There was plenty to agree with when Premier Rachel Notley recently tweeted a picture of a shirt she received with the words ‘Make Racism Wrong Again.’
More than 1,800 others agreed with the message, liking or retweeting it for their own followers.
Of course, racism has always been wrong, but with politics in our province growing increasingly partisan and polarized, many who harbour those ugly views have grown more and more comfortable making racist and bigoted statements publicly. And unfortunately, some politicians – particularly on the right side of the spectrum – aren’t doing enough to condemn these views, especially when these elements show up in their political parties.
That’s a sentiment Notley employed herself recently when calling on United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney to condemn those racist elements supporting his party.
“The question is, why are these folks showing up at these events and feeling as though they are welcome?” she asked after news surfaced that members of the far-right Soldiers of Odin, a group known for spreading hateful views, showed up at a UCP event late last year.
“We need to call it out as soon as it happens because we can never let down our guard,” she went on to say at the time.
That’s why it seemed like such a head-scratcher to discover that a local anti-immigrant group that has made headlines for racist statements recently secured a permit from officials with the Alberta government to host a rally at the steps of the provincial legislature.
If Notley and the NDP government want to ‘make racism wrong again,’ one easy way they can begin to do that is ensure groups that promote hateful and racist messages aren’t given permits to rally at the legislature, a place where every Albertan should feel safe, no matter their race, ethnicity or colour. We know it’s unlikely Notley ever saw the permit or gave it her own stamp of approval, but the fact remains the premier’s office has the authority to set the rules for the public use of the legislature to make sure hateful groups aren’t permitted.
Doing so would send a loud message that those views aren’t welcome and would go a long way toward making racism wrong again.