Bell: Danielle Smith ready, willing to duke it out on parental rights

Smith asks adults in this province debating these controversial and divisive issues to do all they can to ‘de-politicize the discussion’

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She goes further than other premiers facing the same issue.

But we are told Premier Danielle Smith is determined to stay the course and is not for turning. She believes what she’s doing is the right thing to do.

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Smith’s supporters stood and cheered late last year when she told them no matter how “the extreme left undermines the role of parents” she would stand firm for moms and dads and she would never apologize.

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On Wednesday afternoon her supporters were no doubt cheering again as the premier pushed out a video and all signs point to the premier not caving, not blinking, not flip-flopping, not even thinking about watering down her government’s plans when the fire-breathing criticism heads her way.

Actually, the naysayers are already talking about a fight and claiming Smith is wading into dangerous waters.

The NDP will have more to say Thursday as will Smith when she faces the press in Calgary.

But flies on the wall say her cabinet, her inner circle, are solidly on board with her.

It is said the full battalion of United Conservative members of the legislature have never been more united in their conservatism.

In her message to Albertans, Smith said kids 15 and under need parental consent to change their names or pronouns at school.

For those 16 or 17 years old they can change their names or pronouns but parents would have to be notified.

Smith says her UCP government will work with sports groups to make sure women and girls are not forced to compete with transgender female athletes.

“There are obvious biological realities that give transgender female athletes a massive competitive advantage over women and girls,” says the premier.

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In her video, Smith talks of kindness and inclusion and love and care and acceptance and support and ensuring everyone’s rights are protected with no discrimination or bullying as you hear the soft strumming of a guitar in the background.

The premier says children have the right “to grow and develop into mature adults so they are prepared to make the most impactful decisions affecting their lives.”

On Smith’s list of adult choices is “deciding whether or not to alter one’s biological sex.”

Making that decision as a youth “can severely limit that child’s choices in the future.”

Then Smith draws her line in the political sand.

“Prematurely encouraging children to alter their very biology or natural growth, no matter how well-intentioned and sincere, poses a risk to that child’s future that I, as premier, am not comfortable with permitting in our province.”

So for those 17 years old and under, top and bottom gender reassignment surgeries will not be permitted.

For those 15 and under, puberty blockers and hormone therapies “for the purpose of gender reassignment and affirmation” will not be allowed.

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For those 16 and 17 they will be permitted to start hormone therapies with a parental thumbs-up as well as the approval of a doctor and a psychologist.

As for teaching gender identity, sexual orientation or human sexuality, parents would have to be notified and would have to opt-in for their child to participate.

This would need to happen each time a teacher gives such instruction.

As well, all third-party materials or presentations related to gender identity, sexual orientation or human sexuality in schools would need pre-approval by the province’s education officials to make sure they are appropriate for the age of the students.

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Those flies on the wall say the Smith government has covered its bases.

They’ve done their polling. They feel confident they are reflecting the wishes of a strong majority of Albertans.

We are told number-crunching reveals Smith’s plans are very popular among Smith’s UCP voters.

They are also said to be popular with all ages in all parts of the province, men and women and extremely popular with parents.

They are even popular with NDP voters.

Opinion is split among women under 30.

So say the flies.

Smith admits these issues are very sensitive and they are not always easy conversations to have.

She asks adults in this province debating these controversial and divisive issues to do all they can to “de-politicize the discussion.”

The chances of that ever happening?

Between Slim and None and Slim just left town.

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