A Catholic bishop from Calgary says totalitarianism is alive and well in Alberta, and that the NDP government is pushing a narrow minded anti-Catholic ideology. Bishop F.B. Henry posted his thoughts online after Minister of Education David Eggen released guidelines for how school boards should deal with LGBTQ students.
Alberta’s 61 school boards have until the end of March to draft policies and regulations tailored to their own regions. On Wednesday, Eggen presented guidelines that included how LGBTQ students are allowed to dress, which sports they can play and which washrooms they can use.
In a letter posted to the diocese website, Bishop Henry wrote: “God created beings as male and female,” adding “men and women should respect and accept their sexual identity.”
He called GSAs and QSAs “highly politicized ideological clubs…which accepts the idea that all forms of consensual sexual expression are legitimate,” which the bishop maintains is not Catholic.
In his letter, Henry wrote: “The Alberta Government “Guidelines” issued on January 13th show no evidence of consultation with or sensitivity to the Catholic community.
“They breathe pure secularism.
“This approach and directive smack of the madness of relativism and the forceful imposition of a particular narrow-minded anti-Catholic ideology. Such a totalitarian approach is not in accordance with the Supreme Court of Canada opinion (Loyola) delivered on March19, 2015 and must be rejected.”
Speaking to Global News on the phone from Winnipeg, Education Minister David Eggen responded to the bishop’s comments.
“I know that this process may be sometimes difficult, but sometimes the best and most important things are difficult to achieve along the way.”
He said the NDP government “strongly supports” Catholic education and has had “very positive” relationships with Catholic boards. Still, he stands behind the government’s guidelines.
“We’re dealing with very vulnerable children that require assistance to ensure that they get the safe and caring environment they need to learn and to thrive in school,” Eggen said.
“I think that we’re standing on the right side of this.”
Eggen said the guidelines were needed to “make sure that we close the gap between what’s the law here in Alberta and what some policies are with school boards.”
The education minister said the school boards’ policy-drafting process will continue through the end of March and he’s very optimistic with what the results will be.
Watch below: The province told Alberta school boards what they need to consider when developing policies for transgender students Jan. 13. Fletcher Kent reports.
With files from Emily Mertz, Global News