Statement by Bea Bruske: Canada’s unions are calling out Alberta Premier’s attempt to use trans and gender-diverse children, youth and adults to score political points

February 1, 2024

“Premier Smith recently announced sweeping policy proposals that would undermine the inclusion, well-being and safety of trans and gender-diverse Albertans.  

Politicians must be held accountable to make evidence-based, compassionate decisions and Smith’s proposed policies are the exact opposite, relying instead on disinformation and putting trans and queer kids at risk. 

Premier Smith claims to “care deeply” about trans and gender-diverse children and youth. But her proposals are a cynical attempt to violate queer and trans children’s rights to privacy and safety in Alberta.  

We are witnessing an increase in legislated transphobic violence, namely, the rise of so-called “parental rights” policies and legislation in Canada and we will not stand for it.  

Canada’s unions will not stand for Smith’s tactics to sweep the real issues under the rug at the expense of 2SLGBTQI+ youth. We need to prioritize the health and well-being of 2SLGBTQI+ youth by rejecting transphobic policies. 

This announcement is the latest in a string of decisions by Smith’s government that have had a detrimental effect on Albertans and does nothing to fix the real crises they face. Choices made by the Smith government, for example, have exacerbated the affordability crisis and have led to a spike in food bank usage. At a time when Smith is losing support from Albertans generally and UCP members specifically, she has taken a page from a damaging conservative playbook to try and gain political points. 

This week’s announcement also makes Smith the third conservative Premier to use trans kids as political pawns, and we won’t stand for it. Canada’s unions will not be idle while Premier Smith and other conservative leaders play politics with trans and gender-diverse communities, we will continue to unite workers across the country and work in solidarity with 2SLGBTQI+ advocates to strike down these discriminatory policies. 

We cannot allow our governments to overstep their boundaries to push their personal agenda or use kids as a political tool to deflect attention from their failure to confront the real challenges facing workers and their families – like the cost-of-living crisis.”

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