Our local MLA has come under fire after the winners of a recent essay contest were announced.

Associate minister for the status of women and Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville MLA Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk was at the front of online criticism after the winners of the "Her Vision Inspires" contest, which she was the face of, were unveiled.

In the essay contest, young women aged 17-25 were tasked with writing 250-500 words describing their unique vision for Alberta and, specifically, what they would do if they were an MLA.

The third prize winner outlined a vision for Alberta where women are awarded for giving birth to more than two children and that "importing foreigners" to "replace ourselves" is a "sickly mentality that amounts to a drive for cultural suicide." Armstrong-Homeniuk has since denounced the rhetoric in the essay.

A screenshot of the third place essay in the "Her Vision Inspires" contest, now deleted from the government website.A screenshot of the third place essay in the "Her Vision Inspires" contest, now deleted from the government website.

"Women are not exactly equal to men," penned the essay author, S. Silver. "To try to promote that women break into careers that men traditionally dominate is not only misguided, but it is harmful." 

The contest was a partnership between the Legislative Assembly of Alberta and the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Canadian Region. Armstrong-Homeniuk is the Alberta Representative in addition to her associate women's minister position.

Social media screenshots of the essay quickly led to the contest page being removed from the provincial government's website. By early Tuesday (Aug. 9), Armstrong Homeniuk issued a statement, saying the essay "should never have been chosen".

After meeting with other UCP caucus and cabinet members, her statement was later revised and issued an update statement in the late afternoon. 

"As the minister for the status of women, I want to emphasise that I do not support rhetoric that in any way diminishes the importance and contributions of more than half of Alberta's population," she wrote.

"It's clear that the process failed, and I apologise for my role in that. The selection of this particular essay and awarding it with third prize was a failure on my part as the head of the judging panel." 

MIX 107 has reached out to Armstrong-Homeniuk's office for comment but is yet to receive a response.