CALGARY – PC leadership candidate Ric McIver is facing some controversy over his participation in an event hosted by a religious group that has anti-gay messages on its webpage.
McIver opened the 2014 March for Jesus at Millennium Park on Sunday, and tweeted a photo while at the event.
However, his decision to attend the march sparked debate on Twitter, due to provocative statements on the March for Jesus site.
In one recent post promoting the march, the site states:
“Last year alone, Calgary’s streets were flooded with people of wrong sexual preferences during a homosexual parade of over 30,000 attendees and none of them were embarrassed the slightest to publicly even present their nakedness in front of families and in front of future generations to openly proclaim and manifest that they are not ashamed to declare the name of their master (Satan) and in the same way not concerned with provoking greatly the wrath of the Living God.”
According to their webpage, one of the organizations helping to support the March for Jesus is the Street Church Ministries.
Their website contains another controversial statement, in which representative Artur Pawlowski says last year’s devastating flooding in southern Alberta was “God knocking at the hearts of Albertans”:
“I do not believe that what we have seen in the past few months with the flooding was a major judgment of God. I believe it was just a tear that came from the eyes of God, a little wake up call for all of us. When Jesus looked at Jerusalem He wept. I think that’s what we have seen here. Jesus is weeping for this province, for the over 10,000 murdered children by abortion per year in Alberta alone. He is weeping for the perversions of homosexuality which includes the walking out the pride of their abominations in the streets of our cities; in front of our kids and in front of those who fought wars for freedom (but not this kind of freedom). Jesus is weeping for all of these injustices, for the arrogance and pride that is now happening openly all around us.”
Some Twitter users were so upset with McIver’s decision to attend the March for Jesus, they asked for him to step down from the Alberta PC leadership race.
“Ric McIver has demonstrated that he is not fit to be the premier of this province,” said Dr. Kristopher Wells, Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services. “The premier must serve all Albertans equally, including Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Albertans.”
WATCH: Dr. Wells joins Global Calgary to discuss Ric Mciver’s recent decision to attend the March for Jesus, and why he’s calling for him to step down from the Alberta PC party leadership race.
McIver responded with a statement on his Facebook page.
He says he was proud to celebrate diversity in Alberta and as premier, he would continue to defend equality rights for all Albertans.
McIver adds that he deplores discrimination against all groups and individuals without exception.
BELOW: Read Ric McIver’s complete statement
“Yesterday, I helped open the March for Jesus in Calgary.
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In my remarks, I talked about how I have been able to celebrate the diversity of Alberta by taking part in celebrations of many religions, cultures and traditions that make up Alberta, and this was a day to celebrate my own Roman Catholic faith with other Christians.
I have attended the opening of this event for the last 4 years. For years, I have also attended events with other faith communities, including Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and secular events with many diverse communities from around the world.
I sent a tweet about how it was good to see Alberta flags. To me, this was indication of how all Albertans can take part in celebrating their faith and culture openly in our province.
Since then, I have received many communications about negative text on the March for Jesus website.
Let me be clear about a few things:
1. Albertans have the right to live their lives as they choose (within the bounds of the law of course.)
2. The website in question is not my website and does not describe my views.
3. My website is ricmciver.com
4. As an Albertan and if chosen Premier, I do and will continue to defend equality rights for all Albertans as defined in the Charter, including sexual orientation. I deplore discrimination against all groups and individuals without exception.
5. I shall continue to attend events celebrating the diversity of Alberta.”
I hope this statement clears up any doubts about my commitment to the rights and freedoms of all Albertans, in the past, in the present and in my intentions for the future.”
On Tuesday afternoon, PC Alberta president Jim McCormick issued the following statement:
“Individual members are expected to follow our Statement of Principles, which includes that of being an open party that’s accessible to all Albertans. Closed mindedness or intolerance have no place in the PCAA.
“Tolerance and acceptance in this Province is vital for us to continue to be a strong and vibrant society.”