A bill put forward by a lawmaker from Canada’s Liberal party that would have mandated all schools in Alberta province to have on campus gay-straight alliance (GSA) programs to support LGBTI young people was voted down on Tuesday.
Like similar laws already in place in Manitoba and Ontario provinces, the bill would have covered faith based non-government schools, which is largely why its opponents voted against it.
Members of the Wildrose party and ruling Progressive Conservative party largely voted against the bill – though some Progressive Conservatives did vote in favor of it.
Members of the New Democrats and Liberals all voted in favor of it but the bill was defeated 19 to 31.
The Wildrose party had a free vote on the issue but all of its lawmakers chose to oppose it.
Alberta province’s Progressive Conservative Premier Dave Hancock told the Times Colonist that had be been present for the vote he would have voted in favor of the bill – though his own Education Minister opposed it.
‘We’re supportive of GSAs,’ Education Minister Jeff Johnson said through a press secretary according to the Calgary Herald, ‘But at this point in time we will not mandate that all school boards provide for GSAs.’
‘We have to be cognizant and appreciate that [school boards] are local officials who are responsible for this and they get elected and have a mandate from their supporters and their constituents … We’re not going to prescribe to locally elected school authorities what they may or may not do.
Alberta New Democrats leader Brian Mason accused Wildrose and the Progressive Conservatives of failing young LGBTI people by allowing the bill to fail.
‘We believe that no children should be subject to bullying for any reason, including their sexual orientation,’ Mason told the Times Colonist on Tuesday.