Saskatchewan Government to Invoke Notwithstanding Clause Over School Pronoun Policy

Saskatchewan Government to Invoke Notwithstanding Clause Over School Pronoun Policy
The Saskatchewan Party government is prepared to introduce legislation this afternoon and invoke the notwithstanding clause over its pronoun policy. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe speaks to the media in Regina on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Heywood Yu

The Saskatchewan Party government is set to introduce contentious legislation this afternoon concerning its pronoun policy in schools. This move comes as the legislature resumes amidst heightened debate and public scrutiny.

Parental Consent at the Forefront

Premier Scott Moe clarified the government’s stance, stating that the primary goal of the legislation is to prevent students under the age of 16 from changing their names or pronouns at school without the consent of their parents. “Using the notwithstanding clause of the Charter ensures the policy remains in place,” Moe explained, referencing the legal tool that would allow the province to override certain Charter rights temporarily.

This clarification comes after a judge granted an injunction to temporarily halt the policy’s implementation, emphasizing the controversial nature of this move by the government.

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NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asks a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Wednesday, Sept.27, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Opposition Gears Up for a Fight

The Opposition NDP has voiced its strong disapproval of the proposed bill. They’ve signaled a possible filibuster, planning to share letters from individuals directly affected by the policy and what they describe as “Charter attacks”.

Public Rally Calls for Respect

A public demonstration is scheduled to occur outside the Saskatchewan legislature today. Rally organizers and participants are urging the provincial government to respect the rights of individuals, particularly in light of this controversial policy.

Elected officials, including both supporters and critics of the bill, are expected to arrive at the legislature later today for what promises to be a heated debate on the government’s bill.

Implications and Future Directions

The forthcoming days are set to witness intense discussions both inside the legislative chamber and amongst the public. As the province remains divided over the pronoun policy, all eyes will be on the Saskatchewan legislature to see the fate of this legislation.