Edmonton Queer History Project

Celebrating the People, Places, and Events that built the Queer Community in Edmonton

Lobbying the Alberta Government in the 1980s by Sheryl Ackerman

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Changing the Individual Rights Protection Act was a Sheryl Ackerman has provided us with a history of letters lobbying to change the Individual Rights Protection Act and efforts to end discrimination based on sexual orientation. Click here to download in PDF: Letters re lobbying submission Revised

On June 5, 1989, in the Alberta Legislature, MLA Marie Laing introduced Bill 225, an Act to Amend the Individual’s Rights Protection Act. This Act would make discrimination based on sexual orientation or mental disability unlawful.

Many of us, including Pauline Bélanger (my spouse) and I, Sheryl Ackerman, wrote to MLAs in support of this bill. Here are two letters we received in response that summer, plus a copy of the proposed bill. The bill did not succeed, despite the fact that the Human Rights Commission in Alberta had recommended inclusion of sexual orientation as a protected category in 1977, 1981 and 1985. Lobbying continued, but the law did not change until 20 years later, in June 2009.

Note: The letter from Pam Barrett is personalized because she was our next-door neighbour at Sundance Co-op!

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