The World Forum - April 19th, 2024

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Justin Trudeau dismisses parental rights as 'far right'


It may be that the prime minister didn’t mean to disparage millions of parents by lumping them in with other far-right radicals like white supremacists and fascists, but that he did so speaks to his tendency to shoot from the lip. 

It is unfortunate that, once again, Trudeau, who has often denounced partisanship while urging conciliation, uses inflammatory rhetoric which will alienate a large portion of Canadians. 

Trudeau’s divisive language comes in the wake of the government of New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs making controversial changes to gender rules in the province’s schools. 

One major change is that parental consent would be required for trans or nonbinary students under the age of 16 to change their names or pronouns in school. Higgs, who is facing a revolt from some of his own members about the policy, has defended it as “taking a strong position for families.” 

Higgs is at least being open and transparent about making parental rights a political issue, he’s even willing to fight an election over it. 

“I believe that strongly in the case of finding a solution here where we do not exclude parents in their child’s life,” he said. 

In most of Canada — as documented previously — it is now official policy to keep parents in the dark if children come out as trans to teachers. These guidelines have been brought in by stealth and without discussion with parents. 

Into this highly-charged and emotional debate, where one hopes that balance, nuance, and respect might reign, steps the prime minister. 

“Far-right political actors are trying to outdo themselves with the types of cruelty and isolation they can inflict on these already vulnerable people,” the prime minister said last Thursday as he targeted Higgs’ new policy. 

“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. Well, trans kids need to feel safe, not targeted by politicians.  

“We have to stand against this. We have to stand up for the freedoms we believe in and continue our work of letting love be louder than hate.” 

To be clear: “standing against this” is to object to a policy that gives parents the right to be told by teachers whether their under 16 year old child may be transitioning to a different gender. 

And Higgs is “far-right” because of his support for parental rights which must therefore be a far-right policy in the eyes of Trudeau. 

In a response to the prime minister on Twitter, Higgs replied, “Once again Justin Trudeau shows he does not support the role of parents in guiding their children’s future.”