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Alison Redford Must Answer for AHRC Appointments

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Premier Alison Redford has really done it this time. Or, rather, she did it in 2010. That just happens to be when Moosa Jiwaji's appointment to the Alberta Human Rights Commission was renewed. It will last until 2016.

As the Minister of Justice at the time, Redford bears personal responsibility for this.

For any Albertans unfamiliar with Jiwaji, this wouldn't seem particularly outrageous if one paid attention to nothing more than his credentials. On their own, they're impressive. Jiwaji came to Canada as an immigrant, from Kenya. Upon his arrival he immediately set to work earning a master's degree in business administration at the University of Alberta, and later a law degree from Dalhousie. Prior to be appointed to the AHRC he served on various government regulatory boards.

With this in mind, one would expect that Mr Jiwaji would have a firm understanding on the importance of standards. Yet, as his recent ruling in the matter of Ladislav Mihaly vs APEGA (Associaton of Professional Engineeers and Geoscientists of Alberta) seems to demonstrate, perhaps he isn't.

The decision is a complete disaster in virtually every way imaginable. It threatens the standards of engineering safety in Alberta by entitling foreign-educated engineers -- including those who cannot pass Alberta's certification standards -- to special treatment. In doing so, it effectively relates Alberta-trained engineers to something of a second-class status -- doubtlessly, and rightly, APEGA will not abrogate the standards of competency for them, as Jiwaji seems to think must be done for foreign-trained engineers.

It wasn't long after Jiwaji's re-appointment to the AHRC that Alison Redford was promising Albertans that she would amend Alberta's human rights legislation to strip the body of its censorship powers; that was a promise she went back on as soon as she realized she could win a few votes by doing so.

Now, with the Mihely vs APEGA decision, we see that stripping away the Commission's censorship powers is not nearly enough. Unless the government of Alberta gets a handle on the AHRC, it will soon have no choice but to raze this institution to the ground entirely.

Ending Moosa Jiwaji's appointment immediately would be an excellent place to start.



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