By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
On September 30, Bethany Paquette, a biology graduate from Trinity Western University, filed a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal against Amaruk Wilderness Corp. The company allegedly discriminated Paquette based on her religion by sending her several emails questioning her beliefs.
The emails, which have been released to the public, occurred throughout September, with Paquette’s original email dated September 10. Paquette applied for an “assistant internship guide” position in the Yukon to represent Amaruk’s Canadian division; Amaruk is supposedly based in Norway. Amaruk wilderness guide and instructor Olaf Amundsen responded to Paquette on September 11, stating she was not qualified for the position. He then stated:
“Unlike Trinity Western University, we embrace diversity, and the right of people to sleep with or marry whoever they want.”
Amundsen’s response was referring to Trinity Western’s controversial enrolment strategy, which requires students to pledge they will not engage in sexual activity prior to a heterosexual marriage.
The email from Amundsen went on to say, “In addition, the Norse background of most of the guys at the management level means that we are not a Christian organization, and most of us actually see Christianity as having destroyed our culture, tradition, and way of life.”
Paquette’s claims have since been approved by the BC Human Rights Tribunal, and the situation is to be investigated.
Amaruk Wilderness Corp. may not exist
Paquette originally brought the story to CBC, which made headlines on October 7. As information has developed over the past several days, Amaruk’s legitimacy has been called into question.
Several women who allegedly have similar histories with Amaruk have begun to tell their stories. One such woman, Stephanie Waterman, told CBC about an experience with Amaruk regarding an “executive assistant to the CEO” application she later pulled out from. Waterman said, “When I cancelled the interview, I received about 15 emails in quick succession.
“All pretending to be from different people involved with the company, and all very litigious, accusing me and my friend of slander. My feeling is that it’s all one person.”
CBC has also expressed difficulty in contacting anyone from the company, reporting that of the numbers listed by Amaruk, all those CBC has called have been answered by a “hold signal.” Others have found that various images used by Amaruk, including the Google Plus profile picture of Fragassi-Bjørnsen, were from other sources—Fragassi-Bjørnsen’s photo was apparently taken from Pinterest.
Despite the question of whether or not Amaruk is an actual company, Paquette’s discrimination claims will still go forward.