Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Allan makes the right move

  • Print

Education Minister Nancy Allan sure sounds as though she intends to enforce Bill 18.


Specifically, she’ll enforce the provision that if students come forward wishing to form a gay-straight alliance in their school, they will be able to do so.

That’s what Allan told my colleague, legislative reporter Larry Kusch, yesterday. Just the fact alone that for the first time in ages it was Allan speaking, and not the deputy minister being offered for interviews or the ubiquitous aide to the minister issuing a statement, carries a lot of clout.

This isn’t going to be an issue in Winnipeg School Division and Louis Riel SD, with their strong and groundbreaking policies on issues involving sexual orientation and gender identity, and it won’t be a problem in many school divisions.

But as University of Winnipeg Prof. Katherine Taylor has found in her national studies on homophobia in schools, our schools are still not safe places for many of Manitoba’s children — despite the efforts of the vast majority of students and teachers. Homophobia is pretty much the last battleground on which some people believe they can defend the indefensible.

It looks as though Allan is up for it, and good on her.

No one who’s ever read anything I’ve written should be surprised on my position on sexual orientation and gender identity: gays and lesbians are normal human beings, period, full stop, end of story.

I can’t tell you why we didn’t know about the meeting Sunday night at Steinbach Christian High School that drew 1,200 people to protest Bill 18. TV knew about it, but I didn’t, and I’m supposed to know what’s happening in education.

This is a bigger potential issue than just faith-based private schools. There are public schools in highly religious centres where this will be a hot-button issue, and it may be hot enough to have some parents thinking about moving their kids out of public schools and into private schools.

Nevertheless, Allan and the Selinger government have made it clear that Bill 18 will apply in any school which accepts public funding — funded private schools receive per-student operating grants at half the rate of the school division in which they’re located.

No one is forcing any school to have a GSA. No student who does not wish to join a GSA will be compelled to do so. But every gay and straight student who wants to form a GSA will have the government at their backs.

I’m not going to get into how some people define religious freedom right now — a lot of people reaching for the comment button knew long ago that I share neither their beliefs nor some of their values — but I believe that gays and lesbians exist everywhere on this planet, and that in whatever community they live and go to school, they and their friends and supporters should be free to be open about who they are.

This one could get ugly, but it’s worth it. We owe it to all the children in this province.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Meet Jet the talking crow

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.

View More Gallery Photos


Is the weak loonie influencing your travel plans?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google