Premier Danielle Smith remains mum on parental rights despite an overwhelming number of delegates demanding action now.
With a near-unanimous 'yes' vote, UCP members have given the party an ultimatum: legislate parental consent or else.
The Edmonton-West Henday UCP constituency proposed that students only use a different name or pronoun at school with parental consent — a policy that stirred months-long controversy and debate from the general public.
In August, Smith had yet to clarify her position on schools informing parents on changes to their child’s 'gender identity,' as first reported by the Western Standard.
"I have said that we don't want to politicize these issues because these issues are very private, family issues," she told the publication. "We're trying to avoid turning it into a political hot potato because we want […] kids [to] feel supported [while] also respecting parental rights."
On October 17, the premier told True North her caucus continued to look into the matter but otherwise remained timid on the policy.
"We have to always be mindful as we have these conversations that there are young people who are really struggling with gender identity, they’re struggling with puberty, struggling with how they fit in," she said, referring to them as "complicated family matters."
"The policy process is one of the measures that our cabinet and caucus use in making a decision, but we also confer with stakeholders, and we also talk to Alberta," continued Smith.
"Parents, not schools, are the legal guardians of their children," reads the resolution — an offshoot of legislation passed by governments in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick earlier this year.
Saskatchewan's Bill 137, the Parents’ Bill of Rights Act, legislates that educators and other school administrators inform parents when a child under 16 changes their name or uses different pronouns to affirm their ‘gender identity.’ It also bans third-party sex education organizations from classrooms, such as Planned Parenthood, and makes it mandatory for schools to display the province's flag.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe invoked the notwithstanding clause October 12 after UR Pride, a regional advocacy group, filed and received an injunction to stymie the policy from becoming law the month prior.
In response, Moe returned MLAs two weeks early to the Legislature to advance the bill as the first order of business in the Fall session.
According to a Leger poll, nearly half (46%) of Canadians support provincial governments using the notwithstanding clause to ensure parental consent is legally enshrined on matters of ‘gender identity.’ Nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents want school administrators to inform them if their children want to use a different pronoun or gender.
In New Brunswick, the first province to successfully contest opposition to parental rights. Premier Bill Higgs told reporters that without amendments to Policy 713, schools are enabled to "keep secrets" from parents.
"Schools should not be in the business of going behind parents’ backs," added the UCP policy resolution.
"For it purposefully to be hidden from the parents, that's a problem," Higgs told reporters May 18. "To suggest that it's OK that parents don't need to know — just stop and think about that question for a moment."
He also expressed concerns about the sexual education curriculum. "We're teaching kids to develop and grow, and they need to be making decisions as they get older, and they get wiser," he said. "Are we trying to teach tolerance and acceptance or are we trying to teach promotion?"
A SecondStreet.org-sanctioned poll said 57% of Canadians believe schools should inform parents if their child discusses changing their gender pronouns or transitioning. Only 18% disagreed with this statement, while 25% didn't know.