Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Jason Kenney speaks to the media at his first convention as leader of the United Conservative Party in Red Deer, Sunday.

UPDATED: UCP members take a stand for parental rights

57 per cent in favour of parental consent

Red Deer’s New Democrat MLAs say they are standing up for Albertans by protecting LGBTQ+ students from being outed while the United Conservative Party has turned its back on Albertans.

On Sunday, the United Conservative Party voted 57 per cent in favour of reinstating parental opt-in consent for any subjects of a religious or sexual nature, including enrolment in extracurricular clubs like gay-straight alliances at the party’s founding annual general meeting in Red Deer.

Red Deer North MLA Kim Schreiner said voting to notify parents when students join a gay-straight alliance (GSA) clearly shows the UCP does not support Albertans.

“The vast majority of Albertans want to be accommodating and create a safe and caring environment for all kids in our schools,” Schreiner said on Monday.

She said GSAs are about creating a safe community for students.

“It’s about kids supporting kids and giving each other confidence and encouragement,” Schreiner said.

Red Deer MLA Barb Miller said it’s a fact that GSAs saves lives.

“Last weekend we saw Jason Kenney’s extremist UCP outing gay kids, privatizing health care, cutting education funding, attacking teachers, and cutting taxes for the rich their priority,” Miller said.

“My colleague in Red Deer North and I will always stand on the side of Albertans. We will keep fighting to get a pipeline to tidewater, we will keep protecting health care and continue to make sure kids get the best education they can in a safe and welcoming environment.”

Bev Manning, school board chair with Red Deer Public Schools, said the district supports Bill 24 which does not allow school officials to tell parents if their children are in a GSA except in special circumstances, such as when a student is under direct threat of harm.

“We just want safe places for kids, that’s all. We just want kids to feel like they can be who they are and be respected for who they are and be loved for who they are and have the same opportunities as everybody else. At the end of the day that’s just what we’re all trying to achieve,” Manning said.

She said the GSA at École Secondaire Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School has been around for a long time so it isn’t anything new for the district.

“I think we try and treat everybody with respect, including the parents. That’s our bottom line,” Manning said.

UCP member Harrison Fleming, who hoped the motion would be voted down and spoke against it, said the motion hardly reflects the opinions of a majority of UCP members with only about 450 members voting in favour.

“People didn’t really understand where it was coming from and the implications that it would have. They saw it as a chance to support parental rights and it’s not what it was about,” said Fleming, Alberta co-ordinator with LGBTory Canada, on Sunday.

UCP leader Jason Kenney has said very clearly that these types of issues will not be included in the party’s platform, Fleming said.

“I’m so confident and happy to hear Jason say that this isn’t making it into our party platform and our caucus isn’t supporting this type of legislation coming forward.”

He said the vote just showed how toxic the debate has become with the NDP contributing to the fear and rhetoric that’s happening.

“So many parents do feel their rights are being trampled and we saw that today.”

“It’s really up to our members of caucus, to organizations like (LGBTory Canada), to ensure we’re having conversations with our membership so they are understanding the nuances of some of these decisions.”

He said LGBTory Canada was invited by the UCP to set up a booth at the general meeting held at Sheraton Red Deer.

“These decisions don’t change the heart and soul of our party which is a big, broad, diverse tent that welcomes our organization. That diversity is our biggest strength,” Fleming said.

Denton Wierzba, vice president of policy for Red Deer North UCP, said the party is “pro-freedom.”

“We all don’t think the same. We’re not like a collective group. We’re going to have these disagreements,” Wierzba said.

Red Deer County UCP member Christine Moore said it’s encouraging that people can speak up about issues.

“We need engagement and we most definitely have got it here,” Moore said.

“I’m sensing great momentum here for the founding convention for the United Conservative Party.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

united conservative party

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Central zone has 20 active cases of COVID-19

Province identified 143 new cases across Alberta on Wednesday

Province should set mask policy, says city councillor

Digital conference will raise issues of local concern

Education taxes, ambulance dispatch concern Red Deer city councillors at AUMA meeting

The digital convention will raise issues of local concern

High school’s student’s anti-racism video offers hope

Jose Jordan got dozens of high school students to participate

Trail closed near Red Deer water treatment plant until Nov. 1

Construction on intake in river continuing

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Former Wales star Rob Howley returns to rugby with Canadian national team

Former Wales star Rob Howley returns to rugby with Canadian national team

Back to work: NBA’s non-Disney clubs start team workouts

Back to work: NBA’s non-Disney clubs start team workouts

“We refused to play,” Henry blasts team as Impact lose 3-1 to Revolution

“We refused to play,” Henry blasts team as Impact lose 3-1 to Revolution

4-nation Rugby Championship to be played as 6 doubleheaders

4-nation Rugby Championship to be played as 6 doubleheaders

For NBA players, Taylor grand jury decision ‘not enough’

For NBA players, Taylor grand jury decision ‘not enough’

Pozuelo scores on penalty in 90th, Toronto FC beats NYC 1-0

Pozuelo scores on penalty in 90th, Toronto FC beats NYC 1-0

Blue Jays dump Yankees 14-1 to inch closer to securing post-season berth

Blue Jays dump Yankees 14-1 to inch closer to securing post-season berth

Reactions to the minority Liberal government’s speech from the throne

Reactions to the minority Liberal government’s speech from the throne

Most Read