Battle over parental rights continues after Alberta election
Jason Kenney, Alberta’s Premier-designate, stated on election night that “parents know better than politicians what is best for their kids.” His United Conservative Party (UCP) education policy repeatedly referred to “Alberta’s successful tradition of school choice” and “the primary role of parents” in educating their children.
Kenney has promised to repeal Bill 24, which requires teachers and principals to keep all parents in the dark about what is going on with their own children regarding Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) and GSA-related activities at schools. This secrecy law applies to all children, including five-year-olds in kindergarten.
However, the UCP plans would leave in place Bill 10, the law rushed through the Legislature by then Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice.
Passed in a matter of hours, Bill 10 forces every school in Alberta (public, Catholic, independent, etc.) to set up a GSA, or to hold a GSA-related activity, at the request of a student. Principals must, by law, set up a GSA when a student requests it, regardless of the mission and character of the school, and regardless of any parental concerns.
When Bill 10 was rushed through the Legislature, without any public consultation or meaningful input from Alberta’s parents, the four political parties then represented in the Legislature all assured Albertans that GSAs were merely peer support groups for vulnerable children: “Why do you have a problem with kids connecting over pizza at lunch time?”
While GSAs can offer peer support, the scope of their activities is much broader.
First, the Alberta government set up a GSA website, supervised by discredited LGBTQ activist Kris Wells. The GSA website, directed at K-12 children as young as five, had links to pornographic depictions and other vile materials.
Apart from that government website, various other GSA websites show that GSAs advocate beliefs about sexual morality, marriage and gender that are hostile to what Islam, Christianity, Orthodox Judaism and other religions teach about sexuality.
Second, in a court action filed against Bills 10 and 24 by Alberta schools and parents, affidavit evidence tells the story of a vulnerable autistic girl who was persuaded by her school’s GSA that she was a boy. She was encouraged to wear boy’s clothing, use a male name, and use the boys’ locker room, all without her parents knowing.
The girl was also presented with one-sided information that sung the praises of “transitioning” to the opposite gender, without any mention of documented harm and risks. It wasn’t until the girl became suicidal that GSA leaders and other teachers finally informed the girl’s parents. There was no evidence that the parents were anything other than loving and fully supportive of their daughter; there was no reason to keep them in the dark.
Third, courts have evidence about a 15-year-old who was encouraged to attend a day-long GSA conference away from school. When the boy raised concerns that his mother would not approve of him missing a day’s worth of classes, the school’s GSA facilitators told him,“Your mother will never know; we won’t tell her.”
At the GSA conference, he and other children were shown how to put a condom on a banana, and were provided with a graphic booklet showing, in detailed full-colour, how to engage in anal intercourse.
Apart from the government’s GSA website and these other unfortunate facts, it was clear from the get-go that Bill 10 was about political activists using GSAs to expose children to a “progressive” perspective on sexuality.
Bill 10 does not require “peer support groups” or “anti-bullying clubs” that would enjoy the support of parents, or that would be respectful of a school’s beliefs, mission, vision and purpose. Rather, Bill 10 specifically requires GSAs, by that name.
While the UCP platform includes some good principles about parental rights in education, Jason Kenney has stated publicly that children have a “right” to set up GSAs at schools. Presumably this position stems from a lack of understanding about the reality of GSAs being ideological clubs that promote anti-Christian (and anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish, anti-Sikh, etc.) beliefs about sexuality. In Alberta, the battle over religious freedom and parental rights in education is far from over.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (www.jccf.ca), which represents parents and schools in a constitutional court challenge to Bills 10 and 24.