Alberta Transgender Youth Policy | Ottawa expresses its dissatisfaction

(Calgary) Alberta’s proposed changes to rules regarding transgender youth will put children at risk, according to federal Health Minister Mark Holland.

At a press briefing on Thursday in Ottawa, Mr. Holland recalled that questions about sexual identity are one of the main reasons that push young people to take their own lives.

Holland plans to meet with Alberta Health Minister Adriana LaGrange soon to find a “solution” to the policies announced Wednesday by Premier Danielle Smith.

“The impact of this policy is disastrous,” said Minister Holland during his meeting with journalists in the House of Commons.


Federal Health Minister Mark Holland

“When Alberta presents a position like that, it threatens the health of young girls and young men in Alberta, but (also) across the country, because it continues to attack people who are so vulnerable,” he said. he lamented.

Wednesday, Mme Smith announced that his government will put in place provisions which will notably ensure that students aged 15 and under who wish to change their name or pronoun at school will first have to obtain parental consent.

Students aged 16 and 17 who wish to change their name or pronoun will not have to obtain parental consent beforehand, but their parents must be informed.

Mme Smith also said his government will impose restrictions on hormone therapy and surgery for transgender teenagers, as well as on participation in sports for transgender women.

Present alongside Mr. Holland, the Federal Minister of Justice, Arif Virani, clarified that it is still too early to comment on possible legal challenges.

“They announced what they were planning to do. They didn’t file anything. There is no legislation,” underlined Mr. Virani.

The minister supported Mr. Holland in saying that Mr. Holland’s proposalsme Smith would endanger vulnerable young people.

“Targeting this small minority for political purposes in Alberta – as the Prime Minister seems to be doing – is not worthy of her office,” said Mr. Virani.

The opposition opposes the measures

Mme Smith announced the changes in a video posted on the social network X. She noted that the government’s decision was made following discussions with her United Conservative Party caucus.

Alberta NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley called the proposed changes “horrible.”


Alberta NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley

She denounced that Mme Smith imposes “cynical and cruel” measures that target vulnerable young people and interfere in private medical decisions.

“Basically, Danielle Smith is playing dangerous politics by using the lives of young people,” said Notley.

The New Democratic leader assured that her party will do everything in its power to push back the government, but she noted that it will first be up to Minister LaGrange to respect the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and to ensure that all young people have equitable access to health care.

Among the other changes announced by Mme Smith, note that parents will need to be informed and will need to give consent for their children to learn about gender identity, sexuality and sexual orientation at school.

Mme Notley also opposes this change.

“Danielle Smith is proposing to make Alberta the only province where parents will have to accept or, in other words, actively request sexual health education,” said Notley.

“Thousands of children will therefore be excluded from this program — a program in which we teach concepts like contraception and consent. »

Several groups are also against

Several LGBTQ+ community advocacy groups have harshly criticized the changes proposed by the Alberta government.

In a joint statement, Egale Canada and the Skipping Stone Foundation said they will take legal action if Alberta moves forward.

Harini Sivalingam of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association added that Alberta’s changes are a “clear and blatant attack on freedom.”

“We are closely monitoring the situation in Alberta and support the use of all available legal tools to protect the rights and freedoms of trans and gender diverse people in this province and across Canada,” said Sivalingam in a press release.

Last year, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick also decided to require parental consent for students to change their name or pronoun at school, but the age was set at 16.


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