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Poilievre Says Trudeau Should Stay Out of NB’s School Gender Identity Debate

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Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre is telling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stay out of the debate over a recently revised New Brunswick policy stating that students identifying as transgender or non-binary must receive parental consent before changing their names within the province’s school system.

“This is a provincial policy,” Poilievre told reporters in Moncton, N.B., on June 27. “I know that Justin Trudeau has butted into that. The prime minister has no business in decisions that should rest with provinces and parents.”

Poilieve was referring to New Brunswick’s Policy 713, which changes the province’s province’s policy on gender identity in schools to mandate that students under the age of 16 must have parental consent to officially change their preferred names within the school system. 

If parents do not wish to give consent, Policy 713 dictates that the student should be referred to a psychologist or school counsellor to discuss how to speak with their parents.

N.B. Premier Blaine Higgs has said in reference to the legislation there has been a “rapid onset of gender dysphoria” in recent years and an “erosion of the family role” in the education system. 

The legislation has sparked dissent within Higgs’ Progressive Conservative party, with two of his cabinet ministers resigning over the issue.

Earlier this month, Trudeau weighed in on the province’s Policy 713 while speaking at a fundraiser for the LGBT charity Rainbow Railroad in Toronto on June 8. 

“Far-right political actors are trying to outdo themselves with the types of cruelty and isolation they can inflict on these already vulnerable people,” Trudeau said. “Right now, trans kids in New Brunswick are being told they don’t have the right to be their true selves, that they need to ask permission.”

Higgs responded to Trudeau shortly after by saying the prime minister doesn’t “believe parents need be involved in such critical discussions as gender identity, even in children as young as 4.”

“In New Brunswick, we’ll have a safe learning environment & better mental health supports, while still respecting the parent’s role,” Higgs wrote on Twitter on June 10.

The Canadian Press, Tara MacIsaac, and Matthew Horwood contributed to this report. 

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