EDMONTON, Alberta, April 7, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Alberta Progressive Conservative leader Jason Kenney’s support for parental rights has provoked attacks from the province’s and country’s sexual and political progressives.
Even lesbian Alberta-born performer k.d. lang added her voice, dredging up an old rumor that Kenney is homosexual. She tweeted, “Your gay aren’t you? @jkenney.”
Lang has joined the NDP, media pundits and LGBT activists in attacking Kenney.
Alberta Education Minister David Eggen added to the furor by issuing an order to all school boards forbidding them from informing parents if they join the clubs or otherwise identify themselves as homosexual or transgender. “I am telling you today that such notification should not occur,” he said. “We have heard loud and clear from students that GSAs … save lives.”
Brian Jean, the leader of the official opposition Wildrose Party now in merger talks with Kenney’s PCs, initially supported the NDP position that schools should not tell parents, which is in full opposition to Kenney.
But two days later, Calgary Sun columnist Rick Bell reported, Jean changed his position to one remarkably close to Kenney’s. Now Jean says that sometimes parents should be notified and school authorities should decide case by case and always in the best interest of the child. He termed Eggen’s letter to boards “heavy handed.”
The NDP brought out comments Kenney made 19 years ago criticizing the Supreme Court of Canada for finding against an Alberta Christian school that fired a homosexual teacher. Kenney, then a young federal MP, accused the judges of “legislating from the bench.” Based on this, NDP MLAs now depicted Kenney as homophobic.
Veteran Calgary Herald political columnist Don Braid reported that “The New Democrats hung PC leader Jason Kenney from the legislative rafters like a symbolic piñata on Monday smacking and twisting his image with great delight.”
In Kenney’s talk with the Herald, he avoided responding directly to several pointed questions about whether schools should be required to tell parents if children self-identify as homosexual or transgender. But he did tell the Herald board, “I do, however, believe parents have a right to know what’s going on with their kids in the schools unless the parents are abusive.” The issue, moreover, was “complex.”
This prompted Dr. Kristopher Wells, head of the University of Alberta’s Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, to tweet, “The only things that seems ‘complex’ is Kenney’s failed support for LGBTQ youth.”
Richard Einarson, a spokesman for Progress Alberta and Safe Schools Alberta, tweeted, “If you’re choked that @jkenney supports forcing schools to ‘out’ LGBTQ children, you’ve chosen to ignore the history on LGBTQ rights.”
After the NDP launched their attack, Kenney went to Facebook to deny he said “the law” should “force schools to release information to parents.” However, he added, “Nor should it create an adversarial relationship between parents and their children.”
The Herald’s Braid took the NDP side and their position that parents will harass and persecute children they learn are homosexual. “The trouble with this [Kenney’s statement], as every LGBTQ advocate knows, is that parents don’t have to be physical abusers to bitterly reject a gay child.”
Another leading columnist, the Edmonton Journal’s Paula Simons, took Kenney to task for his views. “A gay-straight alliance is not a sex club. It’s not a therapy group for LGBTQ kids. It’s not a program of homosexual brainwashing, designed to convert straight kids into queer or trans ones. A GSA is just a student club.”
Across the country in Toronto, left-of-center columnist, the Star’s Emma Teitel, also went after Kenney for allegedly misrepresenting gay-straight alliances. After visiting a few GSA meetings in Ontario, she reported, “The only depravity on display at such clubs is unrestrained pizza eating. In fact, GSAs are so regularly maligned by social conservatives and plagued by public misconceptions about their supposedly ‘perverted’ agenda [she did not name her source] that they have no choice but to operate in an unnaturally wholesome fashion.”
Defending Kenney is Donna Trimble, the head of Parents for Choice in Education. She told LifeSiteNews that Kenney’s defense of parental involvement is based on solid science.
Trimble cited the 2012 Trans Pulse survey of Ontario transgender and homosexual youth indicating the importance of parental involvement for healthy outcomes for transgender and homosexual youth.
“We want to expand the support systems for sexual minority students. What the government is advocating is cutting students off from parents. They are narrowing the support available. But what Trans Pulse shows is that parents and family are the best support system these children could have,” Trimble told LifeSite.
“Kenney’s position is very close to Parents for Choice in Education,” she added.
Trimble urged Alberta parents to “thank Jason Kenney for his courage,” via [email protected].
Trimble also noted that the government’s and Paula Simon’s depiction of GSAs as innocent school clubs is contradicted by revelations last month from the Informed Albertans group. It identified that the Alberta GSA Network website, established by the NDP government for gay-straight club members, provided links to “sexually graphic material.” Students potentially as young as five could find advice on oral sex, bondage and the best sexual positions.
Now the links to explicit sites have all been removed, she noted, “but there has been no apology from the government,” and no consequences for Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services, which set up the GSA Network.
Trimble also lambasted Wildrose Party leader Brian Jean for supporting the NDP position on keeping GSA membership secret from parents. At the same time, Jean has been silent about the ISMSS.
Kenney has accused the New Democratic government of attempting to distract the public from its policy miscues. In a Facebook post, he said, “The NDP is so desperate to avoid discussing their failed economic record that they actually want to re-litigate controversies from decades ago.”
At least part of what brought down the PCs after five decades in power was the defection of social conservatives to the Wildrose and of true liberals to the NDP. Now most rank-and-file in both the Wildrose and Progressive Conservatives want the parties to merge.
Cameron Wilson, political coordinator of the Wilberforce Project (formerly Alberta Pro-life), said the NDP’s attack on “the big, bad parents and school boards” will win it the support of the Alberta Teachers Association and LGBT activists. However, it will not win mainstream support, he says.
Kenney, who won the Tory leadership campaigning for merger, seems the likely leader of a new party. Jean, who has only lately warmed up to the idea and has much less political experience and prestige than Kenney, seems sure to lose in a head-to-head contest.
The NDP are using sexual politics as a wedge to keep Alberta’s social conservatives, who dominate the Wildrose Party, apart from its fiscal conservatives, who prefer the PCs, said Wilson. “But the idea that social conservatism is a poison pill is overstated,” he added.
Kenney, a Catholic convert and ardent pro-lifer, campaigned as a fiscal conservative to win the PC leadership. Wilson sees him well placed to bring about the merger and appeal to mainstream Albertans alarmed by the NDP’s ideological sexual and environmental policies.