As you may recall, last week Premier Rachael Notley and her sneaky government laid a trap for the new leader of the united conservatives, Jason Kenney.

Making a mountain out of a molehill, the government introduced a bill to make it illegal for teachers to “out” kids who joined school sanctioned “gay-straight alliances”. Notley and her clever crew were clearly hoping that Kenney and his new United Conservative Party would oppose the bill so they could say that Kenney wanted to out gay kids which, according to Education Minister Dave Eggen, was “dangerous”. Personally, I thought the smart thing to do was to treat the bill for what it really is – a piece of political mischief – and let the government have its way. Not every government bill needs debate (believe me on this one), and this is one that could certainly be ignored. Ah, but Kenney couldn’t resist. The UCP is opposed to the bill, saying it should be up to teachers to make the decision about revealing membership in GSAs to parents.

Don’t we have more important issues in Alberta – real issues that impact all Albertans – than this minor bill? Of course we do. But the NDP is playing politics here, and the UCP is playing along. By taking the bait, Kenney has joined a game he can’t win. Any social issues, even ones as manufactured as this piece of political gamesmanship, will only fire up the far right wing of the conservative party, giving the NDP plenty of ammo to paint the new party as a home for lunatic right-wingers. Asinine statements are sure to follow, which the NDP will just as surely trumpet. For example, in the legislature on Thursday, UCP MLA Mike Lake suggested that GSAs are a sneaky way for the government to introduce sex education in schools, and  “to do after hours what it could not do in the classroom during school hours.” They are nothing of the sort, of course; a GSA is a student-led social group, nothing more. But this is just the kind of nonsense the NDP was hoping to hear from the UCP.

Rachael Notley goes sexist

In the legislature this week, Rachael Notley had this to say: “Can I just introduce a word into the legislature, the definition of which is follows: Hepeat, when a person who might be a man repeats what you say and takes credit for it.”

You probably didn’t hear about this, because it didn’t make news that the premier of Alberta made a clearly sexist joke.

Is this sexist? Well, let’s put it this way: if a male member of the legislature used the same joke, but called it a ‘shepeat’, there would be outrage and immediate apologies. A sexist joke is a sexist joke, regardless of which gender it is aimed at.

Go, Inuit, Go!

The mayor of Winnipeg made a little mischief of his own this week. With the Edmonton Eskimos facing the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the CFL western semi-final this weekend, Mayor Brian Bowman said the Eskimos should have a “more inclusive” name. Our mayor, the namby-pamby Don Iveson, had this to say on CBC radio:  “This conversation is not going to go away. With the Grey Cup coming here next fall, it’s going to be difficult to imagine that conversation not coming back in an even more significant way over the next year. I worry that what would otherwise be a very positive Grey Cup could be beset by a very charged conversation around the team name.”

Way to support your local sports team, Don.

Is the word Eskimo offensive? The head of a national Inuit organization says it is, but there doesn’t seem to be any overwhelming consensus. Is it dated? Yes; we don’t use the term anymore. But so offensive that it should be expunged from our vocabulary? Is it used in a negative way? I don’t think so. I think this is mostly a non-issue, and I’m disappointed, but not entirely surprised, that Iveson would wade into this non-issue.

RIP

John Hillerman, 84, who played Tom Selleck’s snooty boss on Magnum, P.I. … Roy Halladay, 40, former Toronto Blue Jay and Cy Young Award winner. Because he played for the Blue Jays, his unfortunate death was the top item on national newscasts … Murray Koffler, 93, founder of the Shoppers Drug Mart chain.

 

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