Gordon Dirks meets gay rights advocate amid questions on his LGBT views
NDP education critic says new minister had ties with discriminatory evangelical Christian groups
Alberta's new education minister is working fast to quash any suggestion that he will not protect the rights of LGBT students.
Critics have questioned whether Dirks should head up the education portfolio because of his past work as an evangelical pastor.
- Alberta's new cabinet disappoints opposition parties
- Jim Prentice says Alberta 'under new management'
At a news conference on Tuesday the New Democrats said Gordon Dirks' appointment as education minister is inappropriate.
“You know Albertans have only his track record, his past, to go on. And it clearly shows that there is, he has been affiliated with institutions that discriminate based on sexual orientation,” said NDP education critic Deron Bilous.
Dirks and Premier Prentice spent part of Tuesday meeting with a prominent gay rights activist in Edmonton.
Later on social media, Kris Wells, a professor at the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies at the University of Alberta, said Dirks signaled a commitment to support bullying prevention efforts and supports for LGBT youth.
Wells says he hopes Dirks will repeal a section in Alberta's human rights legislation that requires school boards to notify parents about courses that deal with sexuality, religion or sexual orientation.
“Well, if he can't reconcile his role as a minister of education that has to be there representing the needs and concerns of all students, then he's going to have a problem,” Wells said.
“He's no longer a pastor. He's a government minister responsible for government public service and that service must be non-discriminatory. Full stop.”