Law Matters John Carpay

Law Matters John Carpay

Jason Kenney, Alberta’s new Premier, stated on election night that “parents know better than politicians what is best for their kids.” His United Conservative Party platform repeatedly referred to “Alberta’s successful tradition of school choice” and “the primary role of parents in choosing how their children are taught.”

The UCP platform promises 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 and GSA-related activities at schools.

However, the UCP platform leaves in place Bill 10, the law rushed through the legislature, in a matter of hours, by then-Progressive Conservative Premier Jim Prentice. Passed in 2015, 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 or character of the school.

When Bill 10 was rushed through the legislature in a matter of hours, without any public consultation or meaningful input from Alberta’s parents, proponents of the Bill, along with all political parties represented in the legislature, 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 do offer peer support, the scope of their activities is much broader than these claims.

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 graphic pornography and other vile materials. Apart from that government website, various other GSA websites make it abundantly clear that GSAs espouse beliefs about sexual morality, marriage and gender that are entirely incompatible with what Islam, Christianity, Orthodox Judaism, and other religions teach about sexuality.

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. 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. 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.

Also before the courts’s affidavit was 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 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. The students were also given, to take home, a graphic, step-by-step instruction manual on 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 sexualizing children and exposing them 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, not to mention the freedom to incorporate the school’s faith traditions into such groups or clubs. Rather, Bill 10 specifically required GSAs, by that name.

Given the silence of Alberta’s Catholic bishops and Catholic school trustees, none of whom has publicly denounced Bill 10 since it was passed over four years ago, the heroic work of Donna Trimble and Theresa Ng at Parents for Choice in Education stands out. Thanks to them, many more parents understand what is at the heart of Bills 10 and 24: a failure to respect the right of parents to be informed, and a lack of respect for diverse schools to live out their mission and values while being true to their religious culture and character.

Sadly, 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. One hopes that, this position comes from a state of ignorance about the reality of GSAs being ideological clubs whose purpose is to promote anti-Christian (and anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish, anti-Sikh, etc.) beliefs about sexuality. Anyone who understands the truth about GSAs would not affirm a child’s “right” to set up such clubs.