Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe
Whoa. This is big! Really big!
Premier Scott Moe is making good on his promise to invoke the notwithstanding clause to protect parental rights in Saskatchewan.
We’re not used to this degree of government action to support parental rights in Canada!
But there it is.
You may recall that Moe has been musing about using the notwithstanding clause for a few weeks now.
The backstory of course is that Moe’s government enacted an educational policy on Aug.22, 2023 requiring parental consent for minor children under sixteen years of age to change their name and/or pronoun at school.
In response, the LGBTQ+ activist group URPride launched a legal effort to stop the new government policy, and, on Friday, Sept.8, a Saskatchewan judge issued a temporary injunction against the implementation of the parental consent policy.
Lawyers for UR Pride argued that the policy could cause teachers to out or misgender children and that it violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the woke judge agreed.
The injunction remains in place until the yet-to-be-launched case is heard. (“Sask. premier vows to use notwithstanding clause after court injunction halts pronoun policy,” Alec Salloum, Brandon Harder, Larissa Kurz, National Post, Sept. 28, 2023.)
This triggered an announcement from the Moe government that it would recall the legislature this month to pass a bill to enshrine the pronoun policy using the “notwithstanding clause” of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Our government will take immediate action to ensure the rights of Saskatchewan parents are protected and that this policy is implemented by recalling the Legislative Assembly and using the notwithstanding clause of the Canadian constitution to pass legislation to protect parental rights.” (“Scott Moe vows notwithstanding clause after judge halts pronouns policy,” Brooke Kruger, Global News, Sept. 28, 2023).
The notwithstanding clause is a constitutional tool that allows federal, provincial, and territorial legislatures to suspend certain Charter rights for a period of up to five years, at which time it must be renewed to continue.
Moe said MLAs would reconvene early, on Oct. 10, to pass the legislation.
He stated that his government is extremely disappointed by the court’s decision, claiming it blocks the Parental Inclusion and Consent policy.
“It is in the best interest of children to ensure parents are included in their children’s education, in their classrooms and in all important decisions involving their children,” said Moe.
Premier Moe’s Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill contended that the policy has broad supported from parents across the province. PAFE agrees, and we encourage Saskatchewan MLAs to pass this new bill quickly.
“We don’t plan on amending the policy as it stands today. This policy has wide support from parents across the province that are reaching out to government. We believe that this is the right policy going forward.”
Parents as First Educators (PAFE) congratulates Premier Moe on supporting parental rights in his province. We note that a national poll taken in September showed that a majority of Canadian parents agree that parents should be involved in such life-altering decisions.