Bill 202: Gay-Straight Alliances (Alberta) Tag

26 Nov 2014 Alberta Take Action to Defend Parental Authority: Bill 202 & Bill 10

Update (Dec 4, 2014): The Prentice government has just announced that it is shelving Bill 10 in light of the opposition the bill is receiving. Unfortunately most of the opposition seems to be from people who are pushing for even more radical changes. Let's be proactive and meet with our MLAs, write them, and call them, to discuss a better alternative. Alberta's government is pushing hard to promote alternative sexual lifestyles while also decreasing the ability of parents to educate their children according to their beliefs. First, Bill 202 was introduced into the Alberta Legislature on November 20, 2014 by MLA Laurie Blakeman, as a private member's bill. The legislation has similarities to Manitoba's Bill 18 and Ontario's Bill 13 in making gay-straight alliances mandatory in any school where it is requested by a student. Like Manitoba, this would be the case for all schools, including independent and Christian. But the bill goes further (see below).  Soon after, the government responded by drafting its own legislation, Bill 10, which is also very troubling. Although they try strike a balance between LGBT rights and parental authority, it is clear that parental authority is being undermined. First, the bill will remove the requirement for parents to be informed when their children are being taught explicitly about sexual orientation. In addition, it would also add "sexual orientation" to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Alberta Bill of Rights. In other words, the government has determined that parents shouldn't be informed when their children are being taught about "sexual orientation."   Second, Section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA), which requires that parents be able to remove their children from instruction about sexuality and religion will be removed and put into the School Act and Education Act. A statement about parental rights will also be added to the Bill of Rights. It is hard to know why Section 11.1 is being removed from the AHRA. The AHRA is a quasi-constitutional document, so pulling this section suggests that the protection drops down a tier and would be subject to the other "rights" in the AHRA. Third, it explicitly grants students from all schools, including private, who would want a gay-straight alliance, the authority to appeal to the school board if they are met with resistance. The school board's decision can be challenged by judicial review "for jurisdictional error or unreasonableness." Although we don't know the direct impact on Bill 202, it appears that Bill 202 will become moot. We encourage our readers to read this article and then use our EasyMail sample letters to write their MLA, explaining that neither Bill 202 or Bill 10 should not be supported. Please encourage others to do likewise.  Take Action: Easymail letter 1 - Parents have authority over children Take Action: Easymail letter 2 - Freedom of Religion and Association
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