Alberta blunders bigly with essay choice

CHRIS MacLEAN  –  Aug 10, 2022

A special contest originating from Alberta's Ministry of Culture and Status of Women, was intended to encourage essays that would elevate the vision of women in Alberta.

The contest, entitled “Her Vision Inspires”, encouraged Alberta women to outline their vision for the province and what they would do as members of the provincial legislature.

The winners were selected in February but officially announced on 8 August 2022 to a growing wave of condemnation, fury and outrage.

Let's call it a FAIL as, rather than vitalizing and motivational, the outcome has instead spectacularly succeeded in inspiring intense indignation.

According to the Ministry's own web site, its responsibility is to "increase gender equality by working with ministries to make sure gender and other identity factors are reflected in Alberta government policies, programs and legislation."

Despite that clear statement of responsibility, the organizers awarded the $200 third prize of the “Her Vision Inspires” contest to an essayist who argues that women should pick babies over careers.

The 3rd place winner, identified as S. Silver, wrote that “import[ing] foreigners to replace ourselves is a sickly mentality that amounts to a drive for cultural suicide.”

Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk was the contest organizer and head of the judging panel. Initially offering excuses for the award choice, she quickly backtracked and apologized for her role in the award decision back in February.

Ms Armstrong-Homeniuk became Alberta’s Associate Minister for the Status of Women in June 2022.

The Conservative government quickly removed the essay from its legislature website following a wave of social media condemnation. 

Although the contest was run through the Legislative Assembly Office, it disavowed any involvement in choosing the winners. A statement from the Office stated that as soon as Speaker Nathan Cooper became aware of the essay, he demanded it be removed from public view.

By August 9th, the entire web page had been taken down.

Alberta web site disabled screen capture

Chris MacLean is Editor-in-Chief, 
FrontLine Safety & Security