Albertans deserve better than a premier who blatantly lies to them or is so incompetent that she can’t get her facts straight, especially when it comes to the care of children in Alberta schools and the dangerous amendments proposed by Bill 24.
Here is an excerpt from yesterday in the Legislature (see Hansard for Nov 8th, page 1845):
[Ms Notley:]…The fourth objection that was brought forward, Madam Speaker, by the new leader of the party of the members opposite was that somehow this bill will mean that children as young as five will form GSAs. Now, it’s hard to know where to begin with that claim. We know already that Mr. Kenney did not consult with young adults and teenagers who are members of the LGBTQ community. It is clear as well, apparently, that he’s never actually spoken to a fiveyear- old.
For the record, kindergartners aren’t thinking about forming UN clubs, chess clubs, debate clubs, gaming clubs, basketball teams. No, they are typically learning the alphabet and focusing on learning how to tie their shoes . . .
Ms Hoffman: And recess.
Ms Notley: . . . and also recess and wondering if their Elmo will be around during recess. To suggest otherwise is patently ridiculous. Again, I think the level of ridiculousness of that assertion actually shows the desperation to which the leader of the members opposite, Mr. Kenney, will go in order to avoid having an open, honest discussion of the underlying prejudices which stand between him and his ability to support this bill.
Rachel Notley says that it is “ridiculous” to suggest that GSAs are being formed by children as young as five.
Yes, Rachel Notley, it is ridiculous. But it is most assuredly true.
Here is an excerpt from the ATA (Alberta Teachers’ Association) News on December 6th, 2016 focused on Bill 10 and the GSA conference:
[Dr. Kristopher] Wells sees the legislation as an important and historic step that made Alberta only the third province in Canada to legislate support for GSAs and the only province whose law imposes no grade restrictions, meaning that GSAs here can be started by students in any grade from elementary to high school.
“Children as young as five and six are coming out, so it’s important that school environments offer supports to students at these younger ages; students are demanding this, and their parents are standing behind them,” Wells said.
Notley, if she would care to be honest, could also refer to the Alberta GSA Network which continues to be recommended by Alberta Education and clearly states it is intended for K-12 children.
It was Dr. Wells himself who stood directly behind Minister Eggen in the press conference introducing and lauding Bill 24.
How is it that neither the Premier or Education Minister had the good sense to ask Dr. Wells who the legislation would even apply to?
And why do the NDP continue to entrust Dr. Wells with any authority over our education system – especially pertaining to legally enforcing secrecy in schools – when he was the “driving force” behind the site that provided links to children with sex toys and advice to “pay for porn”?
This only proves how little thought and consideration has gone into the writing of Bill 24 and how careless the NDP are when it comes to the care of children in Alberta schools.
If Rachel Notley does indeed believe that kindergarteners should be concerned with the alphabet, recess and focusing on learning how to tie their shoes then it is incumbent upon her to ensure that she amends the law to say so.
As it stands now, Bill 24 – which would legally forbid schools from sharing information with parents about their own child – includes no age restrictions.
In the absence of such restrictions being written into Bill 24, Premier Notley is the one who is not only being ridiculous, but incredibly reckless.
All students and all Albertans – especially our five-year-olds – deserve far better.