RED DEER, Alberta, November 30, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – An Albertan politician recently slammed homeschoolers on CBC’s program The Current, calling one homeschool group “anti-gay” and spreading “misinformation to move a political agenda.”
Kent Hehr, who is the Liberal MLA for Calgary Buffalo and education critic for his party, wrote in a letter to the Calgary Herald last week that the new Education Act carves out “an exception” for homeschoolers and suggesting that Alberta’s Human Rights Act should have been included in the province’s Education Act so that homeschooling parents would not be allowed to teach their children that “being gay is a sin”.
The following is the the Alberta Home Education Association’s response to Hehr, which the Calgary Herald refused to publish, according to spokesperson Paul van den Bosch.
To the Editor:
Kent Hehr, the education critic for the Alberta Liberals, continues to try to make political points on the backs of home educators. In his November 20th letter to the Calgary Herald as well as in a recent CBC interview, Mr. Hehr broadbrushes home educators as intolerant and as people who want ‘an exception’ so that parents can teach discrimination.
Mr. Hehr wants to have the right to say we are wrong, but doesn’t want home educators to have the same right.
He needs to look in the mirror, for the person who is intolerant in this discussion is Mr. Hehr, and the position he advocates is discriminatory (special rights for some but not all), anti-family (parents can’t be trusted to teach their children in their homes), and anti-religion (if a religion teaches something is a sin then that religion must be stopped).
In fact, if we carry his arguments to their logical conclusion, Mr. Hehr is advocating a position that gives freedom to one group - progressive liberals like himself - but not to any other group. But freedom for only some is not freedom; it is either tyranny or slavery.
Perhaps if Mr. Hehr were to reread the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms he would come to a more enlightened position, since the Charter guarantees the free expression of thought, belief, opinion and expression, and the free exercise of religion too.
Mr. Hehr states that home educators are wrong based on his assumptions but I can state, based on personal observation of over 400 home educating families, that home educators are tolerant and respectful people and they don’t teach discrimination.
Mr. Hehr may disagree, and he is free to do so, since this is - for now - a free country. If he simply disagrees, I should point out that he is not being discriminatory. Disagreement does not equal discrimination, nor does it equal disrespect or intolerance.
You see, home educating parents don’t want any ‘exception’, we just want freedom to teach according to our own beliefs and not according to some “one-size-fits-all” moral code (which is what the Alberta Human Rights Act would have required if made part of the new Education Act).
The new Education Act is not only good for home educating parents, it is good for all Alberta parents. That includes liberal - and Liberal - parents too.
Paul van den Bosch
Alberta Home Education Association