Jonathon van Maren

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Alberta’s new conservative party votes to restore rights of parents over their children

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May 7, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – In a barn-burner speech to thousands of Albertans who gathered in Red Deer over the weekend to vote on the policy platform for the new United Conservative Party, Jason Kenney declared war on Rachel Notley and her NDP government. 

He denounced the carbon tax, promised the return of the Alberta advantage, and solemnly committed to always listen to the grassroots with a “heart of servant leadership.” Waves of applause rocked the convention hall over and over again. The message came through: Albertans are fed up with the social engineering and job-killing policies of Rachel Notley’s NDP, and they are ready for change. 

The grassroots, throughout the convention, delivered one message loudly and clearly: The NDP’s meddling in schools and denial of parental rights has gone on long enough. Kenney got a raucous standing ovation when he addressed the issue in his speech. “If the NDP tries to smuggle more of their politics into the classroom through the curriculum we will put that curriculum through the shredder!” he thundered. Based on the policy resolutions passed throughout the convention, it was a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Resolution 30, which stipulated that parents should be told when their children are involved in any subjects of a religious or sexual nature, caused a ruckus when it was put forward, with MLA Ric McIver along with two of his colleagues coming to the mic to ask attendees to vote against it so that the UCP would not be labeled the “lake of fire” party, a reference to a 2011 blog post written by Wildrose candidate Allan Hunsperger. The resolution passed with a 57% majority, and despite Jason Kenney telling media that the UCP opposed the “mandatory” notification of parents when their children got involved in “peer groups,” Education Minister David Eggen was immediately out in front of the cameras.

Eggen promptly began to do what he does best: Engage in fear mongering and insinuate that Albertan parents pose a danger to their own children that he and the NDP must protect those children from: “We’ve worked very hard to create a safe and caring environment for students here in the province and just by passing this today, they’ve made a more dangerous and unsafe place for kids in schools.” He then, of course, highlighted Ric McIver’s plea to UCP members to vote against it, obviously delighted that McIver had voluntarily made the “lake of fire” connection for him to repeat.

What McIver and a number of other conservative politicians do not seem to understand is that the NDP is going to accuse the UCP of being socially conservative regardless of what they do. That is their entire election strategy, just like it is Kathleen Wynne’s strategy and will probably be a large part of Justin Trudeau’s strategy. When someone like McIver stands up and hands Eggen quotes that are 100% guaranteed to be used as ammunition against his own party, he is serving as a useful idiot. His quote is going to be used by the NDP nonstop until the election as confirmation that even UCP MLAs believe their own party to be “homophobic.” Not to mention that he looks like a hypocrite to both the UCP party members and to the NDP, considering that McIver himself voted against Bill 24 just a few short months ago.

Resolution 148 also passed with a whopping 76%. The resolution, another parental rights motion being panned by progressives as an attack on abortion rights, reads: “The United Conservative Party believes that the Government of Alberta should ensure that all minor children are protected from harm by requiring the consent of a parent or legal guardian for all invasive medical procedures performed on a minor child, subject to established emergency medical protocols, legal emancipation, or judicial intervention.” The rationale noted in part that, “The UCP affirms that parents love their children and are the best primary caregivers for their children…Unscrupulous operators may refer to ‘privacy rights’ or other principles to gain access to children and teenagers without parental knowledge, but this is a violation of trust and interferes in healthy relationships between children and parents.”

For the NDP, of course, this is extraordinarily controversial—a brief look at the meltdowns happening on Twitter during the UCP AGM illustrated that most progressives do not even believe the concept of parental rights is a valid one. Notley and Eggen believe that parents should not stand between the state and the child, and thus the resolutions passed at the UCP AGM were a repudiation from everyday Albertans who showed up in droves to turn the event into the largest political convention in the history of the province. It is those thousands of Albertans that Eggen was calling “dangerous” when he stepped out in front of the TV cameras to accuse parents of posing a threat to their own children.

Overall, the United Conservative Party Convention delivered a stinging repudiation of NDP social engineering from thousands of men and women who spent their own money and time to travel to Red Deer and vote in overwhelming majorities for policies that would roll back the government encroachment of the last several years. Jason Kenney and the UCP MLAs and candidates have received their marching orders from the Albertans who have placed their trust in the new party and the new leader. Hopefully, this convention will signal the return of common sense values and fiscal responsibility to Alberta.

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.