The UCP put forward new policy proposals and resolutions in the 2023 AGM. The resolutions are generally good, and they’ve done a lot of housekeeping to ensure the government runs a bit smoother going forward. But a lot of the problems lie in the policy proposals.
You have some proposals like proposal four, which talks about body autonomy. Then it goes into a rant about how the government handled the pandemic. Or proposal seven, which talks about privacy of health information. But then goes into a rant about how the government handled the pandemic. The problem with these policies is that they’re founded on emotion rather than fact. And while the emotional aspect is important, it shouldn’t be what we base policies on.
The biggest consideration is how these policies could affect Albertans. Proposal Nine, for instance, is written in such a way that it could marginalize minorities.
For those who don’t know, Policy Proposal Nine seeks to remove offices of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from post-secondary campuses. The reason? The policy claims that there’s an issue with “identity politics, reverse racism [and] radicalization.” They state all this after claiming that they want to encourage free speech on these campuses. They claim these places are “the enforcement arm of woke idealogues,” but they don’t see the irony in their words and how they are taking away voices that would otherwise be heard if this policy goes through. Allowing liberal voices is as important as allowing conservative voices. Vice-versa too. I don’t want to exist in an echo-chamber where I have my opinions parroted back at me.
What’s more, the proposal states there shouldn’t be policies against discrimination either. Same with “equivalents” to a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion office. I can only assume this means that certain clubs wouldn’t be allowed on campus either. And the penalty for refusing to do so? The government would cut funding to the institution.
So, what would this look like at NAIT?
If the offices of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion were removed from the NAIT campus, a lot of NAIT’s inclusion initiatives would stop happening. These offices are NAIT’s frontline when it comes to these sorts of things. So we’d see a lot less of this stuff, including NAIT’s Pride month in March.
Secondly, NAIT’s policies against discrimination would be removed. Protecting marginalized people would go against the policy’s attempts to support “free speech.” So long as you aren’t breaking any laws, that is. After all, our freedom from discrimination doesn’t extend to other people’s beliefs. You just can’t be refused service.
And the third thing to happen would be that campus clubs that push “woke” ideologies would be shut down. NAIT can’t have these clubs running on campus if this proposal is resolved. This would include clubs like the Pride or Drag clubs as both are safe spaces for queer folk.
So… do I think this’ll actually go anywhere?
The first reason is that they use language like “woke ideologues” and “reverse racism” when discussing problems the policy would “fix.” The second is that it’s counter-intuitive. If you’re removing my free speech to bolster yours, you’re not really fighting for free speech.
Regardless, it’s concerning that people who use this sort of language can make it into the government. A lot of what this policy stands for goes against the spirit of the charter, rather than protecting the rights we get from it.