things will, no doubt, dumbfound historians when they
come to look back on the Canada of the late 20th and early
21st centuries. One is the fact that we very gradually
converted the country into the most authoritarian state
in the western world. The other is that so few Canadians
objected to this when it was happening. One instance that
may intrigue them, for example, is the appalling case
of Chris Kempling - appalling, anyway, to Kempling. Nobody
else seems much interested in it.
is (or was) a school teacher and counsellor in Quesnel,
B.C. He was suspended for one month by the B.C. College
of Teachers for writing letters to a newspaper criticizing
the B.C. sex-ed courses. The courses failed, he said,
to show that homosexual relationships are demonstrably
unstable, that homosexual activity poses a health risk,
and that many religions consider homosexual conduct immoral.
Kempling made no such comments in class.
were no parental or student complaints about his writing
the letters to the editor, nor were there complaints from
other teachers. In other words, his activity in this regard
was entirely off-campus. He was addressing the public
on a public issue, and expressing an opinion. The College
of Teachers ruled that all this was irrelevant because
"Mr. Kempling used his status as a teacher to give
credibility to his views."
short, when the teachers college takes a position on a
moral question, all members of the profession are thereupon
bound to either echo the view or shut up. Any violation
of this rule will bring suspension.
vain, Kempling looked around to see who would help him.
His union, the British Columbia Teachers Federation, beyond
providing some initial legal help, turned him down flat.
views are antithetical to our position about the inclusion
of gays, lesbians, transgendered and two-spirited people
in our society," says the president.
would the B.C. Civil Liberties Association take up his
cause. He should be fired as a school counsellor, says
president John Dixon. That the college could find no specific
impact on his students didn't matter. "If there are
gay students in that school - and you can bet your bottom
dollar there are - they're going to keep their heads down
and they certainly aren't going to resort to Mr. Kempling
is a Christian, said Dixon, and as a counsellor he favours
his religious conscience over his duties. How Dixon was
in a position to know what Kempling might do in pursuing
his duties, Dixon did not explain. Presumably, he believes
no person with religious beliefs should be employed as
a school counsellor because this danger would always exist.
Atheists only need apply.
church came to his help and contributed $30,000 to his
defence fund. A few voices in the media spoke up. The
Victoria Times-Colonist found it strange that the College
of Teachers could become so zealous in protecting homosexuality.
"Yet it can't bring itself to get rid of demonstrably
rotten teachers, and can only issue reprimands to some
who have had improper relationships with students, or,
in one recent case, flashed them."
The Vancouver Province, columnist Susan Martinuk called
the college "a supposedly enlightened bunch"
who sought to refuse to certify teachers from Trinity
Western College because they might be Christians and therefore
says the ruling will ruin his career, since the college's
decision will be circulated to every school division on
a Commons committee is considering a bill that would make
the reading of biblical injunctions against homosexuality
in a church a "hate crime" under the Criminal
Code. Another court fines a parent for spanking his teenaged
son with a belt, while yet another court endorses the
action of a social worker in seizing a whole family of
kids because their parents were known to occasionally
spank them. Throw in other endeavours by courts and governments
and you see emerging the western world's No. 1 totalitarian
state, all developed in the name of human rights. Yes,
it will be very hard for future historians to understand.