Edmonton

Student gay-straight alliances focus of private member's bill

Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman plans to table Bill 202, the Safe and Inclusive Schools Act, in the Alberta Legislature today.

Liberal Laurie Blakeman looking to Wildrose, Tories for support

Alberta Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman plans to table Bill 202 in the Alberta legislature on Thursday. (CBC)

A private member’s bill compelling school boards to allow students to form gay-straight alliances will be tabled in the Alberta legislature on Thursday.

Bill 202, the Safe and Inclusive Schools Act, also aims to repeal a controversial section of the Alberta Human Rights Act, that forces schools to notify parents whenever religion, sexuality or sexual orientation is discussed in the classroom.

Liberal MLA Laurie Blakeman hopes she will win support from other parties for her bill.

“I'm hoping my stars are going to line up for this one,” she said.

Although the Wildrose Party didn't support a motion on gay-straight alliances last spring, leader Danielle Smith said she would likely support Blakeman’s bill.

“I've met with a number of students who have been involved in those kind of clubs,” Smith said Tuesday. “I understand why they need a safe place and an accepting place to be able to talk about their sexual orientation.”

The question remains whether the Tories with their 61 of 87 seats will support the legislation. Premier Jim Prentice isn’t planning to comment on Bill 202 until he sees the wording.

Blakeman has heard contradictory information on whether they will back her bill.

“I think it’s kind of a minute-by-minute thing,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to put money on this one. I have no idea.”

As for the Wildrose, Blakeman thinks a number of Wildrose MLAs will support what she says is a bill to protect vulnerable children.


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