Rachel Notley and David Eggen are transforming Alberta. How will Jason Kenney respond?

By Jonathon Van Maren

Alberta’s radically left-wing government continues to implement their social revolution at warp speed—it is obvious that Premier Rachel Notley, Education Minister David Eggen, and the rest of the NDP crew are determined to transform the prairie province to the greatest extent possible prior to their likely defeat by Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party next year. Worryingly, many of the policies they are implementing may be here to stay—unless Kenney and the UCP suddenly reveal, upon attaining power, that they have been carefully hiding their spines up until now. From the Association for Reformed Political Action:

Alberta’s Bill 22 is similar to Ontario’s Bill 89 (2017), which inserted gender identity ideology into the law for child and family services, which governs child protection agencies, foster care, and adoption.

ARPA Canada has been informed of cases in Ontario in which a Children’s Aid Society interferes in a family because the parents of a child struggling with gender dysphoria are not dealing with it according to the new gender identity orthodoxy. Such cases are rare, of course, but every family and every child counts.

Alberta’s Bill 22 has already passed second reading. It is now heading to committee. This is the stage where MLAs get a chance to look at the bill closely. Let’s make sure that the problems with the bill don’t get glossed over! Please read and share this article and take action right away.

What are the implications of Bill 22? As the Ontario Minister who sponsored Bill 89 said, he would consider it abuse to tell a child that their gender identity is mistaken:

I would consider that a form of abuse, when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying no, you need to do this differently… If it’s abuse, and if it’s within the definition, a child can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops.

You would think such a statement would be huge news. It wasn’t. ARPA discovered this statement in an obscure publication mainly read by people who work in the Ontario legislature. So that means at least a few politicians should have noticed, but none brought it up. It took the grassroots to make Ontario politicians pay attention.

The same is true in Alberta. The UCP Opposition has yet to comment on this aspect of the bill. They need to know you care. The NDP needs to know that you will not let this bill pass uncontested. All parties need to hear our concerns. Families must be free from ideologically-driven state intervention. The position that actively supporting a transgender identity in a child, socially and medically, is the best path, is neither a neutral or scientific position. Rather, it is based on contentious beliefs about the nature of human beings.

There is a difference between saying the family is the basic unit of society and saying merely that a family has primary responsibility for the well-being of the child. 

Adding gender identity ideology into child services legislation affects more than how child protection services deals with parents who don’t respond “properly” to gender identity disorder in their child.

Bill 22 also matters for foster parents and would-be foster or adoptive parents. In the worldview of Bill 22, every child has a “gender identity and gender expression” that may differ from the child’s sex. A child’s gender identity may not come to light when they are very young – a child might appear to be a boy, but come to identify as a girl later on. According to Bill 22, child services must consider how would-be foster or adoptive parents would respond.

Also telling is a change that Bill 22 makes to the foundational principle of the current law. The current Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act states, as its first principle, that “the family is the basic unit of society and its well‑being should be supported and preserved.” Bill 22 would delete that and say instead, “the child’s family has the primary responsibility for the safety and well-being of the child and the family’s well-being should be supported and preserved.”

Think carefully about this. One might argue that it does not change much. But a basic principle of interpreting a statute is that a change is not meaningless. If an amendment were meaningless, there is a presumption that it would not be made.

There is a difference between saying the family is the basic unit of society and saying merely that a family has primary responsibility for the well-being of the child.

The first says something about what the family is, reflecting what has long been understood – it is the fundamental, natural institution that precedes the state, on which society is built. The latter says nothing about what the family is. Why does that matter? Well, the NDP is following the Wynne philosophy, and we have watched the Ontario government radically redefine family.

Bill 22 says the family merely has primary responsibility for children. If that responsibility is not being fulfilled as the state wishes, however, the family may be in trouble. This is a different philosophy than the Christian philosophy that parents have an authority that the state lacks.

These changes have not yet been made in Alberta, but they are well on their way, apparently with little or no opposition. Now is the time to act. We urge you to write to your MLA, and phone him or her to follow up. Maybe even set up a meeting. Ask your MLA to commit to opposing or changing the parts of the bill we have identified.

Besides the concerns articulated by ARPA, social conservatives must consider the fact that the NDP is fully aware that Jason Kenney and the UCP will be very unlikely to repeal policies like this once they take power for fear of being referred to as “homophobes” or “transphobes.” Kenney and many other UCP politicians have consistently socially conservative records—Kenney has a perfect pro-life voting record, and even broke rank when he was a member of Stephen Harper’s cabinet in order to vote against the prime minister and for a pro-life motion—but for some reason, Kenney’s team seems to believe that the UCP cannot win unless they spend much of their time pandering to the LGBTQ community (who, it seems obvious to everyone, are going to vote NDP anyways) while testing the limits of the trust and patience of a large portion of their actual voting base. After all, how many gay activists did Kenney get by hosting a Pride breakfast, and how many of his own voters did he alienate?

The NDP seems to be thoroughly enjoying Jason Kenney’s scrambling walk-backs, which occur nearly every time some new “revelation” about his long public record of being a social conservative surfaces. A progressive activist released audio this week of Kenney voicing his support for various social conservative initiatives twenty years ago on behalf of Stockwell Day, and the UCP announced that Kenney had “evolved” without specifying how or why. John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, who has been doing essential work for the social conservative movement for years, made a few comments about rainbow flags and totalitarianism that were promptly pounced on by the NDP, who announced that such words were beyond the pale and demanded that Kenney “denounce” Carpay. (This progressive habit of demanding that conservative politicians “denounce” anyone who happens to deviate from the current sexual orthodoxies is extremely creepy, and the whiff of totalitarianism that accompanies these demands rather defeats the point they are trying to make). And so Kenney obediently tweeted that Carpay had been wrong and that the gay rights movement had been magnificent.

This is not about whether Kenney should have supported Carpay’s specific choice in words. This is about the fact that the NDP actually doesn’t care what Carpay has to say—they only want to use him as a tool to try and force Kenney to disavow his various friends and supporters in order to drive a wedge through the UCP base and to use Kenney’s obedient semi-disavowals as further evidence that their accusations carry some measure of accuracy in the first place. It is a lose-lose game for Kenney: He certainly doesn’t gain any votes by taking the bait, but he does manage to make social conservatives (and many other conservatives who are simply sick of progressive bullying and political games) suspicious of him and less likely to vote themselves—although Kenney is probably accurate in assuming that the NDP is so reprehensible to conservatives at this point that he’ll get their votes no matter how much he buckles.

Kenney’s attempts to present himself as an evolved social progressive, ironically, are not actually convincing to any actual progressives (especially of the sort that vote NDP.) Unless he’s willing to repudiate his entire political record and deliver the sort of mewling public apology that progressives value as a form of public penance, everyone is going to assume that he is pandering for political purposes, which simply earns him the contempt of both the Left and the Right. Unfortunately for Kenney, if he continues to try and earn the votes of progressives by insisting that he has changed and is now Jason Kenney 2.0, he will not persuade progressives—but he might start persuading social conservatives and others that he is actually serious and that he is not the Jason Kenney they all thought they were voting for. The rumblings have already begun, and if those who are terrified that the NDP’s social revolution currently transforming Alberta are persuaded by Kenney that he is not their guy, there’s no telling what might happen next.


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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