Manitoba Progressive Conservative Premier Heather Stefanson is pledging to enhance parental rights if re-elected this fall, saying parents should be informed if their child is wanting to identify as a different gender at school. 

Stefanson’s pro-parent stance comes less than two months before Manitoba heads to the polls for the province’s 43rd general election.

“We believe that parents know what is in the best interest of their children,” said Stefanson at a press conference. “That’s why a re-elected PC government will formalize and enhance rights for parents and guardians in the Public Schools Act.”

“A lot has changed in 30 years,” she added. “What we’re hearing is parents want to be better informed so they can make decisions on behalf of their children.”

Stefanson’s PCs are proposing to enshrine the following parental rights in the province’s Public Schools Act.

● The right to be involved in addressing bullying and other behaviour changes

● The right to be informed about curriculum

● The right to advance notice before any presentations are made in school from outside the school system

● The right to consent before any image of the child is made, shared or stored

These new rights would be added to the seven already existing parental rights in the Public Schools Act.

When asked by a reporter if she believes parents should be informed if their child is wanting to go by a different gender identity at school, Stefanson said yes. 

“Yes. I think it’s all of those things. We know parents know what’s in the best interest of their kids. That will all be part of the consultation process.”

When asked about a case where a gender dysphoric child does not want their parents to know about their social transition, Stefanson said “these [questions] will all come up in the consultation and that parents will decide where they want to move forward on that.”

Stefanson is the second Canadian premier to voice support for the right of parents to be informed if their child is wanting to change genders at school, a phenomenon that is becoming more common amid woke elementary school teachers teaching gender ideology to children.

Back in June, New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Premier Blaine Higgs modified his province’s education policy 713 to require that children under the age of 16 obtain parental consent before they can change their gender at school. 

Polling has shown that across Canada, support for parental rights policies around gender identity is high, especially among parents.

A Leger poll commissioned by found that 54% of people living in the Prairie provinces agree that schools should make parents aware that their kids are wishing to change genders or pronouns. Just 20% disagree. 

The poll also found that most people believe schools should be making teaching materials on race and gender available to review for parents ahead of time before they are taught in the classroom.

Despite strong support for parental rights in the province, Manitoba NDP leader Wab Kinew criticized Stefanson’s pledge, calling it a “dog whistle.”

“Heather Stefanson and the PCs are trying to divide Manitobans. In this case, they’re very clearly blowing a dog whistle about LGBTQ folks,” said Kinew. 

In response, PC MLA Rochelle Squires told True North that “unlike Wab Kinew and the NDP, we believe Manitoba parents have the right to be informed of what is going on with their kids in school.”

Squires also said that “as a mother, I remember sending my kids off to school. What they’re learning, how they’re feeling and if they’re struggling— these are things parents need to know about and be involved in.”

Manitoba, like other Canadian provinces, has had controversies related to gender ideology in schools. Earlier this year in Brandon, a School Division voted against a proposal to create a committee aimed at vetting and removing inappropriate queer books made available to children in schools.

The latest poll from Mainstreet Research showed Stefanson’s PCs ahead of the NDP by four points, with the parties receiving 42% and 38% support respectively. 

The Manitoba general election will take place on October 3.