Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of November 20, 2000
Museum alters video
Disabled group still feels Latimer portrayed as merciful
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
David Goa would like nothing more than for what Robert Latimer did to his daughter to never have happened. Goa, a curator with the Provincial Museum of Alberta, would have been happy not to include an event so un-Christian in his exhibit, Anno Domini: Jesus Through the Centuries.
"But (Latimer) is not the issue here," said Goa, whose inclusion of Latimer in a 15-minute introductory video has received much debate particularly from the Alberta Association of Community Living.
Under orders from the Minister of Community and Development, Stan Woloshyn, the video has been changed. It no longer includes Latimer's face, but still carries comments from his wife and a Crown prosecutor.
"It's about the issues in the times of Jesus and how they are alive today," Goa said. "It's so bizarre to see it in that context."
Goa is referring to the interpretation members of AACL have given to the video which they say portrays Latimer's killing of his 11-year-old daughter Tracy, who suffered from severe cerebral palsy, as an act of mercy.
"(The video) is still provoking the idea of whether it was murder or mercy," said Wanda Dennelly, spokesperson for the AACL. "It was murder, no question about it. Why are we even thinking it might be mercy?"
Latimer, a Saskatchewan farmer, was sentenced to 10 years in prison but is free awaiting a Supreme Court decision.
The AACL protested the video last month. The association met with museum representatives and Woloshyn Nov. 7.
The minister said the association misinterpreted the segment, but that Latimer's picture would be removed and changes would be made to the video. He called the move "not censorship in any way shape or form. It's just an effort to improve - although I didn't think there was room for any improvements - on a very, very good exhibit."
Goa said they changed the clip, "but it still speaks of this haunting story."
But the association is far from satisfied with the minister's decision and the changes in the video. They want the Latimer case excluded from the video and an accompanying publication.
"They decided to edit the video without really listening to us," Dennelly said.
She is concerned over the impact the video will have on students visiting the museum.
"Some of them might have (a disabled) student in their class. They see a video of this kid who was suffering and her dad put her out of her misery, like she's the family dog. What does that say to them?"
The AACL is planning a protest at the museum. It has also distributed a petition throughout North America and may launch a human rights complaint or constitutional challenge.