By Jonathon Van Maren
When Canada’s Supreme Court announced that a decision on the Trinity Western University law school case was imminent and the forthcoming decision on an injunction against Bill 24 in Alberta was suddenly delayed, I immediately suspected that the Alberta court was waiting to find out what would happen with TWU before releasing their own decision. And sure enough, that appears to be the case. Here’s the analysis of another stinging loss for Christians from a Canadian courtroom from the Association for Reformed Political Action:
Less than two weeks after the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision against Trinity Western University, a coalition of parents and independent schools in Alberta, including all of the Reformed schools in the province, has lost an application for an injunction to delay implementation of Bill 24, “An Act to Support Gay-Straight Alliances”. Among other things, the law makes it illegal for anyone in the education system – be that in public, private, or parochial schools – to inform parents if their children have joined a Gay-Straight Alliance support group.
The law is being challenged on the grounds that it infringes on parental rights, but that hearing won’t happen until sometime in 2019. Last week, the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms applied to a court in Medicine Hat for a temporary injunction to halt the implementation of that law until the main court case is heard.
The independent schools are worried that they may lose their funding and accreditation if they don’t sign forms by the end of this month, promising to abide by the new legislation. For that reason, the coalition argued, an emergency temporary injunction was needed to allow time for the main case to be heard.
However, in a ruling issued in Medicine Hat this morning, Madam Justice Johnna C. Kubik denied the application for an injunction, writing that – based on testimony from an Assistant Deputy Minister of Education in last week’s injunction hearing – “there is no evidence to suggest that the schools will be defunded or de-accredited for the upcoming school year, and there is no reason to take prohibitive steps to prevent defunding or de-accreditation.”
On the broader issue of parental rights as they are informed by the Charter guarantee of Freedom of Religion, Justice Kubik cited part of the recent Supreme Court of Canada ruling on the Trinity Western Law School case, writing that “minor limits on religious freedom are often an unavoidable reality of a decision-maker’s pursuit of its statutory mandate in a multicultural and democratic society.”
The JCCF said in a press release that an appeal is being considered.
The Alberta NDP have two options now that the injunction has been denied, and I suspect that the option they choose will indicate their internal analysis of whether or not they stand a shot at defeating Jason Kenney next year and somehow hanging onto power. If they think they have a shot—and based on the polling, that seems unlikely—they might be hesitant to crack down on private schools of a wide range of religious backgrounds for fear of alienating too many disparate groups heading into an election. In that case, the NDP would simply wait to move on the schools until after the election.
If the NDP believes they have no chance of re-election, they are more likely to do whatever they can while they still retain power to strike a blow to independent religious schools, including defunding and de-accreditation. Education Minister David Eggen seems to be almost salivating at the prospect, and he is a disgraceful and pathetic man who is devoted to promoting his sexual ideology—which has already resulted in minors being exposed to pornographic material. For her part, Premier Rachel Notley has already accused the Catholic school system of being squishy on the question of rape, and when confronted with the fact that this was a pernicious lie, she refused to apologize. Both have already indicated that they believe Albertan children must be protected from their parents, especially religious parents, and that the government is better qualified to judge what is best for children than their parents are. I think it is likely that if Notley and Eggen believe they only have one shot to do damage to the religious schools, they will probably take it—and then spend the election campaign accusing Kenney and the United Conservative Party of homophobia and cruelty when they defend Albertan parents.
Notley’s NDP government is, without question, the most dangerous government Albertans have ever faced. We can only hope that the damage they wish to inflict will be reigned in by their desire to cling to power.
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.