Civil Liberties Association Holds Public Consultation on GSAs in Schools

Civil Liberties Association Holds Public Consultation on GSAs in Schools

The Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association (RMCLA) recently conducted public consultations to continue Alberta’s ongoing conversation about Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) in schools. This post discusses the main themes revealed at the public consultation held at the University of Calgary on January 27, 2015.

Background

In December 2014, the Prentice government introduced Bill 10: An Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights To Protect Our Children, 3rd Sess, 28th Leg, 2014 (Bill 10) in response to public pressure driven by Liberal Private Members’ Bill 202, the Safe and Inclusive Schools Statutes Amendment Act. Without rehashing the details (which were discussed in an earlier post here), Bill 10 permitted school boards to deny a student’s request to create a GSA, and gave recourse to the Minister of Education in the event of such a denial. Amid a growing wave of public scrutiny, on December 4, 2014 Bill 10 was “put on hold for more consultation”.

photo: jglsongs/flickr

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Bill 202 v Bill 10: Battle of the Bills

Bill 202 v Bill 10: Battle of the Bills

The Alberta Legislature has been the subject of some controversy in recent weeks. On November 20, Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman introduced Bill 202: The Safe and Inclusive Schools Statutes Amendment Act, 2014, 3rd Sess, 28th Leg, Alberta, 2014. A week later, in an abruptly called press conference, Premier Jim Prentice described Bill 202 as “unnecessarily divisive” and announced that his government would introduce its own bill dealing with the issues raised by Bill 202. On December 1, Bill 10: An Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights To Protect Our Children, 3rd Sess, 28th Leg, 2014 was introduced by the Progressive Conservatives.  After being subjected to widespread public scrutiny, Bill 10 was amended on December 3, 2014. By the next day, it was clear that the amendment did not quell the rising tide of opposition and on December 4, Premier Prentice announced he was deferring Bill 10’s Third Reading until 2015.

photo: Mel Green/flickr

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