Spread the love

The federal government is unhappy with Alberta’s policy on the choice of pronouns at school

Photo: Sean Kilpatrick The Canadian Press “When Alberta presents a position like that, it threatens the health of young girls and young men in Alberta, but [also] across the country, because it continues to attack people who are so vulnerable,” lamented Health Minister Mark Holland.

Colette Derworiz – The Canadian Press and Dean Bennett – The Canadian Press in Calgary

February 1, 2024

  • Canada

Alberta's proposed changes to rules regarding transgender youth will put children at risk, says federal Health Minister Mark Holland.

At a press briefing on Thursday in Ottawa, Mr. Holland recalled that questions about sexual identity are one of the main reasons that push young people to take their own lives.< /p>

Mr. Holland plans to meet with Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange soon to find a “solution” to the policies announced Wednesday by Premier Danielle Smith.

“The impact of this policy is disastrous,” said Minister Holland during his meeting with journalists in the House of Commons.

“When Alberta presents a position like this, it threatens the health of young girls and young men in Alberta, but [also] across the country, because it continues to attack people who are so vulnerable,” he lamented.

On Wednesday, Ms. Smith announced that her government will put in place provisions that will, among other things, ensure that students aged 15 and under who wish to change their name or pronoun at school must first obtain parental consent.

Students aged 16 and 17 who wish to change their name or pronoun will not need to obtain parental consent beforehand, but their parents will need to be informed.

Ms. Smith also indicated that her government will impose restrictions on hormone therapy and surgery for transgender adolescents, as well as on participation in sports for transgender women.

Present alongside Mr. Holland, the Federal Minister of Justice, Arif Virani, clarified that it is still too early to comment on possible legal challenges.

“They announced what they were planning to do. They didn't file anything. There is no legislation,” Mr. Virani emphasized.

The Minister supported Mr Holland in saying that Ms Smith's proposals would put vulnerable young people at risk.

“Targeting this small minority for political purposes in Alberta — as the Prime Minister appears to be doing — is not worthy of her office,” said Mr. Virani.

Measures criticized by the opposition

Ms. Smith announced the changes in a video posted on the social network p>

Alberta NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley called the proposed changes “horrible.”

She denounced that Ms. Smith imposes “cynical and cruel” measures that target vulnerable young people and interfere in private medical decisions.

“Basically, Danielle Smith is playing dangerous politics using the lives of young people,” Notley said.

The New Democratic leader assured that her party will do everything in its power to push back the government, but she noted that it will first be up to Minister LaGrange to respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and ensure that all young people have equitable access to health care.

Other changes announced by Ms. Smith include that parents will need to be informed and will need to give consent for their children to learn about gender identity, sexuality and sexual orientation in school .

Ms. Notley also opposes this change.

“Danielle Smith is proposing to make Alberta the only province where parents will have to accept or, in other words, actively request sexual health education,” said Notley.

“Thousands of children will therefore be excluded from this program — a program in which concepts like contraception and consent are taught. »

“Attack on Freedom”

Several LGBTQ+ community advocacy groups have harshly criticized the changes proposed by the Alberta government.

In a joint press release, Egale Canada and the Skipping Stone Foundation indicated that they will take legal action if Alberta moves forward.

Harini Sivalingam of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association added that Alberta's changes are a “clear and blatant attack on freedom.”

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Alberta and support the use of all available legal tools to protect the rights and freedoms of trans and gender diverse people in this province and across Canada,” Ms. Sivalingam said in a press release.

Last year, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick also decided to require parental consent for students to change their name or pronoun at school, but the age was set at 16.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116