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Trudeau says Premier Smith's new transgender policies target 'vulnerable' youth

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Alberta Premier Danielle Smith Friday to defend the rights of vulnerable LGBT youth. (The Canadian Press/Nick Iwanyshyn - image credit)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Alberta Premier Danielle Smith Friday to defend the rights of vulnerable LGBT youth. (The Canadian Press/Nick Iwanyshyn - image credit)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau slammed Alberta Premier Danielle Smith's decision to roll out what he called her "anti LGBT policies" days after sharing the stage with "far-right" U.S. media figure Tucker Carlson.

"It is telling that the week after welcoming far-right American conservative Tucker Carlson to her province [and sitting] with him on stage, Danielle Smith has now moved forward with the most anti-LGBT policies of anywhere in the country," Trudeau said in Waterloo, Ont. Friday.

Last week, four federal cabinet ministers condemned Smith's decision to meet with former Fox News personality Carlson, citing some of the rhetoric he used while speaking to a Calgary crowd.

Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault accused Carlson of "spewing hate speech about LGTBQ people," referring to Carlson's homophobic joke about Trudeau.

"I know that in Canada it is official policy that coming out of the closet is good — unless you're the prime minister," Carlson said during his appearance.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith (second from left) shares a picture with three men she shared the stage with at events in Calgary and Edmonton on Wednesday: author Jordan Peterson, U.S. broadcaster Tucker Carlson and former newspaper magnate Conrad Back.
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith (second from left) shares a picture with three men she shared the stage with at events in Calgary and Edmonton on Wednesday: author Jordan Peterson, U.S. broadcaster Tucker Carlson and former newspaper magnate Conrad Back.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith (second from left) stands with three men she shared the stage with at recent events in Calgary and Edmonton: author Jordan Peterson, U.S. broadcaster Tucker Carlson and former newspaper magnate Conrad Black. (X/@abdaniellesmith)

Earlier this week, Smith announced sweeping changes to Alberta's student gender identity, sports and surgery policies.

Smith said that puberty blockers will be prohibited for children 15 and younger while minors aged 17 and under will not be able to get top or bottom surgery — although bottom surgery is already limited to adults.

Under the policy, students 15 and younger will need parents' permission to use a different name or pronoun at school. Transgender women will also be banned from competing in women's sports leagues.

Alberta to introduce legislation

Trudeau said that LGBT youth in Canada are among those most vulnerable to suicide and parents and governments need to protect them, rather than target them.

"If Premier Smith wants to fight someone, stand up and fight for Canadians on lower grocery prices, on affordable fuel, on more housing, on fighting climate change," Trudeau said.

"Fight with us to defend the rights of vulnerable Canadians. Don't fight against vulnerable LGBT youth."

Smith said her government will introduce legislation to support the planned policy changes in the fall. Trudeau was asked how his government will respond when that legislation lands, but offered few specifics.

"As a federal government, we will always be there to protect the most vulnerable, particularly vulnerable LGBT youth who need to know that there are people across the country there to fight for them," Trudeau said.

The prime minister said the fight is not his alone and that Smith already has seen pushback from people concerned about the impact of the proposed policies.

"The first thing we are seeing is a number of Albertans, whether its doctors or teachers or community organizations, stepping up to voice their concerns directly with their premier about this anti-LGBT youth policy," he said.