Bill 44 under revision

Alberta’s contentious legislation to extend human rights protection to parents who want their children excluded from classes about sex or religion will be amended before becoming law.

Alberta’s contentious legislation to extend human rights protection to parents who want their children excluded from classes about sex or religion will be amended before becoming law.

Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett said Monday that a new section will be added to Bill 44 on Tuesday making it clear there will be no restrictions on general classroom discussions related to sex or religion.

“When a student comes up with a project, the teacher can’t always know the subject matter or the content of it until it’s presented,” Blackett told reporters.

Parents will only have the right to pull their kids from lessons that are in the formal curriculum, he said.

But Blackett also explained that the government wants to make it clear to parents that they should take their concerns to education officials first to avoid a flood of human rights complaints.

“Right now the human rights commission is a dumping ground,” he said.

“If a parent has a complaint about not being notified or not having their child opt out of a course of study, then they should be going to their teacher, principal or school board.”

Legislation now before the assembly would add these parental rights to Alberta’s Human Rights Act, rather than simply strengthening existing provisions in the School Act that allow parents to pull their children from sex education classes.

Premier Ed Stelmach’s Progressive Conservative government decided on this action at the same time that it agreed to follow through on a 1998 Supreme Court ruling ordering that gay rights be included under human rights protection.

The tradeoff was immediately condemned by Alberta’s teachers’ union, the association representing school boards and several human rights groups.

Just Posted

Avid Penhold climber Catlin Hannah’s death a reminder of the dangers of scrambling

Hannah never returned from his Mount Smuts attempt on Aug. 12.

Children, elderly at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

VANCOUVER — Thick smoke blanketing British Columbia communities far from any flames… Continue reading

Trudeau: no apologies for heckler encounter, pledges to call out ‘hate speech’

OTTAWA — Hate speech and the politics of division are creating a… Continue reading

Rocky Mountain House RCMP charge woman with drug trafficking

Rocky Mountain House RCMP have charged a woman with drug trafficking after… Continue reading

Anti-poverty strategy will aim for 50 per cent cut in low-income rates: source

OTTAWA — A new plan to help low-income Canadians will set a… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Police chiefs want new data-sharing treaty with U.S. as privacy questions linger

OTTAWA — Canada’s police chiefs are pressing the Trudeau government to sign… Continue reading

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the… Continue reading

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

ESCUMINAC, N.B. — Ottawa has announced $189 million for an employment insurance… Continue reading

Trudeau formally announces he’ll run again in next year’s election

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau will run again in the 2019 federal election.… Continue reading

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

VANCOUVER — More smoky, hazy air is expected to blanket much of… Continue reading

Anti-pipeline protesters released days before weeklong jail sentences end

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — Several pipeline protesters were released from a British… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month