Jason Kenney on Alberta’s Bill 24: Kids’ best interests matter most


Jason Kenney, leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party, writes at the Calgary Sun:

There can be no more important issue than the safety of children.

The United Conservative Party (UCP) strongly supports efforts to make schools free from bullying, and to provide peer support, counselling, and safe spaces for kids who might be subject to bullying — especially those subject to bullying or prejudice because of their sexual identity.

We support Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs), which became law with the unanimous support of MLAs from both of our legacy parties. We believe that these, and other anti-bullying peer groups, can be a useful way of supporting students going through tough times.

We oppose mandatory notification of parents regarding the involvement of students in GSAs. And neither I nor anyone in our caucus has proposed outing gay kids.

The vast majority of parents have unconditional love for their children. The research is clear: parental support and involvement is one of the most important factors in supporting youth at risk, including sexual minority youth.

Every child is unique, and every circumstance faced by kids at risk is different. Highly trained educators are in a much better position than politicians to exercise their discretion on whether it is in the best interests of a child to engage parents.

That is why our caucus has come to a consensus to support students, parents and teachers by opposing Bill 24.

The unique circumstances of each child should be the focus, not the blunt instrument of law.

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