A majority of delegates attending Alberta’s United Conservative November 4th convention passed multiple pro-parental rights policies, and Premier Danielle Smith responded favourably to the resolutions.
The key policy resolution was a proposal to require schools to obtain consent from parents before allowing children to use preferred names and pronouns at school put forward by the Edmonton West-Henday UCP constituency.
This policy was passed with only a handful of red placards raised by participants, indicating their “no” votes.
This resolution mirrors policies already adopted, earlier this year, by the New Brunswick government of PC Premier Blaine Higgs and in Saskatchewan, where the Saskatchewan Party controlled legislature passed similar parental consent legislation.
In her keynote address to the UCP delegates, Premier Smith said that her government was committed to supporting “parental rights”:
“Parents are the primary caregivers and educators,” Smith said to loud applause and a standing ovation.
“Regardless of how often the extreme left undermines the role of parents, I want you to know that parental rights and choice in your child’s education is and will continue to be a fundamental core principle of this party and this government, and we will never apologize for it.”
Her remarks drew cheers from the crowd.
The passage of the pro-parental rights policy resolutions by the UCP delegates owe their success to a grassroots movement in the party- Take Back Alberta – the same group which helped to oust former UCP leader and premier Jason Kenney, and then further helped make Smith leader last year.
PAFE congratulates Take Back Alberta on its success, but the “pronoun” drama in Alberta is just beginning. Policy resolutions are not binding on the government, and Smith, for all of her supportive language in response to the passage of the resolutions, has not yet committed to any specific action on parental rights.
In comments to reporters after the meeting, Smith neglected to commit to legislation like that recently seen in Saskatchewan. Instead, Smith said she would take the issue back to the UCP caucus and consult with stakeholders before making any decisions.
“The way our policy process works is the members tell us what they would like us to do, but we obviously have to put it all through the lens of what is best for Albertans as a whole,” said Smith, adding that she is still hopeful the issue can be de-politicized.
“I don’t think it matters if you’re a straight couple or a gay couple, or whether you’re a trans individual. You want to know what’s going on with your kids, that’s what I hear,” said Smith, adding that the government needs to ensure kids feel protected and supported.
Every concerned parent in Alberta now needs to follow up on the positive development of this past weekend and should continue to press Premier Danielle Smith to match her rhetoric with action.
In any case, PAFE is delighted with this positive development in Alberta. We are cautiously optimistic that Alberta could be the next province to enact pro-parental rights policies and help to continue the momentum that has been started in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan.