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Parental Rights Information sheet: Problems with Bill 2 Education Act

Parental rights have been significantly reduced

It is important to recognize several components of Bill 2 which affect, and even impede, a parent’s role in the education of their children.

1. Preamble recital #8
WHEREAS parents have the right and the responsibility to make
informed decisions respecting the education of their children 
Preamble recitals have no force and effect in an Act, but they do speak to the intent of the legislation.  If we track the progression of the change in the preamble from the current School Act, to Bill 18, and then to Bill 2 we will see that there has been a clear intent to reduce the role a parent has in the education of their children.
a) Positioning:
The rights and responsibilities of a parent in the education of their children has moved in position of prominence.  In the current School Act, the preamble recital
WHEREAS parents have the right and the responsibility to make
decisions respecting the education of their children;
is positioned second in order of prominence in the preamble. In Bill 18, it was moved to the 6th position.  Finally, in Bill 2, it was moved down again to the 8th position of prominence.  When we compare what the Education Act deems as more important by the placement in the preamble, we find that amongst other things, the ‘entrepreneurial spirit’, ‘risk taking’, ‘safe learning environments that respect diversity’,  and a ‘sense of belonging’ trump a parent’s rights and responsibility in
ordering placement in Bill 2. This movement downwards clearly indicates that the intent of the Education Act is to reduce the importance of parental
involvement in education.
b) Word addition:
WHEREAS parents have the right and the responsibility to make
informed decisions respecting the education of their children 
The Alberta Home Education Association has been lobbying the Ministry of Education to include the word ‘paramount’ in the preamble to reflect a parent’s ‘paramount’ right and responsibility in the education of their children.  This request was denied in both Bill 18 and Bill 2. Moreover, an additional parental restriction was written into Bill 2 with the addition of the word ‘informed’ into this particular recital of the preamble.
The wording of "informed decisions" or "informed consent" comes from the field of practice for professions like law or medicine, in which a party with superior  knowledge/expertise acts in a fiduciary capacity to advise clients and "seek their instructions" toward advocating on the client's behalf.  This type of language is alarming and offensive in the realm of parental education in the draft Act, in which it is obviously implied that parents are not foremost in autonomy or authority, but are instead needing advice from a "superior authority" and dependent on a source of "superior or more advanced" knowledge or expertise in order to make decisions about their children's education.
The addition of the word ‘informed’ in Bill 2, which was neither in the current School Act nor in Bill 18, is disturbing.
While it is recognized that Preamble statements have little to no legislative authority, these statements provide the foundation and intention of the Bill.  Bill 2 clearly shows where the Ministry of Education places value. Parents have clearly been relegated to a significantly lower position of importance.
2. Inclusion of Alberta Human Rights Act in the Education Act
Most disturbing to AHEA is the embedding of the Alberta Human Rights Act into the Education Act.
Diversity and respect
16 All courses or programs of study offered and instructional
materials used in a school must reflect the diverse nature and
heritage of society in Alberta, promote understanding and respect
for others and honour and respect the Canadian Charter of Rights
and Freedoms and the Alberta Human Rights Act. 
Due to the potential legal impact of section16, AHEA has taken a strong position denouncing the inclusion of the Alberta Human Rights Act in the Education Act.
Provincial Human Rights Legislations have been studied at length and have been severely criticized by the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms ( According to the March 2011study conducted by John Carpay and Carol Crosson, From Bad to Worse - Examining Restrictions on Speech and Procedural Fairness in Human Rights
Legislation in Fourteen Canadian Jurisdictions
( ), Canadian human rights  legislation has, at best, a ‘bad’ rating for procedural fairness.  Alberta’s human rights legislation is described as among the worst in Canada as a result of its lack of procedural
fairness and its violation of free speech rights.
The paper discusses Human Rights Commissions and how they function, what they cover, areas of fairness, how complaints occur and how they are treated. The weaknesses
in the Alberta Human Rights Act and how they impede freedom of speech confirm  the legitimacy of concerns expressed by Alberta’s parents regarding imbedding the Alberta Human Rights Act being in the Education Act are legitimate.  
Finally, an extended column on free speech, posted by Brad Trost, provides clear examples of how Canada’s Human Rights Commissions ‘selectively oppress Canadians who hold small “c” conservative political or religious views.”
This information, taken collectively, provides clear evidence which supports the argument for not enshrining the Alberta Human Rights Act within the Education Act.
To read Bill 2, the proposed Education Act (read especially the Preamble and Section 16):
To read the current School Act (read especially the Preamble and Section 3):
For explanation of the history and concerns about Bill 2: (then type ‘alberta’ into the search box) (then read recent columns on Alberta by Lorne Gunter and Father Raymond de Souza) (then read the recent columns by Bishop Henry and Marco Navarro-Genie) for the Justice Center for Constitutional Freedoms, and for the specific link to their Executive Summary:
Check out *Animal School*!
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