Alberta essayist speaks out on controversial competition result

A woman who submitted an essay to Alberta’s ignominious ‘Her Vision Inspires’ essay contest says she’s not necessarily making excuses for the results that critics have called racist, sexist, misogynistic and fascist.

Emelia Kazakawich said she would rather see the current provincial government change its ways.

“I believe that with a full apology comes behavioral change,” she told Global News. “There were apologies that weren’t really an apology, which is kind of expected.

“But I think the way you back up your apology is to change your behavior and fix what you broke.”

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Kazakawich, who admitted her views don’t necessarily align with messages from the United Conservative Party and the Alberta government, submitted an essay highlighting issues in the province she would like to see addressed, including health care , the opioid crisis, housing and quality of life. .

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“I live in an Alberta where the health care system has been so overburdened for so many years that the opioid crisis and frostbite with no place to go are at the bottom of the priority list,” she wrote.

“I live in an Alberta where our healthcare system is purely reactionary, with very few preventive protocols.”

The 23-year-old grew up in Lethbridge, seeing the drug poisoning crisis escalate through her teens and early adulthood.

“I used to work downtown and see a lot of homeless people, a lot of needles in the alley, stuff like that. We have homeless encampments all over here,” she said from her home in Lethbridge.

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Status of Women Minister apologizes for racist and sexist essay contest in Alberta

Status of Women Minister apologizes for racist and sexist essay contest in Alberta

Currently, Kazakawich works with people with disabilities.

“I’m very passionate about people being able to exist in a way that works for them rather than trying to exist against the powers that be trying to squeeze them into a little slot.”

The government did not respond to repeated questions about the competition and the number of entries submitted. But a spokesperson said Radio Canada there were five entries.

“I submitted one mainly because I thought, ‘Well, someone’s going to read it, so that’s like my article, right?

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It wasn’t until Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood MP Janis Irwin posted a reaction to the province’s essay contest that the Kazakawich realized the essay she had submitted six months earlier would have been vetted. .

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She also took the time to read the winning entries.

“The third one kind of felt like it was mostly disturbing to see an essay that didn’t equate men and women as equals and valued women who are mothers more than women who aren’t.” , said Kazakawich.

“It’s a little worrying to see the current government approving.”

The third-place essay, whose author is identified only as “S. Silver,” centered the value of women around “our ability to give birth.” He also discussed the grand conspiracy theory of replacement, calling immigration policies a “sick mentality that amounts to a push for cultural suicide”.

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Associate Minister for Women’s Issues Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk and Jackie Lovely, the ministry’s Parliamentary Secretary – the contest judges – apologized for the winning selections, which were posted and removed from the Legislative Assembly website earlier this week.

Environment and Parks Minister Whitney Issik, a former associate minister for the status of women, said she did not share any of the beliefs expressed in the third-place essay. And she said both judges apologized.

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“At the end of the day, the participants who chose the trial said that a mistake had been made – a mistake had been made – and they apologized for it,” Issik told a press conference on an industrial pilot project in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, on Friday.

“For me, this is the end.”

Kazakawich said she would like to speak with Silver, the third-place winner.

Emelia Kazakawich is shown in this undated photo. A woman who submitted an essay to an Alberta government competition says the two judges shouldn’t resign but rather apologize and change their behavior. Kazakawich, who is 23, says it was worrying to see a winning essay that said women and men are not equal. She would like the UCP government to respond to her essay. Kazakawich posted his essay on Twitter on Thursday, which focuses on the opioid crisis, health care and quality of life in the province.

THE CANADIAN PRESS / mimeo – Emelia Kazakawich

“I would love to hear her story and her perspective and why she believes these things,” the 23-year-old said, emphasizing the importance of approaching conversations with the goal of understanding.

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“I think there is room for both perspectives. I think the problem comes when you believe your perspective is the only good one.

Kazakawich said the response to posting his essay on social media was overwhelmingly positive and he was even offered gifts. Instead, it encourages donations to community organizations.

“There’s really nothing I’m looking to get out of this, other than solidarity with other people who see the future of Alberta the same way I do. And let other young women in Alberta know that they are not alone when they believe these things.

–with files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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