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KLEIN CAVES IN TO VRIEND RULING

Thu Apr 9, 1998 - 12:15 pm EST

EDMONTON, Apr 9 (LSN) - Yesterday, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein revealed his position on the Vriend Supreme Court ruling, which ordered Alberta to include special rights for homosexuals in the province’s human rights code. Despite the pleas of thousands of Albertans, who flooded Klein’s office with phone, fax, email and written messages, Klein refuses to use the constitution’s “notwithstanding clause” to override the decision. Quotes in the national media suggest Klein views Albertans’ concerns with contempt, as if they were motivated by bigotry.  The Premier came out strongly in support of the ruling yesterday, vowing to ensure its passage through his conservative caucus, in spite of the vigorous pro-family stance of many of its members.  In fact, Klein seemed to suggest he might force the PCs to accept the ruling. “I’ve drawn my line in the sand, rightly or wrongly…I think it’s morally wrong to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,” said Klein. “There will be a clear, absolutely decisive decision relative to the government’s position—this is where I have to take a leadership role, like it or not.”  Political analysts are predicting a revolt by about one-third of Klein’s 62-member caucus, which is to debate the Vriend ruling today. It is feared that Klein may not allow pro-family MLAs to put their dissentions on record, by denying them a free vote on the issue.


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