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Parent and gender dysphoria groups granted intervenor status in New Brunswick school policy case

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News release from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is pleased to announce that two groups, Gender Dysphoria Alliance and Our Duty Canada, have been jointly granted intervenor status in a constitutional challenge to a New Brunswick education policy. The policy requires that parents be notified when their child intends to undergo a gender transition by using a different name and pronouns at school.

On August 17, 2020, the New Brunswick government created Policy 713, which prohibited teachers from informing parents that their child had adopted a new name or pronouns at school (unless the child consented to such disclosure).

On June 8, 2023, the government changed the policy to require that parents of students under 16 years of age be notified by the school before the formal use of a different name or pronoun. “Formal” refers to the use of names and pronouns in the classroom and in school records.

The change to Policy 713 brought a firestorm of criticism and media coverage because it was the first of its kind in Canada to support parental rights on this issue. New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs stated that he believes he has the support of parents in the province on this issue.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) brought a constitutional challenge against the Province of New Brunswick as represented by the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, on September 6, 2023. The CCLA argues that Policy 713 infringes the students’ rights to freedom of expression, to equality, and to life, liberty and security of the person.

“The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has filed a court challenge against the right of parents to be fully informed about what is happening with their own children at school,” stated John Carpay, President of the Justice Centre.

“The Supreme Court of Canada explained in B.(R.) v. Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto that the parental interest in bringing up, nurturing and caring for a child, including medical care and moral upbringing, is an individual interest of fundamental importance to our society,” continued John Carpay.

On May 2, 2024, Justice Richard Petrie of the New Brunswick Court of King’s Bench granted intervener status to two groups: Gender Dysphoria Alliance is comprised of transsexual adults who seek to promote an evidence-based approach to gender dysphoria. Our Duty Canada is a peer support network for parents of children struggling with gender dysphoria and transgender ideation. As intervenors, they now have the right to present evidence to the court. The Justice Centre is providing for the legal representation of both groups, which seek to uphold the constitutionality of the amended Policy 713.

Prior to granting intervenor status, on March 5, 2024, Justice Petrie ordered that any proposed intervenors file the evidence they intend to present.

Gender Dysphoria Alliance and Our Duty Canada submitted the following testimonies as evidence:

  • The written testimony of a New Brunswick mother whose child underwent a social transition in school, about which she was not informed;
  • The written testimony of a young woman from Alberta who began to adopt new pronouns at school without her parents’ knowledge; she ultimately reversed course (detransitioned) after her parents became aware of her situation and were able to assist her;
  • The written testimony of the young woman’s father.

Karin Litzcke of Our Duty Canada says, “[Our] members are pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to the development of jurisprudence in this area. What has happened to us could happen to any parents under policies that promote secrecy from families. We are grateful to the Justice Centre for its assistance in advocating for the interests of children and parents in court.”

Speaking on behalf of Gender Dysphoria Alliance, Aaron Kimberly says, “The Gender Dysphoria Alliance is pleased with the decision to grant us intervention status in this case. We believe New Brunswick’s policy is an important safeguarding measure for children experiencing gender incongruence, since we know that most kids with this experience turn out to be gay or lesbian, not trans. Prematurely labelling kids “trans” and socially transitioning them is a psychosocial intervention that risks putting pre-gay kids onto an unnecessary medical pathway.”

Hatim Kheir, lawyer for both groups, says, “The Supreme Court has affirmed that parents in Canada have the right to guide the moral upbringing of their children. This case provides an opportunity for the Court to apply those rights to issues surrounding gender which are becoming increasingly relevant in our society.”

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Alberta

Defending Provincial Priorities

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News release from Free Alberta Strategy

The recent debate around zoning across the province is a prime example of federal encroachment.

The federal government offered money to cities to help with housing affordability challenges, but only made the money available if cities promised to change zoning policies.

As you are aware, The Free Alberta Strategy was built on the concept that the federal government needs to keep out of provincial jurisdiction.

For years, Ottawa has been watering down the constitutional delineation of duties between the federal government and the provincial government.

Bill 18 – the Provincial Priorities Act – is anticipated to pass in the Alberta Legislature this week, and represents a huge step in the direction of greater provincial jurisdictional autonomy.

The Provincial Priorities Act has been dubbed the “Keep Out of Our Backyard” law by Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.

Under the Provincial Priorities Act, any agreements between the federal government and any provincial entities – including municipalities – must receive provincial approval to be considered valid.

Agreements between the federal government and provincial entities lacking Alberta’s endorsement will be deemed illegal under this legislation.

When the legislation was announced, Smith was not mincing words:

“It is not unreasonable for Alberta to demand fairness from Ottawa. They have shown time and again that they will put ideology before practicality, which hurts Alberta families and our economy. We are not going to apologize for continuing to stand up for Albertans so we get the best deal possible.

“Since Ottawa refuses to acknowledge the negative impacts of its overreach, even after losing battles at the Federal and Supreme Courts, we are putting in additional measures to protect our provincial jurisdiction to ensure our province receives our fair share of federal tax dollars and that those dollars are spent on the priorities of Albertans.”

Although the federal government has limited direct authority in provincial jurisdiction, it can leverage its substantial financial resources to prompt or pressure provincial governments into specific actions.

The recent debate around zoning across the province is a prime example of federal encroachment.

The federal government offered money to cities to help with housing affordability challenges, but only made the money available if cities promised to change zoning policies.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek tried to claim that the federal housing funds were not contingent on the city’s rezoning efforts, but federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser posted a pretty strong response on social media platform X (formerly Twitter):

“If Calgary, or any other city, does not meet the conditions they have agreed to, we will withhold funding under the agreement.”

The federal government played the same trick in many other provinces, too.

But, notably, in Quebec, the federal government just gave the Quebec government the cash and let them distribute it to their municipalities without conditions.

It’s tempting to think this is just more federal bias towards Quebec.

But, actually, this is a great example of how pushing back can have results.

You see, the Provincial Priorities Act in Alberta is modeled after existing legislation in Quebec, known as “An Act Respecting the Ministère du Conseil exécutif,” which prohibits any municipal body from negotiating or entering into agreements with the federal government or its agencies without explicit authorization from the Quebec government.

If Ottawa wants to meddle in Quebec’s jurisdiction, it must first seek Quebec’s approval.

And it works – the federal government got back in line.

Now, with the Provincial Priorities Act, if Ottawa wants to meddle in Alberta’s jurisdiction, it must first seek Alberta’s approval.

It’s time for Ottawa to recognize Alberta’s autonomy and respect our right to determine our own future.

At the Free Alberta Strategy, we understand that constant vigilance is necessary – every time we establish a boundary, the federal government tries to circumvent it.

We will continue to inform you about what’s happening in Alberta and fight to keep Ottawa out.

But we need your support.

With your help, we can continue our work to defend Alberta’s sovereignty and serve the best interests of all Albertans.

Enough is enough – we will not stand by while our interests are disregarded.

If you are in a financial position to contribute to our work, please donate!

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Alberta

Alberta’s government honours the province’s top athletes, teams, coaches and officials with 2023 Sport Recognition Awards

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Minister of Tourism and Sport Joseph Schow presents the 2023 Alberta Sport Recognition Awards, honouring the province’s top athletes, teams, coaches and officials.

Celebrating excellence in Alberta sport

Alberta is a global leader in sport, and it’s thanks to the athletes, coaches and officials who dedicate themselves to excellence in their craft. The Alberta Sport Recognition program was established in 1987 to acknowledge the outstanding achievements and commitment of coaches, officials and volunteers in the province.

Recipients of the 2023 Sport Recognition Awards represent the best in sport from across the province, from exceptional athletes to hard-working coaches and officials. Through their unwavering dedication to sport, these individuals are contributing to Alberta’s reputation as a global leader in sport and help make our province the best place in the world to live, visit and play.

“These high-performance athletes, coaches, and officials have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in international and national competitions and are deserving of recognition for their efforts. I am proud of their contributions and grateful for their leadership in making Alberta a province that lives the spirit of sport.”

Joseph Schow, Minister of Tourism and Sport

“The award recipients have demonstrated dedication, passion and excellence which have set them apart as true champions in their respective fields. Many have reached the pinnacle of performance and each of the recipients has demonstrated unparalleled commitment and skill, inspiring others to reach for excellence in all they do.”

Dale Henwood, chair, Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

The 2023 award recipients are:

  • Junior Male Athlete of the Year – Nikita Ciudin – Sprint Canoe
  • Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Julia Bartlett – Biathlon
  • Junior Team of the Year – Team Tao – Curling – Johnson Tao, Jaedon Neuert, Ben Morin, Adam Naugler, Zach Davies and Skip Wilson (coach)
  • Open Male Athlete of the Year – Jeremiah Lauzon – Athletics
  • Open Female Athlete of the Year – Alexandria Loutitt – Ski Jumping
  • Open Team of the Year – Team Canada 3×3 Basketball – Michelle Plouffe, Katherine Plouffe, Paige Crozon, Kacie Bosch, Jamie Scott, and Kim Gaucher (coach)
  • Coaching Recognition Award: Rachel Koroscil – Biathlon
  • Coaching Recognition Award: Marty Birky – Basketball
  • Technical Official Recognition Award – Barb Bush – Springboard Diving
  • Technical Official Recognition Awards – Matthew Kallio – Basketball

Quick facts

  • In 2002, the Athlete and Team of the Year awards were added to the awards program to acknowledge high performance athletes and teams who are promoting Alberta on the national and international stage, and recognize their pursuit of sport development goals.
  • The Coach Recognition Award recognizes coaches for their outstanding achievements in developing Alberta’s amateur athletes.
  • The Official Recognition Award recognizes outstanding achievements in and commitments to officiating.
  • Award recipients were selected by a committee and considered results from the 2022/2023 competition season.
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