Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleWrite letter to editor  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad  Print this page

Website riles school board

Jason Unrau
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Oct 04/06) - Yellowknife Catholic Schools' legal battle to keep non-believers off the board may be on hold, but the battle between incumbents rages on in cyberspace.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Amy Hacala's Internet website, where in the past she has posted her thoughts on religion, same-sex marriage and abortion. - Jason Unrau/NNSL photo

In a 13-page letter, YCS superintendent Kern Von Hagen urges returning officer Debbie Euchner to declare incumbent Amy Hacala and her mother, Debora Simpson, ineligible board candidates. Von Hagen quotes Hacala's website:

"It seems as though God and religion and the stories that go with it are just a fuzzy blanket to wrap around your mind to prevent you from having to deal with the reality of the situation," Hacala posted on her website Aug. 31. "Does faith make you mentally weak? A little less capable or willing to engage in critical, rational thought? I cannot help but think so."

The Catholic school board and Von Hagen have challenged Euchner's decision to allow non-Catholics to run, which she based on the territorial government's Local Authorities Elections Act.

In Von Hagen's letter to Euchner, he suggests non-Catholics could impede the board.

"(Hacala) is entitled to hold these views and express them," writes Von Hagen, "(but they) demonstrate that a mix on a Catholic school board of Catholics and non-Catholics with different opinions on matters of fundamental importance may lead to undesirable conflict over issues which are central to a Catholic school board."

Hacala's website, called On The Present Moment, contains other opinions contrary to Catholic teaching.

In a July 10 post entitled, 30 Things To Know About Me, she states her opinion on sex, abortion and gay marriage.

"I think same-sex marriage should be legal (and) women should have access to safe, professional first-trimester abortions," writes Hacala.

References to her experiences with premarital sex also appear.

Asked about her website, Hacala conceded some of her musings may have been inappropriate considering her status as a board member at the time of the posts.

"I will concede that I shouldn't have posted (the premarital sex reference), it was probably in bad taste," she told Yellowknifer. "My intended audience for that website was for friends and family and I didn't think it would be the subject of the local media."

However, Hacala doesn't feel the website and her position as an incumbent Catholic school board member are in conflict.

"That's who I am (and) I'm not going to apologize for the fact I agree with abortion or same-sex marriage," she said. "There should be a difference between my candidacy and the principle non-Catholics should be able to stand for election. I'm certainly not Catholic but I believe in spirituality, that there's something we can't explain. I can't explain it and I haven't found yet the religion that explains it to me."

While Hacala has since removed her 30 Things To Know About Me, on Monday she posted excerpts from Bishop Denis Croteau's letter urging Catholic parents to vote for Catholic board members in the Oct. 16 election.