Advertisement

Parental consent should be required for student pronoun changes: Manitoba Tories

Click to play video: 'Parental consent should be required for student pronoun changes: Manitoba Tories'
Parental consent should be required for student pronoun changes: Manitoba Tories
The issue of whether parents should consent to their child's name or pronoun changes at school reignited in Manitoba Tuesday. The interim leader of the Opposition Progressive Conservatives said parental consent should be required, while the province's NDP premier accused the Tories of being divisive – Mar 12, 2024

The issue of whether parents should consent to their child’s name or pronoun changes at school reignited in Manitoba Tuesday. The interim leader of the Opposition Progressive Conservatives said parental consent should be required, while the province’s NDP premier accused the Tories of being divisive.

“I really do feel that informing parents, even on the level of consent — whether it’s the topic of pronouns, whether it’s some other topics within the education world — I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” said interim Tory leader Wayne Ewasko, a former teacher and guidance counsellor.

“Why would we want to hide various topics away from parents and guardians when we’re trying … to get more and more parents and guardians involved in their kids’ education?”
Premier Wab Kinew accused Ewasko of reviving rhetoric that the Tories hinted at in the last election, when the NDP swept to power after seven years of Tory rule.

Story continues below advertisement

“This sort of division, I think, was rejected in the election by Manitobans, and it’s disappointing that that message hasn’t been received by the PCs’ interim leader,” Kinew said.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

In the campaign leading up to last October’s election, the Tories made parental rights in education part of their platform. But the promise was vaguely worded and focused on issues such as parental knowledge of the curriculum and presentations from outside groups.

At the same time, some other provinces were coming up with specific policies on names and pronouns.

Saskatchewan and New Brunswick brought in rules last year requiring consent for students 16 and under to change their names or pronouns at school.

Lawyers for UR Pride, a Regina LGBTQ organization, argued Saskatchewan’s policy violates Charter rights and could cause teachers to out or misgender children. The Saskatchewan Party government invoked the notwithstanding clause to override sections of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code.

Alberta announced changes more recently that include parental consent for students 15 and under who want to change their names or pronouns at school. Students 16 and 17 would not need consent, but their parents must be notified.

Ewasko was chosen as his party’s temporary leader after former leader Heather Stefanson stepped down in January. He will serve until a party leadership convention expected this autumn.

Story continues below advertisement

Ewasko, in an interview with the Globe and Mail published Tuesday, said he wanted to “put an exclamation mark” on the parental involvement issue.

Kinew did not answer directly when asked whether his NDP government plans any policies on the issue, but hinted at leaving the status quo for now and expressing support for transgender kids.

“I think our team has a lot of trust in teachers, parents, students, to be able to have a constructive relationship and focus on the best interest of the child,” he said.
Ewasko said support is available for students who may be fearful of their parents’ reaction.

“If students are feeling anxiety or apprehension to be able to have that conversation with parents, that’s why we have guidance counsellors, that’s why we have school social workers, that’s why we have these wraparound services in our education system.”

Sponsored content

AdChoices