Gay-straight alliance bill needs some work, says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the government made the right move in putting Bill 10 on hold. He is just one of many who have voiced concerns about the proposed legislation.

​Outrage over Bill 10 continues to reverberate beyond Alberta

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says it's unthinkable that politicians have been debating what clubs Alberta students can join. (CBC)

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the government made the right move in putting Bill 10 on hold.

The bill would allow school boards to prohibit students from forming a gay-straight alliance (GSA), although they could appeal the decision to Alberta's education minister.

Nenshi says Bill 10 needs a lot of work.

He says it's unthinkable that politicians have been debating what clubs kids can join.

"There's no question of balancing human rights here," said Nenshi. "It's about inclusion. It's about diversity. And the thing that makes us successful, as I've said many, many times, is that here in this city we welcome everyone and we give everyone the chance to live a great life."

He says the province should say it stands for everyone's dignity, rights and their ability to feel safe.

Rick Mercer weighs in

Nenshi wasn't the only high-profile critic.

​Outrage over Bill 10 continues to reverberate beyond Alberta, and adding to the sound and fury is comedian Rick Mercer.

"It looks ridiculous. It's embarrassing," he said.

"This whole entire issue of gay-straight alliances — whether people like it or they don`t like it — these are some of the most vulnerable citizens in society. There are gay kids in schools now, they come out earlier, they're at risk and they need to be protected. And they have the right to have a safe space. If people have a right to a chess club, they can have a GSA."

Rally held in Calgary

Roughly 50 Calgarians were at a noon hour rally outside the McDougall Centre Thursday to protest against Bill 10.

Local blogger Mike Morrison helped organize the event.

Education minister Gordon Dirks credits youth for changing stance on GSAs. But youth say they shouldn't have had to fight so much. (CBC)

"We're here today to say there's no reason for gay-straight alliances to not be allowed in every single school, in every single town and every single city all across Alberta," he said.

Caprice Kirkhope, a 15-year-old Calgary student who calls herself an open lesbian, says Bill 10 is a big letdown.

"Because they're taking away a basic human right we have and it really, really hurts, obviously," she said.

Kirkhope would like to see a gay-straight alliance at her Calgary school because it could help many students.

"There are a lot of closeted people that I know in my school, and they don't want to come out because they don't feel safe around most of the people in my school and it would just help them a lot," she said. 

The people at the rally want Albertans to sign petitions against Bill 10 and to call their MLA.

Some people opposed to Bill 10 and its amendment gathered outside the government building in Calgary today for a rally. (CBC)


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.