Crit­ics ques­tion­ing Al­berta Party leader’s meet­ing with con­tro­ver­sial group op­posed to gay-straight al­liances

StarMetro Edmonton - - EDMONTON - KIERAN LEAV­ITT

Al­berta Party Leader Stephen Man­del, a long­time ally of the LGBTQ com­mu­nity, has come un­der fire for meet­ing with an or­ga­ni­za­tion that ad­vo­cates say is any­thing but.

On Tues­day, the non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Progress Al­berta flagged a news­let­ter put out by Par­ents for Choice in Ed­u­ca­tion (PCE), which said the group’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­viser, Theresa Ng, had met with Man­del.

“Why is Stephen Man­del qui­etly meet­ing with Par­ents for Choice in Ed­u­ca­tion — the largest and most or­ga­nized anti-GSA and anti-LGBTQ2 group in Al­berta?” some­one on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s Twit­ter ac­count asked.

GSAs, or gay-straight al­liances, are stu­dent groups at schools that pro­vide safe Al­berta Party Leader Stephen Man­del is in hot water with LGBTQ ad­vo­cates. spa­ces for straight al­lies and LGBTQ stu­dents.

Dur­ing an in­ter­view with StarMetro, Man­del said his role as a politi­cian means he meets with ev­ery­one — even if he doesn’t agree with them.

“Meet­ings are to learn, and so we hope that they would learn from us about our po­si­tion on these is­sues and we think that they need to re­think their po­si­tion.”

Man­del said at the meet­ing that he pre­sented PCE with his rea­son­ing around the im­por­tance of GSAs.

“Be­cause they pro­tect chil­dren and that schools should not be ob­li­gated to tell par­ents who or who is not a mem­ber of a GSA, be­cause that’s threat­en­ing chil­dren,” he said.

“This is im­por­tant stuff that peo­ple need to un­der­stand and maybe they don’t un­der­stand it, so we try to get our po­si­tion across.”

Man­del has a long track record of be­ing an ally to the LGBTQ com­mu­nity.

As mayor of Ed­mon­ton in 2005, he started the first Mayor Pride Brunch. He was also the first mayor to march in the city’s Pride Pa­rade, in 2006. There’s a grad­u­ate schol­ar­ship at the Univer­sity of Al­berta for stu­dents in sex­ual and gen­der mi­nor­ity stud­ies named af­ter him. Man­del’s meet­ing raised eye­brows. Learn more at thes­tar.com/ed­mon­ton

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.