Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s office sent a memo to his MPs to remind them of “mandatory” attendance at a caucus meeting as “gender ideology” protesters gathered outside Parliament Wednesday morning.
Global News obtained a copy of the memo, which included Poilievre’s previous comments on “parental rights” issues and the New Brunswick government’s decision to require parents be notified if their child wishes to use a preferred name or pronoun while in school.
News of the memo was first reported on by The Canadian Press on Wednesday.
The memo opens with a request that Conservative MPs “please do not talk to media or post on social media about this issue.”
“Protestors have legitimate points to make, and they enjoy the freedom of assembly and expression to make them,” the memo read.
A second source confirmed the authenticity of the memo Wednesday afternoon.
“On Wednesday mornings, party caucuses meet, requiring the attendance of all MPs. If needed, feel free to use (Poilievre’s) previous two statements to communicate with constituents on the issue of parental rights.”
Protests and counter-protests took place in several cities across Canada Wednesday over what protest organizers referred to as “gender ideology” in Canadian schools.
Protest organizers had a varied list of grievances but have rallied around opposition to educating students about sexual orientation and gender identity, requests to call people by their preferred pronouns, and “mixed bathrooms in schools.”
The messages echo steps taken by some Canadian provinces and several U.S. states targeting the rights of transgender people.
Counter-protesters and a number of progressive politicians took a stand Wednesday against what they view as anti-transgender and anti-LGBTQ2 movements.
“Let me make one thing very clear: Transphobia, homophobia, and biphobia have no place in this country. We strongly condemn this hate and its manifestations, and we stand united in support of 2SLGBTQI+ Canadians across the country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted on X Wednesday, while attending a UN meeting in New York.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also took part in a counter-protest march, and tweeted that “the rise of hate towards the 2SLGBTQI+ community is deeply alarming. All people deserve safety and freedom to be who they are. Today and every day, New Democrats stand with the trans community in solidarity.”
Poilievre and Conservative MPs have been much more muted in their public comments on the protests. But the social conservative movement — which has some sway within the party and includes multiple sitting MPs — has rallied around “parental rights” issues in the recent past.
At the party’s Québec City policy convention earlier this month, delegates voted overwhelmingly to make it Conservative policy to restrict gender-affirming care to minors. The policy — which was endorsed by 69 per cent of the grassroots delegates — sought to commit a Conservative government to banning “life altering medicinal or surgical interventions” for Canadians under the age of 18 experiencing “gender dysphoria and related mental health challenges.”
Delegates also voted to affirm support for “single-sex spaces” and affirming Canadians’ right to refuse medical treatments like vaccines.
Speaking before the convention generally about policy resolutions, Poilievre said his team would review the policies that were approved but that he would not be bound by the votes.
A Conservative source, who agreed to discuss Wednesday’s memo on the condition they not be named, said Poilievre’s office routinely issues talking points to Conservative MPs on prominent issues.
“Every party does this, I’d be shocked if (the Prime Minister’s Office) didn’t issue similar ones,” the source said.
Included in the memo was Poilievre’s previous comments on “parental rights,” saying he “understood it’s about parents that are frustrated with government imposing contrary values on their children.”
“My view is that parents should be the final authority on the values and lessons that should be taught to children,” Poilievre is quoted as saying.
“I believe in parental rights, and parental rights come before the government’s rights.”
— with files from David Baxter.
- Global Calgary’s Leslie Horton shuts down email body-shamer on live TV
- How to know if you have salmonella as death toll rises from cantaloupe outbreak
- Ontario stay-at-home dad overwhelmed by ‘compassionate’ response to financial struggles
- Record gold prices could hit the value of your portfolio — and your jewelry box