Danielle Smith and the United Conservative Party have recently unveiled a regressive policy aimed at rolling back the rights of queer and trans students in Alberta. As Albertans, we believe in providing our children with a safe and respectful environment to flourish and learn.
This is a cynical ploy from the UCP to please their reactionary base, and will put the safety and well-being of Alberta students at risk.
Successful learning hinges on students feeling comfortable to express themselves. Fortunately, Alberta's school boards have already implemented robust policies based on the Education Act, ensuring the creation of safe, inclusive, and welcoming spaces for all students.
However, the recent actions of the UCP raise serious concerns about the potential erosion of these safeguards. As engaged citizens, we must not be swayed by attempts to divert attention from pressing issues affecting everyday Albertans, such as the UCP’s dismantling of public healthcare, the deepening housing and homelessness crisis, and the cost of everything going up and up and up.
This current threat to queer and trans students is not unique to Alberta. Similar policies to the one brought forward by Danielle Smith have drawn heavy criticism from 2SLGBTQIA+ and human rights advocates in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
The New Brunswick Child and Youth Advocate found that these policies violate children’s Charter rights. The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) has also recently condemned any changes to policy that will impact 2SLGBTQIA+ children and youth indicating that any policies mandating the disclosure of a young persons queer identity contradicts the social work code of ethics.
The Children and Youth Representative presented a report to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, emphasizing crucial considerations and recommendations aimed at enhancing the protection of Indigenous youth, especially those who identify as 2 Spirit or gender diverse. The report underscores the rights of Indigenous children and youth to preserve their identity and ensure their safety. It also points out that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) emphasizes the child's right to maintain their identity. Furthermore, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (the Declaration) acknowledges the right of Indigenous peoples to determine their cultural or ethnic identity and membership in line with their customs and traditions, while also being free from discrimination based on that identity.
Policies mandating the forced disclosure of Indigenous youth's identities directly contradict their Treaty rights to holistic health and wellbeing.
Join us to demand that Smith withdraw this regressive policy so that we can ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Alberta students.