A recent essay contest has been met with more backlash.
Thursday (Aug. 11) morning, members of Alberta's official opposition were in Fort Saskatchewan to again denounce awarding a third place prize to a controversial essay in a recent contest. They called on the local MLA, Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, to step down as cabinet member.
Earlier this week, screenshots of the third-prize winner in the “Her Vision Inspires” contest began making their way around social media. The contest tasked young women aged 17-25 with writing 250-500 words describing their unique vision for Alberta and, specifically, what they would do if they were an MLA.
In the essay, author S. Silver wrote that women should be 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, currently the associate minister for the status of women, has since denounced the rhetoric in the essay.
Outside the Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital, NDP children’s services critic Rakhi Pancholi said that Armstrong-Homeniuk’s response to the controversy is “unacceptable” and called on the local MLA to step down from her cabinet position. She also called on the other contest judge, Camrose MLA Jackie Lovely, to step down from her position as parliamentary secretary.
“They have both displayed a horrendous lack of good judgment and an inability to take seriously the work required to advance and protect the interests of women in this province.”
Pancholi suggested that Armstrong-Homeniuk and Lovely were either too lazy to read the essays when choosing a winner, or they support the themes in the third-place entry.
“They must step down immediately.”
According to reports, only five entries were submitted to the essay contest. Pancholi also noted that further details have only been provided following media investigations, as both MLAs have refused to take questions. Neither has said why they chose the essay.
A request for comment from Armstrong-Homeniuk’s office has not received a response.