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Trudeau calls Alberta policies ‘most anti-LGBT in the country’

Premier Danielle Smith last week introduced plans for new rules for transgender children
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is calling Alberta’s new proposals on the treatment of transgender youth the “most anti-LGBT of anywhere in the country.” Trudeau makes an announcement in Waterloo, Ont. on Friday, Feb. 2, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nick Iwanyshyn

Alberta’s new proposals on the treatment of transgender youth are the “most anti-LGBT of anywhere in the country,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Speaking at an event in Waterloo, Ont., Trudeau added that if Alberta Premier Danielle Smith wants to fight to improve the lives of Canadians, her energy is misplaced.

“If Premier Smith wants to fight someone, stand with us and fight for Canadians on lower grocery prices, on affordable fuel, on more housing, on fighting climate change,” he said.

“Fight with us to defend the rights of vulnerable Canadians. Don’t fight against vulnerable LGBT youth.”

Smith announced earlier this week her plans to change rules for transgender children in Alberta.

She said the fall sitting of the legislature would bring a ban on gender reassignment surgery for those 17 and under. There would be no puberty blockers or hormone therapies for the purposes of such surgery for anyone 15 and under, unless they’ve already begun such procedures.

Parental consent would be required 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 would have to be notified.

And the province would clamp down on transgender female athletes competing in women’s and girls’ sports.

Smith said the changes are to protect children from the consequences of choices they may later regret. It’s also to preserve the role of parents in the lives.

Trudeau had a different assessment.

“Danielle Smith has now moved forward with the most anti-LGBT policies of anywhere in the country,” he said.

Trudeau noted Smith’s announcement came a week after she sat down at a ticketed event to interview far-right American firebrand Tucker Carlson.

A court challenge in Alberta has already been promised from two LGBTQ rights advocacy groups. Rallies opposing the changes areplanned for this weekend in Calgary and Edmonton.

The proposals have also been criticized by the Alberta Teachers’ Association, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, medical professionals and the province’s NDP Opposition.

The province says the current required age for genital reconstruction surgery is 18 and the required age for surgery on masculinization of the torso is 16.

New Brunswick and Saskatchewan have also enacted policies for young people questioning their gender, bringing in rules that require students 16 and younger to have parental permission to change their names or pronouns at school.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs said Friday his government is still in the process of analyzing the proposed changes in Alberta.

He said New Brunswick, Alberta and other places in the world are trying to determine the right amount of parental involvement in a child’s life.

“Lots of people are trying to find a balance between parents and their children, which is exactly what we’re trying to do … find that balance and, and we’ll continue to pursue that,” said Higgs.

READ ALSO: Saskatchewan: parental consent needed for student name, pronoun change