Alberta Human Rights Commission Chief fired by Justice Minister Shandro

THE National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) on Friday applauded the removal of the Alberta Human Rights Commission Chief Collin May by Justice Minister Tyler Shandro.

“Minister Shandro’s swift and decisive move answers the call of dozens of Muslim community groups and leaders across Alberta,” the NCCM said in a statement.

“Mr. May’s statements in a 2009 book review recycled old stereotypes of Islam as innately militaristic and incapable of peaceful coexistence. After Mr. May stated that he wished to engage members of the Muslim community, multiple Muslim community leaders then extended a hand to engage him. Yet Mr. May did not prioritize meetings with these Muslim leaders. And far more problematically, he also sent demand letters that threatened some of his critics with lawsuits.”

Said Omar, NCCM’s Alberta Advocacy Officer, said: “This series of actions, in our assessment, showed that Mr. May was not interested in good faith engagement. We did not think that his conduct was befitting of someone picked to occupy a government leadership position in the realm of human rights and equity.”

The NCCM noted that the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is supposed to protect minority rights and respect for diversity. It suggested that the chief should show qualities that reflect those efforts and values, which preclude amplifying ideologies and stereotypes that marginalize embattled minority groups.

It added: “Anti-Muslim hate crimes spiked 71% last year across Canada. Black Muslim women have been violently accosted in the province. Islamophobic militia members have been stalking mosques.

“Minister Shandro’s strong decision-making on this matter affirms that the AHRC—a body that represents Alberta’s commitment to equality and human rights—will not be a place that will be chaired by someone who does not appear to represent the highest culmination of those values.”