The human rights commissioner of a Canadian province was told to step down on Thursday for alleged anti-Islam comments, with Justice Minister Tyler Shandro issuing an order for the official's resignation.
Shandro’s department did not formally announce it had removed Collin May as head of the commission. Instead, it emailed the media without comment a copy of the official Cabinet order rescinding May’s job as human rights chief and member of the commission.
The Cabinet order contained no reasons for the decision or comment from Shandro.
The move comes after May’s newly hired legal representation tweeted he would not be resigning. On Thursday, May refused, saying he does not hold the views expressed back in 2009. The comments were included in a book review written by May and he insists the opinion expressed was that of the author, not his own.
There now appears to be a stalemate as May has hired a lawyer to fight for his job. He was appointed to head the Alberta Human Rights Commission in May.
More than two dozen Muslim groups wrote a letter on Sept. 12 and asked Alberta Minister of Justice Tyler Shandro to fire May.
The request came after written remarks made by May in 2009 recently came to light where he said that Islam was "not a peaceful religion misused by radicals. Rather it is one of the most militaristic religions known to man."
The Muslim groups initially asked to meet with May to discuss the remarks and May said he would. But several dates were put forth by the Muslim community to meet and May declined them all, citing scheduling conflicts.
The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) then wrote the letter to Shandro, urging the minister to get May's resignation. The NCCM also noted that May had threatened to sue his critics.
The Minister of Justice, who hired May, agreed and because he failed to meet with the Muslim groups as promised, ordered the human rights chief to resign earlier this week./DS