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La Saskatchewan's pronoun policy is based on a few letters from citizens

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Scott Moe used the override clause to introduce his policy on pronouns and sex education through the Parents' Rights Act last October. (Archive photo)

  • Laurence Taschereau (View profile)Laurence Taschereau

Speech synthesis, based on artificial intelligence, makes it possible to generate spoken text from written text.

A freedom of information request shows Saskatchewan's pronoun policy is based primarily on a series of 19 letters from citizens. The wording of the majority of letters received is essentially the same.

In August, the province asked schools to require parental consent for any student under 16 who wishes to use a pronoun or first name different from the one assigned to them at birth.

Shortly after, reactions abounded and UR Pride launched a legal challenge to this policy enshrined in the Parents' Rights Act. The LGBTQ+ advocacy organization maintains that such measures violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

To justify its controversial policy, the government of Saskatchewan said it received 18 letters from concerned parents.

Radio-Canada made a request for access to information to obtain these letters. We received 19. Of these, eight were sent on June 22, in the space of a few hours. The others were sent in the following days.

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By analyzing the content of the letters, we were able to see that four of them contain exactly the same wording, in English: Please follow New Brunswick's lead in adopting a policy that requires parental consent before minor children can use opposite-sex pronouns and change their name at school.< /p>

Twelve letters ask the government to follow the example of New Brunswick or Policy 713, with wording that is similar, without being identical.

New Brunswick is the first province in Canada to introduce such changes to pronouns and names in schools. In June, the province amended its Policy 713 to add that from now on, students under the age of 16 must obtain parental consent to use a first name or pronoun of their choice in school.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Asked whether the short time frame in which the letters were received had raised questions on the part of the Ministry of Education, a spokesperson responded by email that the Ministry of Education, the Education Minister and MPs have heard from thousands of parents and carers expressing their desire to be more involved in their children's education. The letters in question are only a preview.

The names and email addresses of the authors of all letters have been redacted from the documents . It is impossible to verify whether they actually come from Saskatchewan parents. In seven letters, the authors identified themselves as concerned parents.

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An email from the response to the access to information request with identical wording in four letters.

The Saskatchewan government held no consultation when developing its controversial policy, according to documents obtained by Radio -Canada.

The freedom of information request sent to the Ministry of Education requested a list of all organizations consulted by the province in developing the policy.

The Department of Education returned a 17-page jurisdictional analysis dated August 18.

A jurisdictional analysis in policy development is a tool used by governments to examine how other governments have responded to a problem or issue.

The document sent by the province provides a detailed analysis of each province and territory's policies on parental consent requirements when children ask the school to address them using new pronouns.

Policies from countries such as the United States, England, Australia and France are also included.


Radio-Canada, in conjunction with CBC, asked the Ministry of Education why it had not provided the list of organizations that were being used by the Ministry of Education. he had consulted during the development of the policy. An emailed statement from the Executive Council did not answer this question.

Instead, a government spokesperson reiterated that the government had heard from thousands of parents and guardians expressing their desire to be more involved in their children's education.

This supports the conclusion of Regina Court of King's Bench Justice Michael Megaw, who granted an injunction requested by UR Pride's lawyers.

There is no indication that the Ministry [of Education] has discussed this new policy with potential interested parties such as teachers, parents or students. Additionally, there is no indication that an expert was sought to help determine the effect of the policy, Judge Megaw wrote in his September 28 decision.

It concludes that the policy could cause irreparable harm.

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Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill (right) with the Premier of Saskatchewan , Scott Moe. (File photo)

Former Education Minister Dustin Duncan and current Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill have repeatedly insisted they have held consultations when developing this policy.

Premier Scott Moe said the policy was the result of multiple conversations that various government MPs had had with parents, educators and others, including myself as an MP.

The government does not has provided no evidence for these assertions and there is no evidence in the jurisdictional analysis that the province held consultations with external groups or organizations.

  • Laurence Taschereau (View profile)Laurence TaschereauFollow

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