Last updated on February 1st, 2024 at 09:28 am
The United Conservative Party (UCP) of Alberta, Canada, is preparing to introduce a policy that reinforces parental rights within the education system. Premier Danielle Smith announced the move following a promise made last November and expects the legislation to be published soon. Addressing listeners of her Corus radio call-in show, Smith emphasized that parents are the main caregivers and educators of their kids, a principle the UCP staunchly upholds.
The policy’s announcement comes on the heels of a resolution passed by UCP members last November calling for supporting “comprehensive parental rights” in education. Despite Smith acknowledging these policies as non-binding and mere recommendations, she did state that the party’s government backs the grassroots process.
Smith revealed that while initial consultations for such a policy have already taken place, the goal was to find a balance between protecting a child’s innocence for as long as possible, and allowing them to grow into adulthood, making their own decisions. The proposed legislation follows similar measures introduced in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, which have faced backlash from the LGBT community.
The policy envisages mandatory parental consent for students 15 and under who want to change their names or pronouns at school, while students 16 and 17 would not need consent, but their parents must be notified. Gender reassignment surgery is to be banned for those 17 and under.
Puberty blockers and hormone therapies for the purpose of gender reassignment or affirmation would also not be allowed for children 15 and under, while those 16 and 17 years old will be allowed to begin hormone therapies if they are deemed mature enough and have parent, physician and psychologist approval.
Parents must be notified and give consent for their child to be taught about gender identity, human sexuality and sexual orientation and all third-party resource materials used to teach these subjects from kindergarten through Grade 12 must be approved in advance by the education ministry.
Transgender athletes will not be allowed to compete in women’s categories. Instead, expanded coed leagues or other gender-neutral divisions will be set up for them.