Rachel Notley’s Bill 24 is a cynical ploy to distract from her economic failures

By Jonathon Van Maren

Perhaps nothing is so dangerous as a truly desperate politician, willing to do anything and gamble anything to hang on to power. Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley is one such politician. Education Minister David Eggen is another.

The thing about Notley’s Bill 24—which would make it illegal for parents to be told if their child decided to participate in a Gay Straight Alliance Club—is that it is so obviously an attempt to paint Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party as horrible homophobes that the ugly cynicism of the NDP is shocking even some left-wing commentators. Not all disagree with the premise behind Bill 24, mind you, but the initial GSA legislation was far-reaching enough that even those who support GSAs recognize that the NDP is driving a wedge between children and parents for purely political and partisan purposes.

Thus even the Globe and Mail ran a guest column by Judy Arnall, a child-development specialist and supporter of the GSAs who believes Bill 24 needs to be defeated. She says, in part:

Bill 24 will enforce secrecy when children attend Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) clubs. These are clubs attended by pupils of any sexual orientation, for social extracurricular activities at school premises under the overall supervision of teachers. The proposed Bill 24 legislation would require schools and teachers to keep secrets from parents about whether their child has joined such clubs…

Presently, there are no secrets kept from parents. Alberta law requires schools to notify parents when religion and sexuality are taught in the classroom. This is consistent with Article 26 (3) of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that states that parents have a prior right to direct their child’s education. The Alberta Guide to Education states that the school plays “a supportive role to parents in the areas of values and moral development.” The Alberta Bill of Rights (g) states the right of parents to make “informed decisions respecting the education of their children.”

Bill 24 appears to be based upon the misguided concept that a school is a haven of trust and care; while parents, on the other hand, are intolerant authoritarians ready to reject non-conforming children.

This is precisely the point, one that few other commentators have dared to voice: The NDP’s Bill 24 is an implicit indictment of Albertan parents and an insinuation that government employees are more invested in the wellbeing of Albertan children than the mothers and fathers are. They are also implicitly stating that anyone who does not believe precisely the same thing about sexuality that they do poses a danger to children, and thus legislation must be passed to place the State in between children and parents. Arnall goes on:

Schools are not family organizations. They are responsible for academic learning, but not moral moulding, social activism or extracurricular parenting. Teachers have professional training in subject matter, curriculum delivery and classroom management. Unless they are specialized, they are not guidance counsellors nor are they trained in child development. Their role is not to parent. Their role is to impart information and develop skills. Parents, on the other hand, are personally vested in the well-being of their children and their role is to raise their children to become responsible, moral adults.

Finally, a commentator willing to cut to the heart of the matter and actually highlight what Bill 24 is all about. Notley and Eggen and their gang did not create Bill 24 because they believed that there was a sudden, pressing need for it, right on the heels of their other educational initiatives. They created it for precisely the same reason that Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne put forward her bubble zone bill targeting pro-lifers: To change the narrative from economics to social issues, and to drive a wedge between pragmatic politicians and their social conservative supporters.

It’s disgusting and shameful that the NDP would play politics with the relationships between parents and children. Albertans shouldn’t let them get away with it.


For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.

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