In August of 2023 at the University of Regina, UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity filed a court application seeking to strike down Saskatchewan’s “Use of Preferred First Name and Pronouns by Students” policy. This policy protects children from being pressured or manipulated (absent parental knowledge and consent) into embarking on a dangerous and futile quest to become the opposite gender.
In September, UR Pride persuaded the Saskatchewan Court of King’s Bench to grant an interim injunction to suspend this policy pending a full court hearing (not to take place for at least two months), claiming that the policy violates children’s Charter rights.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe stated that his government will use Section 33 of the Charter, the notwithstanding clause, and pass legislation to ensure that Saskatchewan parents are fully informed when their children under the age of 16 wish to embark on a journey of gender transition by using opposite-sex names and pronouns. Section 33 gives our federal Parliament and provincial Legislatures the ability, through the passage of a law, to override a judge’s interpretation of certain Charter rights for renewable five-year terms.
In striking down this Saskatchewan policy, the Court seemed to assume that all parents are somehow dangerous, abusive, and untrustworthy, and therefore cannot be trusted as “experts” in regard to their own children. The Court embraced the ideological claim that all parents should be kept in the dark about what is happening with their own children at school.
The fact that a small number of drivers are a serious threat is not a valid reason for taking away everyone’s driving license. The law should target those who cause harm, while respecting the freedoms of everyone else.
The Court also assumes that the only way to help gender-confused children is to affirm any and all steps that a child may wish to take to adopt opposite-sex pronouns, names, clothing, etc.
The Court ignored the fact that Dr. Kenneth J. Zucker, head of the Gender Identity Service at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), helped hundreds of children and teenagers to accept their biological sex, saving them from a lifetime of drugs and surgeries that would need to be administered in the futile quest to acquire a biological body of the opposite sex. The vast majority of gender-confused children, when protected from ideologues and when supported by their parents, will be at peace with their sex by the time they reach the age of 18.
Children are entitled to the love, support, guidance, and nurturing of their own parents. When parents are kept in the dark by political activists, parents are severely hindered in providing these necessities to their children.
UR Pride claims that Saskatchewan’s new policy violates the “rights” of gender-diverse students under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. But, in fact, children do not enjoy privacy rights vis-à-vis their own parents. Because children are not adults, they legitimately have no right to drive, vote, get married, join the military, purchase liquor, etc. Claiming that children have adult rights is a perversion of the Charter.
Placing great reliance on evidence from Simon Fraser University sociology professor Travers – that is the professor’s full name—who uses “they/them” pronouns, the Court appeared to embrace fear-mongering that children who are not “affirmed” in their pursuit of a journey towards joining the opposite-sex are at risk of suicide. This ignores a comprehensive Swedish study showing that “fully transitioned” transgender adults, after having had healthy body parts removed and new artificial ones created, have higher suicide rates than the general population.
The Court considered irreparable harm to children only vis-à-vis the very small number who might have truly abusive parents. The Court ignored the irreparable harm that can result from keeping all parents in the dark, and disregarded the irreparable harm to children who are pressured, manipulated, and misinformed by political activists.
All-in-all, the Court provided no compelling reason as to why or how it benefits children to keep all parents (not just the very small number of abusive ones) in the dark about their own children.
The Saskatchewan government should be applauded for using Charter Section 33 to opt out of this court ruling.
John Carpay is the president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca).