CALGARY – The leader of Alberta’s United Conservatives says if his party were to head the government, schools would operate under rules for gay-straight alliance clubs developed before the NDP came to power.
Jason Kenney says the UCP would resurrect the former Progressive Conservative government’s unproclaimed Education Act, which included a provision to support the clubs in schools.
The New Democrats amended the School Act to bring in further protections for LGBTQ students including barring school officials from telling parents if their kids join one of the clubs.
Kenney says he supports gay-straight alliances for young people to get peer support if they’re being bullied and adds he wants a less contentious relationship with religious schools.
Despite accusations from opponents that the UCP does not support GSAs, Calgary-Hays UCP candidate Ric McIver tells rdnewsNOW there’s really only one difference between the stance of his party and that of the NDP.
“With those accusations, nothing could be further from the truth. I would remind the people saying those things that a conservative government brought in GSAs. At the end of the day, the only difference in position is that the UCP trusts teachers to use their best professional judgment and human compassion to make decisions about what they tell parents. The NDP bans teachers in all circumstances from telling parents. We trust teachers and they don’t.”
Meanwhile, Kenney said Monday that a UCP Government would lift a cap on the number of charter schools in Alberta, focus on improving math and science grades and ensure consent was taught in all sex education classes.
“As math scores plunge and report cards become increasingly difficult to understand, a United Conservative government will reset the curriculum rewrite, restore fundamentals to math and affirm the primary role of parents in choosing how their children are taught,” Kenney said. “It’s time to bring common sense to education.”
McIver was also asked about a debate which has gained steam over the last couple years in Red Deer surrounding funding for Catholic schools.
“We are affirming our commitment to parental choice and education, our commitment to public education, separate education, charter schools, independent schools, alternate schools and even home education,” says McIver. “We think that parents should get to choose how they educate their kids and that’s what’s best. No one loves a child more than the person that tucks their child into bed at night, so we will protect that choice for parents.”
(The Canadian Press, UCP media release)