Canadian Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre sparked a debate by suggesting that schools should focus on teaching core subjects and leave discussions about LGBTQ issues to parents. Are schools overstepping their boundaries? Find out more.
Ban Underage Surgery
Poilievre’s remarks stirred controversy as the Conservative party geared up for a significant policy convention in Quebec City, where the ban on surgeries for transgender youth was on the agenda.
Poilievre usually supported the power of the provinces when it came to discussions about gender identity in schools.
During a visit to Moncton, N.B., he accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of overstepping his role by involving himself in matters that provinces and parents should decide.
This criticism coincided with a heated debate in New Brunswick regarding a new policy on gender identity in schools.
Freedom of Religion
Speaking at a Pakistan Independence Day event in Toronto, Poilievre took a more direct approach. He emphasized the importance of safeguarding freedom of religion and criticized Trudeau for addressing LGBTQ issues in schools.
Poilievre referenced a video in which Trudeau discussed misconceptions about sexual education and suggested that schools should concentrate on core subjects like math, reading, and writing. Poilievre asserted that parents should have the liberty to instill their values in their children.
Life Altering Decisions
The Conservative party was preparing to debate a proposal that could potentially ban individuals under 18 from undergoing “life-altering medical or surgical interventions” to change their gender. Poilievre revealed that he had not yet fully reviewed all the proposals up for discussion.
He, She or They
The debate over LGBTQ issues in schools extended beyond federal politics to provincial policies.
New Brunswick’s Policy 713 mandated parental consent for students under 16 who wished to use a different name or pronouns.
While New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs defended this policy to involve parents in their children’s education, Trudeau criticized it, asserting that transgender kids in New Brunswick were being denied the right to express their true selves.
Other provinces were also considering policies requiring parental consent for the preferred name or pronoun changes for students under 16, such as Saskatchewan.
Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives even proposed expanding parental rights over their children’s education, potentially including policies related to pronoun usage.
A poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute revealed diverse opinions on the role of parents in decisions related to gender identity.
No Consent Required
While 43% believed parents should be informed and required to provide consent for their child’s identity changes, 35% felt that parents should be informed but not necessarily required to consent.
No Role in Decisions
Meanwhile, 14% believed parents should have no role in decision-making.
This survey, conducted online between July 26 and 31, involved over 3,000 Canadians and carried a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points for comparison purposes.
In response to the debate, one individual expressed their view that the LGBTQ community should “keep their agenda at home” and leave it to parents to educate their children about sexuality when they are mature enough to handle those conversations.
This individual emphasized the importance of parental involvement in such matters.
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