When it's a battle between facts and ideology, which wins?

A New Brunswick education policy protects children from being pressured or manipulated into embarking on a dangerous and futile quest to become the opposite gender.

However, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) has filed a court action to strike down.

New Brunswick's Policy 713 requires that the consent of parents be obtained before their children under the age of 16 can formally use opposite-sex pronouns or names in school. This kind of "social transition" often leads to children receiving puberty blockers, opposite-sex hormones, and even life-altering surgeries. These treatments are not reversible and can render those who "transition" permanently infertile.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has fully embraced woke ideology, including the claim that gender is determined by identity rather than biology. In other words: if you feel like a woman right now, then you are a woman, right now. And if you feel like a man tomorrow, then tomorrow a man you will be.

The CCLA is challenging the right of parents to be fully informed about what is happening with their own children at school.

Intimately connected to keeping parents in the dark is the CCLA belief that the only way to help gender-confused children is to affirm any and all steps that a child may wish to take towards transitioning to the opposite gender.

Another closely related idea embraced by CCLA is that parents are dangerous, abusive and untrustworthy if they want to help their own children to embrace reality by accepting their gender based on their biological sex. 

The CCLA claims that New Brunswick's parental consent policy violates the rights and freedoms of gender-diverse students under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

But children do not enjoy privacy rights vis-à-vis their own parents. Children are not adults, and therefore have no right to vote in elections, drive a car, get married, have sex with an adult, join the military, purchase liquor, or consume cannabis. Claiming that children have adult rights is a perversion of the Charter.

While children do not enjoy adult rights and freedoms, children are entitled to the love, support, guidance, and nurturing of their own parents. Parents are severely hindered in providing these necessities to their children when parents are kept in the dark about what is going on with their own children at school.

If we require schools to get parental consent for a child to go on a half-day field trip to the science centre, then surely parental consent should be required for their child to use an opposite-sex name, pronoun, clothing, changerooms, etc. while at school.

Sadly, a very small number of parents are truly abusive, not merely imperfect, and a very small number of children actually do need the help of the state to be protected from their own parents. Likewise, a very small number of teachers are dangerous to children and should not have any access to children. The same goes for social workers, political activists, professional youth advocates and so on: Every barrel has a few bad apples.

Do Johnny and Sally have a right to withhold a bad report card from their parents just because a very small minority of parents would behave abusively towards their own child over a "D" in math? Of course not.

The fact that a small number of drivers pose a serious danger to other drivers and to pedestrians is not a valid reason for taking away everyone's driving license. The fact that a very small number of parents might beat their child over expressing confusion about gender identity is not a valid reason to remove the right of all other parents to know what is happening with their own children at schools.

Parents should be empowered — not hindered or prevented — from supporting their children. Parents cannot support their children if parents are not properly informed.

Like other woke organizations, the CCLA fearmongers by claiming that children whose gender identities are not "affirmed" will be more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm and suicide. In its court application, the CCLA claims it is "well-established" that "misgendering" (recognizing that a person's gender is determined by biological reality) is "harmful" according to "experts" who have done "research."

It will be interesting to see how the CCLA responds to a 2011 comprehensive Swedish study showing that "fully transitioned" transgender adults, after having had healthy body parts removed and new artificial ones created, have much higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population.

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has provided lawyers to Our Duty Canada and to Gender Dysphoria Alliance, two groups who have been jointly granted intervenor status in the CCLA's court challenge. These groups argue for keeping parents fully informed and involved.

Aaron Kimberly of the Gender Dysphoria Alliance describes New Brunswick's policy as "an important safeguarding measure for children experiencing gender incongruence," adding that "most kids with this experience turn out to be gay or lesbian, not trans. Prematurely labelling kids 'trans' and socially transitioning them is a psychosocial intervention that risks putting pre-gay kids onto an unnecessary medical pathway."  

The Supreme Court of Canada explained in B.(R.) v. Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto that the parental interest in bringing up, nurturing and caring for a child, including medical care and moral upbringing, is an individual interest of fundamental importance to our society. The CCLA's case against New Brunswick provides an opportunity for the Court to apply this sound reasoning to issues surrounding gender.

John Carpay, B.A., LL.B. is the President of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca)

This article originally appeared in the Western Standard on May 9th, 2024. A printable pdf is available.