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.
Alberta Home Education Association
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 (
As a homeschool community, we strongly support any efforts to maintain a parent's legal and fundamental rights to their children and being fully informed. This case was heard in Medicine Hat on June 20th, and is currently under advisement with a 'timely ruling' promised before June 30th. Our immediate and urgent prayers should be going up for the judge and the judgement. One of the largest court cases of our day, it has received little press from the time of filing until recently. There are actually 26 faith-based schools of differing faiths, along with individual parents and groups, including Parents for Choice in Education. John Carpay explained that, "An injunction on Bill 24 provisions would prevent these provisions from being put into force until after the Court has determined the constitutionality of the Bill." He is referring to the Bill's provisions that keep parents in the dark about their child's involvement in student groups or activities and illegal for the staff to share information with parents in all cases. These parents assert that keeping parents in the dark threatens the safety of some of Alberta's most vulnerable and at-risk students.
This ruling is almost hard to quantify in its impact. The implications are going to reverberate down throughout the laws of our land. At stake were the freedoms of speech, religion and association and these are near and dear to the hearts of home educators, and all people who value freedoms. We encourage you to read up on the various perspectives that people are sharing. . . there are many.
Here are a few to get you started:
And you may want to sign up for this FREE webinar that will break down the implications of the case:
Alberta Education continues to focus its energies on eliminating exceptions to the public school system. We should be fully aware of these efforts that are being felt around the province, and realize that we want to stand together, lest we fall apart.
The school was in court last month in Wetaskiwin for an injunction with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms against closure by the Battle River School Division (BRSD). The court ruled against Cornerstone's request to continue to operate under BRSD. "Justice Clarkson agreed, however, that it would be unconstitutional for the Alberta government to refuse to grant Cornerstone Christian Academy private school status, which Cornerstone held until it joined BRSD in 2009." Please pray for the families and school as they decide how to respond to the negative decision from the bench.
As always, AHEA encourages its members to be politically active and advocate for the rights of parents and home educating in Alberta. May 4-6, the United Conservative Party had its Founding AGM and voted on many new policies. Many policies were submitted by AHEA members and AHEA Board Members. Thanks so much to everyone who participated in this way!
Because of your efforts, parental rights in education were solidified as a policy for the UCP!
The exact wording of the passed policy is as following:
"The United Conservative Party is committed to affirming the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children."
This is a very significant stance for the UCP party to take and one that is of great value to home educators.
Another policy which passed is very important for home educators R106) "The UCP party is committed to parental choice in education, in both form and content." The 'form and content' component is very significant in AHEA's advocacy work with the UCP party!!