Manitoba's senior Member of Parliament has weighed in on a controversial provincial government bill that would ensure gay-straight alliance clubs are allowed in Manitoba schools if students want them. The province said Bill 18 is aimed at curbing bullying.
Steinbach MP Vic Toews said that Bill 18 could go against a Supreme Court ruling that restricts provincial governments from defining what constitutes hate.
That was his statement regarding the bill at a press conference on Friday.
Some people living in Steinbach have spoken out against the bill. They argue it infringes on their right to support schools that reflect their religious values. A local pastor even delivered a Sunday sermon calling on people to fight against the bill.
"As far as I understand, the SCOC made it very clear that there are certain faith based arguments, religious arguments that would restrict the ability of government to interfere in held religious beliefs,” said Toews.
“So what I would advise for the provincial government is that they may want to take a very close look at that decision, because in my opinion it would restrict what Bill 18 is attempting to do."
The province says it's reviewed the legislation and any rulings that may impact it. They plan to move forward with Bill 18.
Education Minister Nancy Allan spoke about the bill on Thursday. “We are confident, at the end of the day, this law will provide safer and caring learning environments,” said Allan.