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Friday, June 24, 2016

Thank you Dave Beninger - a reminder to Canadians in all walks of life

Friends I would like to share my concerns regarding the normalization of violence within Albertan political discourse.
At the Big Country Oilmen's golf-tournament on Friday a "target" was put up made from a photo of the Premier of Alberta. We know this because a golfer decided to tweet a photo of what they called their "target" sitting in the middle of the golf course, saying he loved it, he also tagged Wildrose MLA Derek Fildebrandt in the tweet. Supposedly shooting golf balls at a "target" of the Premier of Alberta is appropriate some people's minds.
As recently as June 20th, a Facebook post was up on Brian Jean's page, sitting there for three days - one of his supporters saying it was time for a wooden stake in the Premier's heart. The death threat had 12 likes. Brian Jean needs to stand up and be a leader - condemning death threats on your Facebook page against your political opponents isn't a kindness, it is the bare minimum of human decency.
The normalization of violent ideas is damaging to Albertan political discourse and Canadian culture as a whole. Normalization includes things such as a video posted on social media of a golf-cart running over that image of the Premier of Alberta. Normalization includes things such as the man who posted a video of himself urinating on a photo of the Premier of Alberta because he had heard about the golf tournament "joke" and he wanted to do a "joke" too. This shows how one stupid act can inspire others to commit other - more stupid acts.
I was disappointed to see prominent Conservatives try to equate the golf tournament "joke" as simply a "tad" impolite or as an "expression" of free speech. Yes it is an expression of free speech, but it is more than a tad impolite – it is depraved sickness, why are you trying to normalize it and provide cover to it? Even if it is free speech does not mean we should not call it out for what it is - depraved and sick. We don't wait until something is criminalized to condemn it from our society, in fact it is in everyone's best interest to do it without having to do that.
Some bring up that former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had death threats on his life, this is true and was also concerning to me at the time. What does it accomplish diminishing threats on Notley by bringing up threats on Harper? Both are wrong, obviously, because all death threats are wrong. "People threatened Harper too!" is not an excuse, it is a sign you should be helping us combat violent depictions and speech, not providing cover and normalizing this crappy behaviour.
Violent speech can and does inspire others to commit - more stupid acts, including physical violence. In light of a female politician being murdered in Britain for her political ideas, I believe we must all call out this depraved behaviour when we see it and prevent it from poisoning civil political discourse in Alberta and Canada.

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