Centre Article: Cristina Alarcon's Open Letter to Alberta Pharmacists

February 27, 2009

Pharmacist and Conscience Activist Cristina Alarcon Sends an Open Letter to the Alberta College of Pharmacists

The freedom of citizens is not a once for all grant—it requires continual nurturing and vigilance when it is threatened in order that it remain active and alive. Once again Cristina Alarcon has stepped up to courteously engage those who are making changes to the rules governing her own profession; changes that threaten the proper exercise of conscience and dissent.

For years, as the Centre for Cultural Renewal has noted at conferences (at some of which Cristina has made presentations) and in publications of a wide variety of sorts (Lex View, Articles, and our Brief, last autumn, to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario—all of which are available on our website) that conscience needs to be protected in the professions and that threats exist against such protection and that all citizens ought to be concerned about these developments.

The increasingly coordinated manner in which the professions are having the scope of conscience and expression restricted ought to concern everyone whether or not they agree with the views of the dissenters. The conscience of pharmacists is being forced into one mould and that of physicians is also being threatened (as in Ontario). Teachers, too, are not exempt and we have seen that through their Professional Colleges (as in the Trinity Western University case and that of Dr. Chris Kempling more recently in British Columbia) pressures are being brought to stifle alternative viewpoints and conceptions of appropriate conduct.

Each of these individually and all together should call all of us to vigilant response since it is the free exercise of conscience and religion that stands between citizens and the omnipotent and coercive State.

Canadians must wake up to the urgency of these pressures amongst us and seek ways to make arguments in response to inordinate moves by all sorts of bodies (Professional Colleges and Human Rights Tribunals come immediately to mind here) in a manner that will, we trust, eventually succeed due to the justice of the claims they contain. It is for that reason we are circulating Cristina Alarcon's Open letter [no longer available].