The leader of Alberta’s new United Conservative Party (UCP) is going back on his pledge to support parental rights policies championed by his base. Jason Kenney stunned supporters by saying he wouldn’t act on a position passed at the UCP’s first policy convention: the notification of parents when their child joins after-school clubs, including “gay-straight alliances.”
The leader said the party wouldn’t make that part of its platform. “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.
His refusal to take the parental rights resolution on board went against his earlier promise to honour a “grassroots guarantee.” During his campaign for party leadership, Kenney promised members that they themselves would set the new party’s agenda. “I think that our new United Conservative Party should ensure that you, the grassroots members, are in charge, that you develop the policies of this new party and give the leadership its marching orders,” he said in a campaign video.
The official “Grassroots Guarantee” website has disappeared from the Internet. On May 7, Kenney told reporters that this was due to a “technical issue.” However, by press time on May 9 the “Grassroot Guarantee” was still offline.
Kenney’s refusal to take seriously the rights of parents to be informed of their children’s school activities is another disappointment to those who hailed the veteran politician as a champion of social conservatives.
In April the UCP leader said that he would not be voting against a measure aimed at curbing freedom of pro-life speech outside abortion businesses. “I will be abstaining from the vote as well as most of our caucus,” Kenney told reporters at the Alberta legislature. He said that NDP’s abortion “safe zone” law, which Health Minister Sarah Hoffman introduced last Thursday, isn’t about abortion, but merely a distraction from the NDP government’s “failed economic record.”
“We’re not going to play games with divisive social issues,” Kenney said. “We’re here to focus on job creation and economic growth, (and) market access for energy products.”
Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson criticized Kenney for not protecting freedom of speech. “The NDP are not playing games,” Gunnarson told LifeSiteNews. “They are trampling on pro-lifers’ rights whenever they can get away with it, and shame on Kenney for not standing up for basic human rights and freedoms.”
Kenney had an impeccable pro-life voting record during his 19 years as a federal MP in Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. As UCP leader, he’s reiterated his personal pro-life convictions, but has been clear his party won’t initiate abortion legislation as government.
A version of this article originally appeared May 10 at LifeSiteNews and is used with permission.