Alberta candidate who compared homosexuality to paedophilia wins election

Alberta UCP candidate Mark Smith

A candidate who has compared homosexuality to paedophilia and claimed Christian schools should be able to fire gay teachers has won election to the legislative assembly in Alberta, Canada.

United Conservative Party candidate Mark Smith won the Drayton Valley-Devon seat in Tuesday’s (April 16) Alberta general election, despite his anti-gay views emerging days before polling day.

Smith received more than 70 percent of the vote according to initial counts, well ahead of second-placed candidate Kieran Quirke, on just 17 percent.

Mark Smith: Christian schools should have right to fire a homosexual teacher

On April 2, a leaked recording emerged of Smith giving a sermon in 2013 in which he warned people that television programmes are “trying to tell you that homosexuality and homosexual love is good love.”

He claimed: “Heck, there are people out there, I could take you to places on the website, I’m sure, where you could find out that there’s… where paedophilia is love.”

In a 2015 policy paper, Smith also claimed that Christian schools “[should] be able to fire a homosexual teacher” despite non-discrimination laws.

Mark Smith and Alberta UCP leader Jason Kenney

Mark Smith and UCP leader Jason Kenney. (United Conservative Party)

He wrote: “Do I believe that LGBTQ teachers should have equality before the law? Yes, all Canadians have and should have this right.

“Does the right to equality before the law have limits? Yes, it would appear that at least one reasonable limit upheld by the constitution is the right to hire and fire for denominational cause.”

The victory was one of many for the UCP, which picked up 63 of the 87 seats in the legislative assembly, with 55 percent of the vote.

United Conservative Party plans to unpick Alberta gay-straight alliance protections

Ahead of election day, the right-wing party pledged to axe a law that prevents teachers from outing school children in gay-straight alliance groups to their parents.

UCP leader Jason Kenney, who is now set to become Premier of Alberta, has vowed to repeal the 2017 law protecting the rights of students to form GSAs, and introduce a replacement law that opponents say is much weaker.

Kenney’s plan would remove part of the law that prohibits schools from notifying parents about whether their child has joined a gay-straight alliance, which was put in place to protect LGBT+ children from ‘outing’.

Ahead of the election, the outgoing New Democratic Party launched an ad campaign and a 10-minute documentary that targets Jason Kenney’s own anti-LGBT record.

The documentary explores Kenney’s role in campaigning to overturn a 1989 San Francisco law that extended partnership rights to same-sex partners at the height of the AIDS crisis.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors had approved the measure to extend “hospital visitation rights” and “bereavement leave policy” to same-sex partners, but it was repealed after a public ballot measure supported by Kenney, who would later boast about his involvement in speeches.