A poll finds that the majority of Canadians agree with New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs on requiring parents to be notified if their child wishes to change genders or pronouns at school.

Last week, the New Brunswick government unveiled a new policy requiring that transgender or “non-binary” students under the age of 16 receive parental consent in order for their name be officially changed for recordkeeping purposes and daily management (EECD, school district, and school software applications, report cards, class lists, etc).

The policy adds that “if it is not possible to obtain consent to talk to the parent, the student will be directed to the appropriate professional to work with them in the development of a plan to speak with their parents if and when they are ready to do so,” and if that “is not in the best interest of the child or could cause harm to the student (physical or mental threat),” then “the student will be directed to the appropriate school professional for support.”

In a Leger poll commissioned by SecondStreet.org, 57% of Canadians surveyed last month said they agreed that schools should make parents aware that their kids are wishing to change genders or pronouns, while just 18% said they opposed notifying parents and 25% said they did not know.

Support for the policy was consistent on regional, generational and gender lines. Support was also higher among those with kids in their household (62%), compared to those without kids (55%). Regional support for the measure was at its highest in Atlantic Canada (69%), followed by Quebec (61%) and Ontario (56%).

While New Brunswick’s new policy was applauded by many parents and family advocates, it has also been denounced by trans activists and supporters of gender ideology, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several members of his cabinet.

Speaking at a fundraiser this week, Trudeau said “trans kids need to feel safe, not targeted by politicians. We have to stand against this.”  

“Far-right political actors are trying to outdo themselves with the types of cruelty and isolation they can inflict on these already vulnerable people. Right now, trans kids in New Brunswick are being told they don’t have the right to be their true selves, that they need to ask permission.”

Higgs has, however, doubled down on the new policy and his support of parental rights.

“Once again Justin Trudeau shows he does not support the role of parents in guiding their children’s future. Susan Holt and Justin Trudeau do not believe that parents need to be involved in such critical discussions as gender identity, even in elementary aged children as young as 4 years old. With the changes we’ve made, Policy 713 achieves this balance,” said Higgs.

“We will have safe learning environments, with better mental health supports, while still respecting the role of the parent. We believe parents must engage and clearly indicate their support for the role they play in guiding children in these very vulnerable stages of their life. We are all listening.”

The SecondStreet.org poll  surveyed 1,523 Canadians 18 years old or older between May 5 and 7. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The full survey can be viewed here.