Peter Baklinski

‘Victory in Alberta!’: Controversial Education Act ‘dies on the books’ over election call

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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ALBERTA, March 30, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Homeschooling parents and other concerned parents across Alberta’s education system are celebrating after the province’s Education Act (Bill 2) failed to pass its third reading due to the Conservative Government having called an election on Monday.

“Victory in Alberta!” declared the Home School Legal Defence Association (HSLDA) in a press release. “Thanks to the thousands of homeschooling families across Alberta and in the rest of Canada and the United States who called, wrote, attended rallies and prayed to defeat this Bill.”

Parents across the province had expressed grave concern over section 16 of the proposed Education Act for what they saw as an infringement on their parental rights to raise and educate their own children as they saw fit.

Section 16 stipulated that all instructional materials in schools, including home and private schools, “must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.”

The HSLDA had warned that the last part of section 16 would “force political correctness on parents in their own homes when teaching their children,” by making even home education materials subject to the Alberta Human Rights Act.

The Alberta Human Rights Act is the same legislation that was used most infamously to target Christian Pastor Stephen Boissoin, who was found guilty of “hate speech” by a provincial human rights tribunal for writing a letter to the editor of a local newspaper opposing the homosexualist agenda in schools.

While the election call has halted the passage of the bill, the HSLDA is warning parents that the proposed legislation is not necessarily dead forever.

“The Conservatives in Alberta have given many indications that they will be bringing this legislation back if they are elected for another term,” the association wrote.

Rob Anderson, Wildrose Education critic, warned the Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) in a letter about the Progressive Conservative (PC) party’s ambition to resurrect the bill unchanged if they win the upcoming election. 

“The PCs have decided they are committed to bringing this bill to the Legislature right after the election to pass,” Anderson wrote.

Anderson pointed out in the letter that the majority of the Education Act is “by and large a good Bill.” He noted that it “expands school choice especially regarding charter schools, takes on bullying in school, gives more autonomy to local school boards and does a whole lot of other things that will be very beneficial to our education system and that are in the Wildrose education platform.”

“It’s just the preamble and s.16 of the 200 page bill that need changing,” he wrote.

The Wildrose party brought forward two amendments to the preamble and to section 16 of the Act, but with a PC’s enjoying a massive 68-4 seat advantage, the amendments were both voted down.

The Alberta Home Education Association (AHEA) was instrumental in organizing a peaceful protest at the Alberta Legislature against section 16 of the Act earlier this month. Over 2000 people attended the March 20th event to demand that the six words “and the Alberta Human Rights Act” be erased from the Act.

Anderson pointed out in his letter that the bill’s faltering during the days leading up to Monday’s election call was due in part to the pressure of AHEA’s protest campaign.

Anderson also pointed out that with the PC’s vote against Wildrose’s proposed amendments, the PCs have “alienated virtually every parent concerned with parental rights and the potential of human rights commissions forcing Catholic schools, faith based schools and homeschooling parents to teach issues contrary to their personal beliefs.”

With the April 23rd election day fast approaching, it remains to be seen which party Albertans will choose to lead their province.

A Leger Marketing survey conducted last week and commissioned by the Calgary Herald and Edmonton Journal showed a deadlock between Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative party and Danielle Smith’s Wildrose party.

Leger’s Alberta vice-president Ian Large said that the “momentum at the moment favours Wildrose.”

A Forum Research poll conducted Monday suggested that the Wildrose party would win a majority government if the election was held this week.

Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff told the Edmonton Sun that the poll results show that Alberta is poised for sweeping change. His poll indicated that Wildrose would win 58 seats in the Alberta legislature, while the Progressive Conservatives’s seats would be diminished for a total of 22.

The Home School Legel Defence Association is encouraging its members to “very carefully consider their political choices in this election”.

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Lisa Bourne

‘You can’t have’ marriage equality ‘without polygamy’

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By Lisa Bourne

July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Motivated by the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing homosexual “marriage,” a Montana polygamist has filed for a second marriage license, so he can be legally wed to two women at once.

"It's about marriage equality," said Nathan Collier, using homosexual advocates’ term to support marriage redefinition. "You can't have this without polygamy."

Collier, who has has appeared on the TLC reality show Sister Wives with his legal wife Victoria, and his second wife Christine, said he was inspired by the dissent in the Supreme Court decision.

The minority Supreme Court justices said in Friday’s ruling it would open the door to both polygamy and religious persecution.

“It is striking how much of the majority’s reasoning would apply with equal force to the claim of a fundamental right to plural marriage,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

Collier and his wives applied for a second marriage license earlier this week at the Yellowstone County Courthouse in Billings, a report from the Salt Lake Tribune said.

Collier, who was excommunicated from the Mormon Church for polygamy, married Victoria in 2000 and had a religious wedding ceremony with Christine in 2007. The three have seven children between them and from previous relationships.

"My second wife Christine, who I'm not legally married to, she's put up with my crap for a lot of years. She deserves legitimacy," Collier said.

Yellowstone County officials initially denied the application before saying they would consult with the County Attorney and get him a final answer.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Bigamy, the holding of multiple marriage licenses, is illegal all 50 states, but Collier plans to sue if his application is denied. Officials expect to have an answer for him next week.

While homosexual “marriage” supporters have long insisted legalization of same-sex unions would not lead to polygamy, pro-life and family advocates have warned all along it would be inevitable with the redefinition of marriage.

“The next court cases coming will push for polygamy, as Chief Justice John Roberts acknowledged in his dissent,” said Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America, after the Supreme Court ruling. “The chief justice said “the argument for polygamy is actually stronger than that for ‘gay marriage.’ It’s only a matter of time.”

In a piece from the Washington Times, LifeSiteNews Editor-in-Chief and the co-founder of Voice of the Family John-Henry Westen stated the move toward legal polygamy is “just the next step in unraveling how Americans view marriage.”

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Chris Christie: Clerks must perform same-sex ‘marriages’ regardless of their religious beliefs

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By Ben Johnson

TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.

“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.

He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”

“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.

Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.

Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.

Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.

The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.

The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.

However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.

Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.

Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.

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After having a girl with Down syndrome, this couple adopted two more

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By Ben Johnson

LINO LAKE, MN, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – For most people, having five biological children would have been enough. In fact, for many Americans, large families are treated as a scandal or a burden.

But one family made the decision, not just to have a large family, but to give a home to some of the most vulnerable children in the world: Girls born overseas with Down syndrome.

Lee and Karen Shervheim love all seven of their children, biological or otherwise. Undeterred by having twin boys – Daniel and Andrew, 18 – they had Sam four years later.

They now have three daughters who are all 11 years old. All three have Down syndrome.

And two of them are adopted.

About the time their eight-year-old son, David, was born, Lee and Karen decided to adopt a child with Down syndrome to be a companion to their daughter, Annie.

They made the further unexpected choice to adopt a child from Eastern Europe with the help of Reece's Rainbow, which helps parents adopt children with Down syndrome.

“Between my wife and I, we couldn’t get it out of our heads,” Lee told the Quad City Press. “So many children need families and we knew we could potentially do something about it.”

After originally deciding to adopt Katie, they spent six weeks in Kiev, visiting an orphanage in nearby Kharkov. While there, they decided they may have room in their heart, and their home, for another child.

When they saw a picture of Emie striking the same pose as their biological daughter in one of their photographs, they knew they would come home with two children.

Both girls were the same age as their Annie. She would not lack for companionship, as they worried.

Lee said after the Ukrainian government – finally – completed the paperwork, they returned to the United States, when the real challenges began.

“The unvarnished truth,” Lee told the Press, is that adopting the Russian-speaking special needs children “was really disruptive to our family. They came with so many issues that we had not anticipated.”

After teaching them sign language and appropriate behavior, they moved to Lino Lake, Minnesota and found a new support group in Eagle Brook Church. There they found personal assistance and spiritual solace.

Every year in the past seven years has been better and better, they say.

“I think my girls can do almost anything they want to do,” he said, “and that’s what I want to help them become.”

The family's devotion is fueled by their faith, and it informs the sense of humor Lee showed in a tweet during the 2014 midterm elections:

It takes a special person to believe in the potential of the “mentally retarded,” as they were once labeled. Today, 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the womb will be aborted. The percentage is higher in some countries. Some have even spoken of "a world without people with Down syndrome."

Their God, and their experience, tell them that every child has infinite worth and potential, Lee told local media, and he would encourage anyone to follow his footsteps and adopt a Down syndrome child – or two.

“The message is that it really doesn’t matter where you started or where you came from,” Lee said. “There are endless opportunities for everyone, whether they have disabilities or not. They deserve a shot.”

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