Alberta Votes 2019 Day 7 #ableg #abpoli #abvote

Monday March 25, 2019

It was a day of winning for parents; but I’m not so sure it’s going to translate to winning for kids.

Jason Kenney wowed potential voters by showing them how he could get rid of Bill 24, the Act to Strengthen Gay-Straight Alliances, without actually repealing the Bill. Kenney faced questions about his support for GSAs regularly during his bid for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party and began to attack the legislation to strengthen GSAs, Bill 24, once he secured the UCP leadership role

Back on December 18th, at an event in Brooks, AB, Kenney faced threats of a lawsuit from a supporter if he didn’t keep his promises to remove Bill 24. Kenney responded that the “lawsuit (against the constitutionality of Bill 24 would) be gone” if the UCP formed government. (The story first ran in the Brooks Bulletin and has since been removed from the online content.)

John Carpay, infamous UCP member and close personal friend of Jason Kenney, is leading the constitutional challenge against Bill 24 with the support of religious schools and parent groups. One group in particular, Parents for Choice in Education (PCE), advocates against GSAs by claiming they teach sexual education without parental consent, children as young as 5 will be subject to pornographic how-to’s, children are encouraged to exclude their parents, and that organizing for education and social change (ie acceptance) are fighting homophobia (that’s a bad thing according to the PCE rep). Teachers and youth involved in GSAs across the province have spoken out vehemently against these falsities but it has done nothing to stem the opposition from such groups.

Kenney, with his impressive double-speak, has promised to use the old Education Act that will effectively erase Bill 24. Jason Kenney’s personal record of debating or voting on social policy in the House of Commons speaks for itself. And his record of showing up to debate, or voting, in the Legislature on “social issues” or allowing his caucus to do the same, should tell Albertans that amendments to the Education Act are unlikely to see any light in the legislature under a Jason Kenney-led government. 

Kenney told a crowd on Monday that Bill 10 will be strong under the Education Act, saying protections for youth under his government would be much like those Kathleen Wynne’s former Liberal government in Ontario implemented.  Except she didn’t implement additional protections for GSAs.

Bill 13, the Accepting Schools Act, also known as the anti-bullying bill, received Royal Assent in 2012. The Act removed school’s rights to veto GSAs, regardless of religious orientation. 

GSAs are in conflict with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, which assert that homosexuality is “intrinsically disordered.” Church leaders argue that Catholics should be free to design their own methods to fight bullying.” Karen Howlett, Globe and Mail, June 2012

After Kathleen Wynne became Premier, in 2013, she faced potential backlash from a coalition of Ontario Catholic School Board members and stated her government would deal with issues if they arose; and none did. That is the legacy of Kathleen Wynne and GSAs while she was Premier of Ontario.  

Now it could be that Mr. Kenney invoked Ms. Wynne’s name because she is the most well-known LGBT member to have been a Canadian Premier. It could have been because Mr. Kenney thought, like a sickening number of pages from religious-oriented websites, that GSAs were part of Premier Wynne’s personal “agenda”. Or it could simply be that Mr. Kenney plans to immerse himself in the same amount of work Premier Wynne had to do on the matter when she was in office: none. 

22 sleeps until Election Day…

Fact, opinions, it’s all there.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

Tips? [email protected]

Twitter: @Mitchell_AB, @thisweekinAB

Recap: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day5, Day 6

update: an earlier version mistakenly said the Education Act would erase Bill 10, not Bill 24.