having someone come and speak at the university, particularly in Lethbridge, to a student body that consists of many Indigenous students about how they somehow benefited from residential schools, is deeply troubling to me.”
She also tweeted about the report-card initiative: “This is not about free speech on campus – we already have free speech. This is the UCP dictating that universities and colleges owe everyone, including hate groups, a platform.”
According to Nicole Schmidt, president of the University of Calgary Students’ Union, Alberta’s post-secondaries do not have a free speech problem – but could use protections from pro-life activists who harass students on campus.
“The minister should be focusing on real issues like affordability, food security, student unemployment and quality of education, rather than this constructed free speech issue,” Schmidt said.
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Polity V1 is our first commercial product, deployed for the first time in the Alberta 2023 Provincial Election. We have refined our previous design, enhanced our functionality, and invested in new technologies.
The Millennial voting block (ages 26 – 41) is the largest and most powerful in the coming Alberta 2023 election. We have grown up enough, and have enough irons in the fire, that we will show up at the polls on election day.
This Issue deals with the following Policy Cards
Policy Cards are policy action items that voters want the candidates to support if they’re elected. Tell the candidates which policies you support by voting on the Policy Cards!
Fight for Gender Equality
Fight Against Cancel Culture
Fight Against Cancel Culture
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