Tories want parental rights bill scrapped
‘Party resolution’ downplayed
Some grassroots Conservatives want the government to scrap its controversial new protection for parental rights in the Human Rights Act.
At an annual general meeting Thursday night for Progressive Conservatives in Education Minister Dave Hancock’s riding, Edmonton-Whitemud, members passed a motion to put Bill 44 back on the agenda when the party meets in Red Deer in November.
The government voted in changes to the Human Rights Act earlier this month which recognize gay rights and create new protection for parents to pull their kids from classroom lessons dealing with religion, human sexuality or sexual orientation.
Critics fear teachers and school boards could be brought before human rights commissions if they misstep under the new rules.
While Hancock said early in the spring debate he believed such parental rights belonged in the School Act, he defended the new law alongside Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett.
Hancock was not present for the final vote in the legislature. He said Friday his association’s resolution came as no surprise because some members had long been passionate about the bill.
The Bill 44 resolution may not make it to the party’s official agenda in November, depending on what items are brought forward by other constituencies.
If the resolution to scrap parental rights were ultimately passed, the onus is only on the government to respond to the motion, not act on it.
“The government is a government for all Alberta, so it’s not dictated to by party resolution,” Hancock said.
Tory Ken Chapman said the resolution could send an important message from the party to the government.
But “if it doesn’t pass it will be a very important message to progressives.”