Skip to main content

N.B. premier holds firm on sexual orientation policy review


New Brunswick’s premier is standing by his government's decision to review a policy on sexual orientation in schools.

It comes one day after Blaine Higgs stirred up controversy during a scrum with reporters after question period in the legislature.

The province’s Liberal Leader asked Wednesday if the premier would like to revisit his comments.

“I'd like to give him the opportunity to clarify and correct some of the things said yesterday in the scrum,” said Susan Holt, Leader of the N.B. Liberal Party during question period.

The premier doubled down.

"Ask the leader of the opposition if she’d like to answer the question, does she think there should be drag story time for young kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2? Does she think that's appropriate Mr. Speaker?” Higgs asked.

“We're dealing with young minds. We're dealing with assets and factors of how do we let children grow and make decisions when they're able to make decisions,” the premier continued.

In response, Holt questioned Higgs’s assertions.

"I think exposing kids to the diversity of people and professions in our community is a way to reduce hate,” Holt told reporters after question period.

“And to breed love and have a more harmonious ... society,” Holt said.

Higgs is standing by his government's decision to review Policy 713.

He pointed to students under 16 changing their preferred first name and pronoun without informing their parents, saying parents should know what is happening with their children and schools should keep them informed.

For his part, Education Minister Bill Hogan came out in support of the policy review.

“We're going to talk to our children, we're going to talk to our teachers, we're going to talk to our advocates, we're going to talk to our experts,” the former high-school principal said.

“We're going to look at Policy 713 and see what things we need to look at, what is the role of parents in our public education system I think that's really important,” he said.

Other cabinet ministers in the Higgs government also weighed in.

“I think it's important that we have to be compassionate and respectful, especially to students and kids that have you know different sexual orientations and whatnot,” said Kris Austin, public safety minister. “At the end of the day, we have to ensure parents play a role in that too.”

"I guess I don't have a personal issue with drag queens or anyone in the LGBT+ community,” said Women’s Equality Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace.

Daniel Allain, New Brunswick’s local governance minister, tweeted, "Today, stand up for the rights of all individuals within the 2SLGBTQIA+ community." for International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.

"I strongly support children,” said Jill Green, minister responsible for Housing and Service New Brunswick. “I strongly support the safety of children, the safety of children in schools and the LGBTQSI students within the schools and I will use my voice to continue to advocate for them.”

In a Wednesday afternoon news release, the New Brunswick Association of Social Workers urged the province to end its review of Policy 713 to maintain the safety of LGBTQIA2S+ students in school settings.

The association said since coming into effect in 2020, Policy 713 set minimum requirements for schools to create a safe environment for LGBTQIA2+ students.

The release stated: “It is crucial that Policy 713 be maintained so that students may continue to self-identify and express themselves, without fear of consequence.”

For the latest New Brunswick news, visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories

Stay Connected