Former head of Alberta Human Rights Commission suing justice minister over dismissal

EDMONTON — The former head of the Alberta Human Rights Commission is suing the province's justice minister claiming wrongful dismissal.

Collin May's statement of claim alleges Tyler Shandro gave in to political pressure from a well-orchestrated effort by members and supporters of the Opposition New Democratic Party.

Kathryn Marshall, May's lawyer, says her client was hired on a five-year contract on the same basis as any other civil servant and was not given the basic rights he was due under Canadian law.

May was ostensibly fired over concerns raised by a book review he wrote in 2009, in which he quoted statements saying Islam was a fundamentally violent religion.

The lawsuit alleges the New Democrats wanted May removed because they feared he would expose sexual harassment problems at the commission when the party was in government.

Allegations contained in the lawsuit have not been proven in court.

NDP justice critic Irfan Sabir says the allegations are an attempt to draw attention from May's statements.

A spokesman for Shandro declined to comment, saying the matter is before the courts.

The Canadian Press