Madame Premier's response to the Her Vision essay contest held by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta is our own essay addressing the third place winning essay by S. Silver. Essay writers were asked to "share their vision for Alberta and what they would do if they were Members of the Legislative Assembly." This is what we have to say:
The women of Alberta have many unique and diverse strengths. The women of Alberta, those that were born here, those have moved here from other parts of Canada and those that come from all corners of the world, are the voices and representation that we need more of in the Legislature of Alberta. In halls, chambers and corridors that were designed for white men, buildings that were designed and constructed without women's washrooms, it is the representation of women, Indigenous women, women from marginalized communities, Black women, trans and non-binary people, from LGBTQ communities and their voices that need to fill those same hallowed halls, chambers and corridors. This is the vision Madame Premier has not only for Alberta, but for every Canadian province and territory at every level of government because a woman's place is in politics and anywhere else we want to be.
Madame Premier fundamentally believes in equity and equality for all which includes making up for the generations in which women have been intentionally kept from careers and spaces that have been historically dominated by men. It is our mission to assert a woman's right to be in any and all spaces that she chooses. What is actually harmful to this work, is the misguided and dangerous efforts of those to turn back the clock to a time that the majority of Albertan women are not willing to go back to.
The power of those elected as members of the legislative assembly is considerable and the opportunity for women to share their vision for Alberta is one that should be celebrated but how it is celebrated is incredibly important. It has been reported that Alberta's associate minister in charge of women's issues Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk was a judge on the panel that decided the three winners of the essay contest. Did she not read the three winning essays? In a statement released today the minister said, "While the essay in question certainly does not represent the views of all women, myself included, the essay in question should not have been chosen." But the minister herself is responsible in part for choosing it. Why was the entry from S. Silver chosen when in the ministers own words, it should not have been chosen? Was it when Silver wrote that Albertan women have the unique strength of giving birth and reducing us to nothing more than baby making machines? Did she find it racist and misogynistic when Silver wrote about "import[ing] foreigners to replace ourselves, this is a sick mentality that amounts to a drive for cultural suicide" or was it when she wrote "to try to promote that women break into careers that men traditionally dominate is not only misguided, but it is harmful." or did that just slip by her? Talking about "the preservation of our community, culture, and species" didn't strike the minister as more words seemingly taken from a speech made by Hitler? There are so many red flags in the essay by Silver that it leaves us incredulous at the idea that this essay made its way through whatever approval process there was only to be awarded a prize when the best place for it is in a shredder. It's actually Silver's own words and beliefs that present one of the gravest dangers to our society at a time when some political leaders, in Alberta and in Canada, are blazing a path of fear and anger to further their own political careers with their words that are both the gasoline and flame which result in the destruction of not only our democracy but our society as a whole.
Minister Armstrong-Homeniuk, her fellow UCP caucus members that took part in judging the Her Vision essay contest along with the entire UCP caucus including the premier, need to apologize to the women of Alberta and share what specific actions they will take to actually encourage the participation of girls, women and marginalized communities in Alberta's political systems and processes. Nothing less will suffice.