The following is a statement from Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan in response to Premier Danielle Smith’s new policies targeting trans kids and attacking sex education in Alberta schools:
“We need to be clear about what’s going on here. This isn’t about protecting kids. It’s not even about supporting parents. It’s a political tactic ripped from the playbook of the extreme right in the US, Europe and South America.
“The goal is to create scapegoats, sow division and erode trust in public institutions, especially our public schools. The fact that they’re using some of our most vulnerable kids as targets in this twisted game, and literally putting their lives at risk in the process, makes it even more despicable.
“One of the biggest ironies here is that these are the same people who regularly decry the so-called ‘globalist’ agenda. But, they’re the ones who are shamelessly mimicking the tactics of American MAGA Republicans and other far-right politicians and political parties from around the globe.
“Another irony is that existing laws already require parental consent for all surgeries on children – whether it’s surgery for appendicitis or gender reassignment. So, in the name of “parental rights,” the UCP is actually taking away parental rights – which helps illustrate that this isn’t really about parental rights, after all.
“Albertans need to stand up in defense of our gay and trans kids, who are being targeted, demonized, and segregated by these policies. We also need to rally to defend our public school system, which is being unfairly maligned. The real problem with our schools is that they’re grossly underfunded by the provincial government. Undermining sex education and forcing teachers to out kids and will only make things worse.
“Finally, we need to make it clear to our fellow Albertans that, with these policies, the UCP is attempting to divide us, distract us, and manipulate us. It’s a cynical and dangerous political tactic.
“Why does the UCP want us fighting over these issues? Because they want to distract us from the fact that they’re not doing anything to address the affordability crisis, the crisis in our health care system, the climate chane crisis or the drought and wildfire crisis that is going slam into us like a freight train in the spring. They also want us fighting amongst ourselves so it’s easier for them to dismantle our pensions and privatize our health care and education systems.
“Albertans didn’t vote for this dangerous MAGA nonsense. It’s time for all of us to let the UCP know that we see what they’re up to – and that we won’t let them get away with it. They want to divide us. Let’s give them the opposite – an Alberta that is united against their toxic agenda and vile tactics.”
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Director of Communications, AFL