Alberta human rights commission chief refuses to quit, retains lawyer |

The head of the Alberta Human Rights Commission refuses to step down despite Justice Minister Tyler Shandro’s request to do so on Monday.

Calgary attorney Collin May was appointed for a five-year term as head of the Alberta Human Rights Commission from Shandro in July after serving since 2019.

In May he was asked to resign from Shandro after the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) and 27 other community associations sent a letter to the Justice Minister on Monday.

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May’s review of the book by the British-Israeli historian Efraim Karsh Islamic Imperialism: A History in C2C Journal resurfaced in July after several community members voiced their concerns at the CNMC. The independent newspaper The Progress Report also wrote comments for July.

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In the review, May called religion a “militaristic” nature.

Since then, the NCCM has said it has sought to partner with May on several occasions to try to reconcile and build trust with Muslim communities. When May did not comply with what was agreed, he pushed the NCCM to ask for his resignation.

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May claimed he had no anti-Islamic views, and the editors of the book review said the essay made it clear that the offensive comments were the views of the author of the book and not May. .

May hired Toronto lawyer Kathryn Marshall, who tweeted Thursday that he would not quit.

“My client, the first openly gay head of the Alberta Human Rights Commission, will not resign from his position,” Marshall said in an emailed statement to Global News.

“My client has been targeted by politically motivated individuals and groups who sell a misleading interpretation of a book review he wrote 13 years ago.”

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NDP justice critic Irfan Sabir said Shandro had the power to fire the head of the human rights commission and should do so.

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“Mr. Shandro has the power to fire him and he should continue,” Irfan said at an independent press conference Thursday.

“We know that Muslim communities have been part of this province and this country for over 100 years… They have contributed significantly to the economic, political and social life of this province.

“In order for a person to express prejudicial and Islamophobic views about a significant population of this province, he should not be appointed chairman of the (Alberta Human Rights Commission).”

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The NCCM declined Global News’s request for comment, saying it was not releasing a statement or conducting interviews at this time.

“We are currently monitoring new developments and want to make sure we have all the information before doing any interviews,” said Said Omar, Advocacy Officer for NCCM of Alberta.

770 CHQR contacted the Justice Department and the Attorney General with a request for comment.

With files from The Canadian Press.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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