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Wildrose proposes revamped Bill 202 to balance protection of students, equality, parental rights and religious freedoms

EDMONTON, AB (November 24, 2014): Today, the Wildrose announced a proposal to support and strengthen Bill 202 with several amendments designed to balance equality, the protection of students, parental rights and religious freedoms.

“Albertans want MLAs from all parties to come together and find a solution that strengthens the protection and rights of LGBTQ students, the rights of parents, equality and religious freedoms,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said. “Our Wildrose MLAs are committed to working with members from all parties to pass legislation that accomplishes this goal."

Wildrose's proposed amendments to Bill 202, the Safe and Inclusive School Statute Amendments Act, include:

  • Maintaining parental rights in the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA),  but removing "sexual orientation" from section 11.1  of the AHRA while defining the parental notification requirement to include discussions about their child’s personal sexuality, sexual health and religion;
  • Supporting the application of the AHRA and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the Education Act, but specifically protecting homeschoolers and faith-based schools (including Catholic schools) from being forced to provide instruction that is contrary to their faith;
  • Balancing religious freedom by allowing faith-based schools (including constitutionally - protected Catholic schools), to be exempted from providing student-requested  Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs), provided the schools work with the requesting student(s) on an anti-bullying and support strategy that meets the specific needs of LGBTQ  students in the school. Providing approval for students requesting GSAs in secular public schools would be made mandatory.  

“We believe our proposed amendments will ensure the protection of all students while balancing the rights of parents, promoting equality and respecting the religious freedoms of all Albertans," Wildrose House Leader Rob Anderson said. “I look forward to working with all parties in the Legislature to pass a bill that achieves this balance.”