Crowd rallies in Calgary against Bill 8
Dozens gathered outside Calgary’s municipal building on Sunday to speak out against the United Conservative Party’s recently passed Education Amendment Act, also known as Bill 8.
Some in the crowd say the changes diminish safety of Gay Straight Alliances, which are inclusion-based social clubs on Alberta schools.
“It’s just important to protect children from everyone who could possibly harm them, especially LGBT children who don’t have a lot of safe spaces,” said grade 11 student Ryley, who goes by “Peanut Buttertuck” when in drag.
GSAs were life-saving after experiencing bullying, assault, estrangement from family, and even suicide attempts, some say.
“It’s because a lot of parents they are not supportive of youth, they are not supportive of queer people and some of that stems from religion and some of that stems from ideal of what they want their children to do," said Ryley.
Organizers said they invited members of the United Conservative Party, but none showed.
Members of Alberta’s opposition who attended the rally say they hope to keep up the debate about the legislation.
“I’m pretty sure this government was hoping that the whole Bill 8 discussion would fizzle out over the summer,” said Janis Irwin, NDP MLA for Edmonton Highlands-Norwood. She is also the LGBTQ2S+ and Women’s critic.
A statement to CTV News from Education Minister Adriana Lagrange it reads:
“Our government respects the ability for Albertans to voice their opinions. We have been clear that we oppose mandatory parental notification of any student.
“Student privacy will continue to be protected under our province's robust privacy legislation, the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Information Protection Act.
“Additionally, once requested by a student it is not optional for a principal to allow for the creation of an inclusion group, such as a GSA or a QSA. Students and their parents can be reassured that we have the most comprehensive statutory protections for LGBTQ2S+ students in Canada."