EDMONTON, March 30, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — Alberta NDP Education Minister Dave Eggen has slammed Jason Kenney’s defence of parental rights as “extremist.”
Kenney, newly elected leader of the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party, told Postmedia’s editorial board Tuesday he would not repeal Bill 10, which mandates schools must provide pro-homosexual gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs if a student requests it.
“I do, however, think that parents have a right to know what's going on with their kids in the schools unless the parents are abusive,” added Kenney.
“I don’t think it’s right to keep secrets from parents about challenges their kids are going through.”
The education system “should be predicated on the presumption that the vast majority of parents are good, loving, caring people who have the best interests of their children at heart,” he said.
Eggen, who last week ordered two private Christian schools to allow GSAs or be shut down, reacted quickly.
“Jason Kenney has shown, once you scratch the paint off a little bit, you find the extremist that he actually is,” he told the CBC Wednesday.
The NDP minister made similar remarks on Facebook that morning: “With the comments Jason Kenney has made, he is effectively outing himself … as an extremist.”
Eggen assured students that “We are here for you.” He ended his post with: “You can still contact me for help at anytime at [email protected]”
But parental rights’ advocate Theresa Ng says the NDP education minister “has got it all wrong.”
“David Eggen has the audacity to say that those who advocate for parental involvement in their children’s lives are ‘extremist?’” she wrote on her blog Informed Albertans.
Ng broke the story two weeks ago that the Alberta GSA Network website, which the NDP education ministry funds and recommends, included links “directing K-12 children to sexually graphic material, including advertisements for sex toys, graphic images of BDSM and advice to ‘pay for porn.’”
Since Ng’s revelations, links to 18 such “resources” have been removed from the website, which was produced by the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minorities Studies and Services (ISMSS).
Eggen has offered “no public apology for the fact that his department funded and recommended a website that led children to sexually graphic material,” wrote Ng.
Nor has the minister assured the public that Alberta Education is no longer employing the people who “recklessly and incompetently organized” the website, or that they are not involved in the province’s curriculum overhaul, she wrote.
Meanwhile, Kenney also took to Facebook to defend himself from critics, some of whom accused him of wanting to “out” students who identified at school as homosexual.
‘This simply is not true. I have never said this, nor do I believe it,” Kenney wrote.
“In some cases informing parents would clearly be inappropriate. Longstanding laws and protocols exist to protect children from potentially abusive parents,” he wrote.
“The law should neither force schools to release information to parents, nor should it create an adversarial relationship between parents and their children.”
Kenney, who won the PC leadership race two weeks ago in a landslide victory, also reiterated he has “stated repeatedly” he won’t repeal Bill 10.
The NDP caucus claimed in a Wednesday statement that Kenney was calling for a repeal of the law, while the Alberta Liberals said Kenney’s comments that “outing students runs contrary to the intent of the law and is deeply concerning,” according to the National Post.
The Wildrose Party, “which is in negotiations with Kenney’s PCs to unite under a new name, said local school boards should exercise their best judgment on whether or not parents should be notified,” the Post reported.
Bill 10, or “An Act to amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to protect our children,” was passed in 2015 under the former PC government with no public consultation and no debate.
The bill gives power to students to determine what clubs and activities are permitted at their school while stripping parents of their right to have a say in the matter.
In January, the NDP released controversial guidelines for implementing Bill 10. These state that the school administration must have a student’s “explicit permission” before telling parents about the student’s decision to dress or identify as a member of the opposite sex.
Eggen told the Post that Bill 10 currently does not prevent school officials from notifying parents, and he has “been looking at that very closely.”
In his remarks to Postmedia, Kenney also criticized Eggen’s “adversarial or aggressive approach” in ordering the private Christian schools to allow GSAs.
The NDP government should instead seek a “sensitive compromise that can ensure the safety of students and respect parental authority as well,” he said.
Kenney, who had a perfect pro-life voting record as a federal MP, called his March 18 win in the PC leadership race the “beginning of the end of this disastrous socialist government.”
Since its landslide May 2015 victory, the NDP government has attacked parental rights and forced a pro-LGBT agenda on Christian schools, compelling them to set up pro-homosexual GSAs and to implement transgender guidelines for forming school policy.
It has begun an overhaul of the province's K-12 curriculum with one of the goals being to normalize homosexuality, transgenderism, and gender fluidity.
André Schutten, legal counsel and director of Law and Policy for the Association for Reformed Political Action, told LifeSiteNews in an earlier interview that he was pleased that Kenney had defended parental rights.
But he also described Bill 10 as “bad law.”
If Bill 10 “cannot be repealed,” Schutten said, “it should be amended to make room for the great diversity of families and schools in Alberta,” including homeschooling families and families with children attending religious-based schools.