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UCP candidate Jennifer Johnson under fire for transphobic comments

MLA-elect for Lacombe-Ponoka Jennifer Johnson. handout / United Conservative Party

Warning: This story contains details that may offend some readers. Discretion is advised.

The Alberta NDP is calling for the resignation of a UCP candidate after it released an audio recording from last fall where she is heard making transphobic comments.

Lacombe-Ponoka candidate Jennifer Johnson was speaking at a forum last September about the public school system versus homeschooling.

In the recording, Johnson can be heard saying Alberta’s high test scores don’t matter because some students are transgender.

“It does not matter that we’re in the top three per cent of the world. Who cares if they got 89 per cent in Chemistry 30? Who cares that they’re entering post-secondary — if they’re chemically castrated?” she said in the recording.

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Johnson went on to compare a handful of transgender students in the school system to mixing a teaspoon of feces into a batch of baked goods.

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“‘Enjoy (the cookies), I only put a teaspoon of poop in them, but it doesn’t matter because it’s only a teaspoon in the whole batch,'” she is heard saying.

“Same idea — we can be top three per cent, but that little bit of poop is what wrecks it.”

Anna Murphy, a transgender advocate in Calgary, took aim at Johnson for comparing a marginalized group to a contaminant.

“For any person with privilege within our community to otherwise call for the removal of individuals from our society or the segregation of equity-deserving groups, that is dangerous,” Murphy said.

“To make comments that dehumanize and otherwise equate anyone to any kind of undesirable attribute, such as what that comment does, is a disgusting demonstration of that person’s character.”

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The UCP released a statement on Johnson’s behalf, in which she said the comments were based on what she saw parents experiencing in the U.S., and that Alberta is “quite different.”

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“Our party has an immense amount of respect for our teachers and front-line workers that work daily to make every single student feel safe, included, and cared for in our schools.”

Back in March, Torry Tanner resigned as the UCP candidate for Lethbridge-West after a campaign video surfaced in which she claimed teachers were helping students change their gender identity without their parents knowing.

Janis Irwin, the NDP candidate for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood, called for Johnson to resign and apologize.

“These comments … are extreme, appalling, discriminatory, backwards, and they risk inciting hate and violence against 2SLGBTQ+ Albertans,” Irwin said.

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