On July 22 members of the Wildrose Party and Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta chose to merge and form a new political party called the United Conservative Party. A new interim leader was declared this week, MLA for Olds-Three Hills-Didsbury, Nathan Cooper. Questions were raised about his past views and work around LGBTQ2+ issues. We too have questions about his current position on LGBTQ2+ citizens, human rights and how this impacts UCP policy towards LGBTQ2+ youth and GSA's. We have written and sent Mr Cooper a letter, posted below. One of our supporters from the Olds-Three Hills-Didsbury constituency also kindly delivered a copy of the letter to his office.
Mr. Nathan Cooper
Interim Leader United Conservative Party
Dear Mr. Cooper,
July 26, 2017
On behalf of Support Our Students Alberta, a public education advocacy organization, I wanted to reach out to you to engage in productive dialogue around education policy as you are now at the helm of the recently created United Conservative Party and official opposition in the legislature.
Support Our Students Alberta is a non-profit, volunteer organization promoting equitable and accessible public education for children across Alberta. We represent citizens, parents and students who believe strongly that diversity and acceptance are our greatest strengths in Alberta.
Among our supporters are parents and children who are supportive of and are themselves from the LGBTQ2+ community and they are concerned for the safety and rights of students while at school.
We understand in the 8-10 years since your participation in the organization: C anada Family Action , (an organization committed to seeing,“Christian principles applied in Canadian Law”) your “thinking has evolved” and you now “unequivocally support the LGBTQ community.” The most fortunate part of this change of opinion is that you are in a position not just to change your mind, but to affect real change in this regard with many Albertans. Instead of limiting people’s rights, you can now actively protect them, particularly as it relates to children in Alberta schools.
The Support Our Students Alberta community has very real concerns about your party’s commitment to uphold the rights of children in Alberta schools and would appreciate your clarification on the position you and the United Conservative Party hold with respect to the following issues:
1. What specific policy initiatives will the UCP develop to ensure the safety of children at school and specifically students in Gay Straight Alliances across this province?
2. Do you support comprehensive sexual health education as a part of the provincial curriculum in schools including topics of consent, body agency and LGBTQ2+ topics for all Alberta students?
3. Do you support the human rights of transgender students to use the bathrooms and locker rooms in which they identify?
4. Minister Eggen has asked all school authorities to develop policies that specifically support LGBTQ2+ students, staff and families. Do you support this policy requirement? Will you ensure that all schools fully comply?
5. Do you support parental notification for any child wishing to join a Gay Straight Alliance in their school? Please explain your position.
Mr. Cooper, these are just some of the questions, citizens, parents and students come to Support Our Students Alberta with, some of whom are in fact, your constituents. We would like to facilitate your response to these questions about what your position is and the position of the UCP is on these issues. We would be more than pleased to post your responses to these important questions so that our engaged parents can have their concerns answered directly from you.
Many kind thanks for your time and consideration. We appreciate you taking the time to reach out to Albertans on these important issues.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us at the number provided below.
Support Our Students Alberta