New Alberta laws ‘transphobic and atrocious’ MLA says in Assembly

Today, Members of the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly wear pink and sport pink lapel flowers in solidarity with Pink Shirt Day. Originally a protest against bullying, Pink Shirt Day has evolved into a day to raise awareness and promote kindness and empathy. (Submitted photo.)

There were plenty of pink garments in the NWT Legislative Assembly today, as all MLAs marked Pink Shirt Day.

It was not too surprising that many of the statements and questions were directly and indirectly on the topic of bullying.

Range Lake MLA Kieron Testart in the NWT Assembly today. (Livestream image.)

MLA Kieron Testart called proposed Alberta legislation that will change health-care options for youth “transphobic and atrocious” to the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

Under the proposed legislation to be introduced in the Alberta Legislature this fall, the new law will, in part, require parents to be informed of any name and gender identity changes students request at school.

It also bans transgender women from competing in women’s sports leagues.

Testart questioned Education Minister Caitlin Cleveland:

“My friend from Great Slave (MLA Kate Reid) mentioned that other jurisdictions in Canada are taking heartless steps to traumatize and disenfranchise people for being themselves. I’d like to know from our Minister of Health and Social Services, how trans and non-binary youth or individual or other individuals seeking gender affirming health care, which would have previously gone to Alberta are going to get the care that they that they need through our health system.”

Education Minister Caitlin Cleveland answers a question today. (Livestream image.)

Minister Cleveland expressed full support for the 2SLGBTQI+ community.

“I want to assure the NW T residents that health-care services for transgender individuals including children and youth will continue to be available under our existing model as there. At this time, we are still utilizing the same referral pattern as usual.”

Testart followed up: “I’m sure many are relieved to hear that I certainly am. When these individuals are going for treatment, where are they going? If not, Alberta is in British Columbia is in Ontario. Saskatchewan is out of the out of the picture. Alberta is out of the picture. So, where are they? Where are we sending these folks to get the care that they need?

Cleveland  replied: “If an out of territorial referral is made for an NWT resident, including child or youth, and medically necessary services not available in Alberta, we arranged to have the services made available in other locations in Canada.

Other topics covered today were the economy in the face of mine closures, increasing the Indigenous public-service workforce, the practise of making direct appointments instead of posting open positions and the need to lobby the federal government extra vigorously to land one of three new F35 fighter jet bases in the NWT, either in Yellowknife or Inuvik.

And Dehcho MLA Sheryl Yakeleya promoted the K’amba Carnival happening at Katlodeeche First Nation.

The Assembly re-convenes tomorrow at 10am.

About the Author

James O'Connor
James O’Connor joined CKLB 101.9 FM at the start of 2024, after working as a journalist, photo editor and managing editor at newspapers in Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. James also has experience in politics, arts, service clubs and the NWT’s non-profit sector. At this point in his lengthy career, James is thrilled to be working at such a unique media outlet and always welcomes notes from listeners at: