Bill 202: A Repeat of Bill 2
On Thursday, November 20, 2014, Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman moved first reading of Bill 202: Safe and Inclusive Schools Statutes Amendment Act, 2014
in the Alberta Legislature. (You can read the bill here.)
This bill is very concerning to home educators.
What is in Bill 202?
There are effectively 3 components to Bill 202. It is important to note that in previous legislative sessions, each component was tabled, debated, and lost in the Alberta Legislature. This bill now effectively proposes that all three bills be passed as one piece of legislation.
Bill 202 proposes to:
- Repeal Section 11.1 of the Human Rights Act. This section requires that parents be notified when educational programs or instructional materials that deal primarily and explicitly with religion, human sexuality or sexual orientation are discussed.
A new clause is proposed which would allow parents to request that a student be excused when these issues are discussed. However, the decision is ultimately left to the child to decide if they will participate or not.
- Change section 16 of the Education Act
Diversity and respect
16(1) All courses or programs of study and instructional materials used in a school must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect the common values and beliefs of Albertans.
Diversity and respect
16(1) All courses or programs of study and instructional materials used in a school must reflect the diverse nature and heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect for others and honour and respect The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act.
- Add a component to Section 33 of the Education Act (the anti-bullying section) which would force ALL schools to accommodate students who want to form gay-straight alliances AND be called by that name or any other name of the students' choice.
Part 2 of Bill 202 effectively undermines everything parents stood against in 2012
. It will change section 16 of the Education Act to the wording that was opposed.
Read AHEA's letter addressing Bill 202.
When will the bill be voted on? What is the significance of this being a private members bill?
A private member's bill is a proposed law introduced into the legislature by an MLA who is not a member of the government cabinet. The legislative procedures for such bills are significantly different than government bills.
Private members bills are only debated in the Alberta Legislature on Mondays, and the time allotted for debate in the legislature is restricted.
Bill 202 has received first reading. Given parliamentary procedures restrictions, the earliest that this bill could be voted on is December 8, 2014. It is important, however, to indicate opposition to the bill long before the voting date.
What to do now?
It is important that MLAs hear from constituents regarding the bill. Please write a letter outlining your concerns or call your MLA and Education Minister Dirks. Please keep your letters respectful and honouring.
Please pray for a Godly outcome for this bill, and please continue to keep all of Alberta's MLAs in your prayers.
To find your MLA and their contact information go here
Education Minister Dirks: 780-427-5010