Last Monday morning was our long awaited day in court for the Bill 24 Injunction Appeal at the highest court in Alberta. I appreciate that you may or may not have read my brief and quickly written report right after being in court. You may have seen some of the news reports, which I will include for your reference below as well. I realized that one of the things that people may be less familiar with is that being in the Court of Appeal has a different focus than an initial hearing. The focus of the case is typically to convince the panel of three justices that they have grounds to overturn the decision of the lower court judge. Thus, it is more of a technical argument than you would have heard at the lower court, although the Appellants had applied to introduce a significant amount of new evidence.
As many of you are aware, the marginalization of parental rights is an obvious result to Bill 24. The bill, now law, has been implemented by the current government, but they are facing resistance from a small band of brave individuals, schools and groups, which are practicing civil disobedience to this new law based on the fact that it breaks prior protections of parental rights, found in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, the Alberta Bill of Rights and the Alberta Family Law Act. The security of parental rights is important to those who home educate, as it is on this basis (as well as religious freedom) we claim our right to do so. The case slated to be heard sometime in 2019 will impact us all, but this appeal is critical as we need these steadfast schools to remain open to support the home education administrations that are attached to them. They are also a beacon for those in the faith community to stand in the face of wrong doing and of encouragement to act in righteousness, honoring God above man.
the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.
"an error of judgement"
"that is not, in my judgement, the end of the matter"
synonyms: acumen, shrewdness, astuteness, common sense, good sense, sense, perception, perspicacity, percipience, penetration, acuity, discrimination, wisdom, wit, native wit, judiciousness, prudence, sagacity, understanding, intelligence, awareness, canniness, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, cleverness, powers of reasoning, reason, logic
a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.
"the events of the last week are a judgement on us for our sinful ways"
Allow me to set the stage…
There was a great deal of behind-the-scenes manoeuvering for the dates on the injunction hearing and ruling that would determine if schools would be seen as non-compliant with Bill 24. Schools had to file their paperwork by June 30, indicating that they agreed to be compliant on the form in order to successfully submit it online. Without indicating their compliance and being able to submit the form — eerily similar to the Canada Summer Jobs attestation scandal that is plaguing the current federal government — they would have to submit a paper copy instead and could expect to face the consequences. Trying to comply with Alberta Education and still remain true to their faith, the twenty-six faith-based schools listed as plaintiffs in the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) court case and injunction, and many, many more schools behind the scenes, rooted for a sliver of hope and for some time to continue being themselves until the case is heard sometime in 2019.
They were not alone. . .
This will be a critical year in Alberta politics. We will need to be ready to respond as events unfold.
- We need to continue to build representation within the United Conservative Party (UCP), New Democrat Party (NDP), and every other political party, so that each party will invite AHEA and its members to their discussion table. It is the only way to fulfill our mandate. AHEA exists to represent our interests in government so that we can enjoy the fruits of that labour and seek to maintain the home education option.
- It is critical that we work during this year to remain engaged in the political process and be as well informed as possible. Please keep an eye on our Political Updates page on the AHEA website, the E-Alerts that arrive in your inbox (you can subscribe to receive these at www.aheaonline.com), as well as the AHEA Facebook page. Here we can provide information on the educational platforms and statements from all the parties, as we are able. We will focus on passing on information, even when we all may not agree. As homeschoolers, I know we value the freedom of expression and the right to form your own opinion. However, as always, I encourage you to be kind and clear in your comments so that the focus is on the discussion.
We need to be active in each riding, in
each association, on the executive, and even as candidates ourselves! The
nomination of good candidates will have an enormous impact; we want
representatives we can stand behind. At this point, the UCP has the most
supportive policies with regard to home education. It appears that UCP nominations
will be happening soon and will be staggered, so you will need to check your
riding for actual dates (