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Parents Bill of Rights Act heads to committee

Daily Leg Update: Vote was 37-11 in favor of second reading for the bill requiring parental consent for gender based name changes, now being considered by committee of the whole.
Education Critic Matt Love speaks to reporters at the legislature Oct. 19 as second reading debate on Parents Bill of Rights wrapped up.

REGINA - The Education (Parents’ Bill of Rights) Amendment Act has passed second reading at the Legislature and has now moved to the committee stage.

The bill, which includes the controversial provision requiring schools to get parental consent for gender based name changes of students under 16, passed second reading by a vote of 37-11 on a party-line vote, with Sask Party government members and the Sask United leader Nadine Wilson in favor and opposition New Democrats against.

The bill has now been committed to the Committee of the Whole on Bills where it is being considered this afternoon. That committee is expected to meet for the maximum allotted five hours before the bill returns to the Assembly. 

It is unclear at this stage whether any amendments will be proposed to the legislation before it returns to the House for third reading. It is now expected that a final vote on third reading and passage will take place on Friday. 

Earlier at 12:45 p.m. Thursday, second reading debate wrapped up on the bill with Regina University MLA Aleana Young being the last of a long line speakers on the motion as the House reached its maximum allotted time for second reading.

Opposition members have logged considerable time on their feet during the second reading debate, with MLAs spending several hours speaking and reading letters into the record against the legislation.

The NDP has also called out the reactions of Sask Party members who were in the Assembly during that debate. Education Critic Matt Love blasted government MLAs for being disrespectful while the NDP were reading out letters from concerned constituents.

“It’s incredibly hurtful when as we’re doing that we’re seeing members opposite watching movies, watching Netflix, playing Candy Crush on their computers,” Love said to reporters. 

“It’s incredibly disheartening and a bit of a slap in the face to all those people who lent their voices and sent in their statements for us to read here.”

Government members have also largely not taken part in the debate beyond a few minutes of speaking, leaving most of the speaking to opposition members.

Opposition House Leader Nicole Sarauer told reporters she was “disappointed but not surprised that this government has been largely inactive on the debate.”

“It’s hard to even call what’s happening in the Chamber a debate when only one side is doing the talking. I mean, the Minister of Justice (Bronwyn Eyre) spoke for about five minutes, and that’s it. We haven’t heard from government members, they haven’t engaged in this discussion… it’s very difficult to call what’s happening at the Chamber floor a debate when you’ve got government members over there reading newspapers and watching movies.”

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