EDMONTON, AB (December 3, 2014): Alberta Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman says the majority of Albertans support the ideas found in her Private Members’ Bill, and she plans to insert them into the government’s new legislation.
“The proposals in Bill 202 are worthy of a proper debate in the legislature,” says Blakeman. “It is time the PCs put their views about allowing GSAs and stopping discrimination on the record.”
Blakeman will move to amend Bill 10: the Act to Amend the Alberta Bill of Rights to Protect our Children with two specific clauses from Bill 202: the Safe and Inclusive Schools Statutes Amendment Act.
The first will be to mandate support for Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) in all schools where students request them. The second will replace the words “human sexuality” from the parental opt-out clause in the government bill with “sexual health education,” which is the more specific term in her bill.
“I’ve taken the exact language of Bill 202 for both of these amendments,” says Blakeman. “The sponsor said she and her colleagues would support a vote just on GSAs, so let’s have it.
“The support for GSAs has been pouring in and I really believe that this is an idea whose time has come. At a minimum it is worthy of a full debate and vote. So I hope the government will view this amendment as a way of improving their bill.
“I also want to make sure we are talking about sexual health education, not sexual orientation, as the term human sexuality could be interpreted in a number of ways. We need to make this distinction crystal clear.”
While she isn’t speculating on how Government Members may have been instructed to vote on amendments, Blakeman says she is hopeful MLAs who have supported these ideas in the past will stand up for them again today.
“The premier has said that this is a free vote, but we will see,” says Blakeman. “There is no reason PC MLAs, including Bill 10’s sponsor, should be concerned about supporting these ideas if they truly believe in them.
“This goes beyond party lines to the very safety and well-being of Alberta’s young students.”
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