Wildrose to set up special court to hear complaints on conscience rights

Wildrose leader Danielle Smith won’t say where she stands on the controversial issue of conscience rights, but says her party would set up a court system to handle complaints.

EDMONTON — Wildrose leader Danielle Smith won’t say where she stands on the controversial issue of conscience rights, but says her party would set up a court system to handle complaints.

Smith says her party believes that when conscience rights come into conflict with other rights, they need to be resolved by judges and lawyers examining evidence.

Conscience rights include allowing physicians and marriage commissioners to opt out of performing work they are morally opposed to, such as performing abortions or marrying same-sex couples.

Smith says if her party wins power in the April 23 election, she will set up a separate division of the provincial court to resolve complaints from people denied service on those grounds.

Conscience rights were a heated issue in Saskatchewan last year, when its high court ruled that a marriage commissioner did not have the right to opt out of marrying gays for religious reasons.

Smith was asked twice by reporters what her personal beliefs are, but declined to answer, saying only that she takes her “marching orders” from her party and from Albertans.

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