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Doug Ford to meet Danielle Smith amidst transgender legislation debate

Ontario Premier Doug Ford speaks during a press conference at a TTC subway station in Toronto on Monday, Feb. 5, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is set to meet his Alberta counterpart for a breakfast on Wednesday, days after the western province unveiled controversial changes for transgender youth.

Ford’s office is at pains to stress the premier will not discuss introducing similar reforms in Ontario.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is in Ontario to advocate for her province and will meet Ford for a “working breakfast” on the heels of announcing a controversial policy changing the rules for transgender youth.

Smith’s new plan will require schools to notify parents and obtain consent if a student wants to change their name or pronouns. It also prohibits anyone under 18 from getting gender-affirmation surgeries.

Puberty blockers and hormone therapy will not be allowed for kids aged 15 and under, unless they’ve already started treatment.

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The policy has sparked controversy in Alberta and protests at the legislature.

The Ford government has been quick to distance itself from any suggestion it could implement the same rules in Ontario. Asked Monday if he would follow Alberta’s lead, Ford said he was “leaving everything alone” in Ontario.

Ford’s office said that Wednesday’s breakfast will not involve any discussion of copying the new policy.

“The premier was clear that our focus remains on delivering on the commitments we made during the campaign, which doesn’t include replicating the changes the Alberta government unveiled last week,” a spokesperson for Ford said.

The meeting will feature conversations over the carbon tax, economic growth and duplication with the federal government, Ford’s office said.

— with files from Global’s Jennifer Ivanov

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