April 10, 2019 6:20 pm
Updated: April 10, 2019 6:56 pm

Saskatchewan NDP calls for province to introduce legislation to protect GSAs

The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on Premier Scott Moe's government to introduce legislation that would protect students' abilities to form gay-straight alliances.

Michael Bell / The Canadian Press

The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on Premier Scott Moe’s government to introduce legislation that would protect students’ rights to form gay-straight alliance clubs.

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Opposition Leader Ryan Meili says the issue is a topic of debate right now in Alberta, where the United Conservatives’ Jason Kenney says if elected he would replace legislation that prevents educators from telling parents if their children participate in GSAs.

Meili calls that move backward and says the Saskatchewan Party government needs to legislate students’ rights to form or join a GSA.

READ MORE: Lethbridge rally held to support GSAs, oppose UCP education plan

“Looking at legislation would bring something further to adjust the policy and it will provide students who don’t necessarily feel supported at school or at home, more of a clear path of how they can go about resolving these kinds of issues if they arise,” Meili said.

The NDP says Saskatchewan is one of the only provinces where a student’s right to do so is not protected by legislation.

“We’ve run into students who haven’t been supported and we’ve also had students who don’t necessarily feel safe trying to start one because of potential repercussions of having parents know,” Meili said.

“GSAs are super important and really provides a safe space and community within their school where they can feel supported and where they can feel like they can really be themselves.”

READ MORE: Albertans rally in support of current GSA rules after UCP education plan released

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says the province already has a policy in place allowing for GSAs in schools that respect the confidentiality of students.

Meili says students are still facing barriers when it comes to forming GSAs, but Minister of Education Gord Wyant says he has not received a complaint.

“That policy was developed in consultation with school divisions, teachers, members of the LGBTQ community and I think the policy works very well,” Wyant said.

“In my 13-14th month as the minister of education, we haven’t had a complaint whether or not a student has been denied the ability to create a GSA.”

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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