A rally urging the Saskatchewan government to respect people’s rights is scheduled to take place outside the legislature before politicians return this afternoon.
The Saskatchewan Party government is planning to introduce legislation and invoke the notwithstanding clause over its pronoun policy in schools.
The legislation would prevent those under 16 from changing their names or pronouns at school without parental consent.
Premier Scott Moe says using the notwithstanding clause of the Charter ensures the policy remains in place, even though a judge granted an injunction to pause it.
With a huge majority in the legislature, the Sask Party should have no trouble getting the bill passed, but how long that takes is an entirely different matter. The NDP opposition could attempt a filibuster, although no one in the party has confirmed the potential use of that tactic.
The provincial government has been accused of rushing this policy through the legislature with no consultation with teachers, schools or parents. The Sask Party Government has said they took the action after MLA’s reported hearing from their constituents about a desire for a gender and pronoun policy. In the recent court hearing, the government produced over a dozen of letters asking for the policy, or something like it. None of those letters have been made public, and the SaskParty has not released a list of MLA’s who say they were listening to the concerns of the people who live in their riding.
The government has said it is acting to protect parental rights.
The Provincial Child Advocate has expressed concern with this policy, saying it may violate the rights of children who are impacted.
By invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the provincial government will be able to leave the law in place for up to five years. This would also mean no court challenges during that time.
–With files from the Canadian Press–