EDMONTON, Alberta, March 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — UCP leader Jason Kenney has set off a firestorm of controversy three weeks before Albertans go to the polls with his campaign promise to roll back an NDP law prohibiting schools from telling parents when their child joins a Gay-Straight Alliance.
Kenney announced Monday that if elected on April 16, a UCP government would replace the NDP’s School Act with the 2014 Education Act which the former Progressive Conservative government passed, but never proclaimed.
Doing so would eliminate NDP Bill 24, which bans schools from telling parents when their child joins a GSA and requires independent, faith-based schools to publicly post anti-bullying policies.
Kenney said the Education Act retains Bill 10, which requires schools to allow a GSA if a student requests one, but does not mandate private schools adopt anti-bullying policies.
The UCP party supports GSAs and a UCP government will give Alberta “the strongest legal protection for GSAs in Canada,” Kenney said at a campaign stop Tuesday in Edmonton, the Edmonton Journal reported.
The UCP also opposes “mandatory notification of parents about membership in peer-support groups, including GSAs,” Kenney said.
“However, using the blunt instrument of the law to tell a teacher that under no circumstances can they communicate with parents is not a moderate approach,” he said.
Teachers should have discretion to decide whether to inform parents when a student joins a GSA, Kenney said.
“I believe in the vast majority of cases, teachers are not going to communicate with parents about this, but in some unique cases … engaging the loving support of a parent is entirely reasonable,” he said, as quoted in the Star Edmonton.
“We want safe schools, we want peer support for kids who need it,” Kenney said Monday.
“I think we can do that while respecting the basic religious freedoms of faith-based independent schools.”
But despite these reassurances, backlash by LGBTQ advocates who allege the UCP plan will harm homosexual and transgender students has been swift and startling, with the hashtag #QueerkidsAB climbing to the top trending spot in Canada by Tuesday night, Edmonton CityNews reported.
There was also a “March for Gay-Straight Alliances” Wednesday night from the Alberta Legislature Building to Kenney's Edmonton campaign headquarters. The march was attended by 500 people who waved “Pride” and “Transgender” flags and chanted: “Hey Jason, leave our kids alone” and “One, two, three, four, our kids are who we’re fighting for,” the Edmonton Journal reported.
The Alberta Teachers’ Association blasted Kenney’s plan to roll back Bill 24, with ATA president Greg Jeffery describing the bill as a “comfort for teachers, because they knew where they stood,” reported the Star Edmonton.
NDP leader Rachel Notley said at a campaign stop in Calgary the UCP plan would have “cruel and hurtful consequences.”
Kenney “is proposing once again to out LGBTQ kids in our schools who would join a GSA,” she said, as quoted in the Edmonton Journal. “This matter has been settled. The debate has been had.”
Kenney not going far enough: Campaign Life
However, Alberta parents’ rights group Parents for Choice in Education (PCE) say the allegation that the UCP plan “is a step backward for the safety of sexual and gender minority youth in Alberta schools” is “superficial fear-mongering” and false.
Bill 24 is unconstitutional and “isolates and endangers children, undermines the parent-child bond and strips school autonomy,” PCE stated in a Tuesday blog.
And Campaign Life Coalition, Canada’s national pro-life, pro-family political lobbying group, says Kenney has not gone far enough.
Rolling back Bill 24 is “a step in the right direction, but does not take the UCP nearly far enough down the road to total freedom from the gay lobby’s chokehold on Alberta families,” Campaign Life director of political operations Jack Fonseca told LifeSiteNews in an email.
“Kenney still supports the tyranny of forcing publicly-funded schools to set up a gay pride club whenever a student demands one. That’s not acceptable. Parents and the school should have a say in this,” he said.
The UCP should adopt the policy of the Alberta Advantage Party, “which would eliminate the mandatory legal requirement for schools to establish GSAs, and leave it entirely up to the discretion of the school.”
Moreover, Campaign Life supports the resolution passed at the UCP’s policy convention in May that schools notify parents when their child is involved in any subject of a religious or sexual nature, including GSA — a policy Kenney then vetoed.
“Let me be absolutely stone-cold clear: a United Conservative government will not be changing law or policy to require notification of parents when kids join GSAs,” Kenney said at the time.
GSAs are in reality ‘gay pride clubs’: CLC
Kenney “needs to pledge that he will make it mandatory for schools to inform parents of their child’s involvement in a gay pride club, which, in reality, is what GSAs truly are,” Fonseca said.
“Contrary to the mendacious claims of the NDP, their media allies, and even Jason Kenney, a GSA has nothing to do with anti-bullying or supporting students who have been bullied for same-sex attraction,” he said.
A GSA is “just a gay pride club whose mission is to celebrate homosexual “marriage”, transgender ideology, and to marginalize and bully students and staff who believe in a biblical definition of human sexuality,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews.
Moreover, it’s never mentioned in the media that “quite often adult gay-activists from the community are brought into the school GSA meetings to ‘support’ the same-sex attracted or sexually-confused students,” he said.
“Sometimes, outings are organized by the club which takes students to external locations and events frequented by homosexual adults…This is a recipe for things to go very wrong.”
Moreover, the UCP plan to leave it up to the school’s discretion to inform parents “falls apart where the schools are run by pro-LGBT activists who despise the very concept of parental rights, or who are totally in the tank for the LGBT agenda,” Fonseca told LifeSiteNews.
Kenney “needs to give parents more relief than this from the encroaching homo-fascism,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms has launched a Charter challenge against Bill 24 on behalf of a group of parents and private faith-based schools.
The JCCF reported in October that Deputy Minister Curtis Clark had threatened religious schools with defunding and loss of accreditation if they did not remove religious content from their “Safe and Caring” school policies.
In December, NDP Education Minister David Eggen issued ministerial orders to 28 independent faith-based schools and threatened to cut their funding for their alleged non-compliance with Bill 24, the CBC reported.