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Higgs doubles down on Policy 713 review despite controversy

N.B. premier under fire for remarks on Policy 713

New Brunswick premier Blaine Higgs has kept the conversation alive surrounding his government's decision to revamp a policy on the minimum standards around the rights of LGBTQ+ students in schools.

Opposition leaders say the premier's message behind the statement is clear.

"I just felt the premier is doubling down on what he's been saying. It's harming people,” said David Coon, leader of the N.B. Green Party.

"My takeaway is that the premier has doubled down on his position,” said Susan Holt, leader of the N.B. Liberal Party.

Over the weekend, Higgs said in a social media post that Policy 713 is here to stay, but his government will edit language around access to washrooms based on gender and sports teams.

His stance has opposition leaders concerned.

"I've been hearing from constituents ever since it was uncovered that 713 was being reviewed who are concerned about the review who support 713, and I've heard from a couple of parents with trans kids who are just frantic, beside themselves scared,” Coon said. "He's a man of the 1950s really and I think was surprised by the breadth and depth of the response to his obsession with reviewing Policy 713.”

The premier’s statement recommended people reach out to their elected representative “on how they feel.”

"It makes me angry and makes me frustrated because the premier is in a position of responsibility and leadership and this is a time when he should be bringing people together and addressing peoples’ concerns and fears -- not contributing to them,” Holt said. “There are so many people reaching out because they need to understand and want to understand and are trying to understand, and I think that's where the premier should be spending his time.”

All of this back-and-forth among political leaders has sports organizations in the province watching.

Coach NB for instance says their organization provides education on inclusivity of LGBTQ+ youth.

"Language is so important of all aspects of fostering inclusive environments,” said Manon Ouellette, executive director of Coach NB. “The words we use, the actions we use hurt other people and could really affect our community or our team environment.”

Higgs has denied multiple requests from CTV Atlantic to speak about the statement or give any further update on the policy's review. Top Stories

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