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Premier Blaine Higgs speaks in the legislature on March 26, 2024. Image: Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick video capture

N.B. wants to intervene in Sask. gender identity court case

By Brad Perry Jun 7, 2024 | 8:26 PM

New Brunswick wants to intervene in an ongoing court battle over Saskatchewan’s student gender identity policy.

Attorney General Ted Flemming made the announcement in a statement released late Friday afternoon.

“The government of New Brunswick is joining the government of Alberta and applying for intervener status in the Parents’ Bill of Rights case that is before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal,” said Flemming.

“We have sent a letter to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to inform them that we intend to apply before the deadline in July.”

The Parents’ Bill of Rights requires parental consent for students under 16 to change their names or pronouns in school.

The bill, introduced last August, resembles changes made to New Brunswick’s Policy 713 just a few months earlier.

Saskatchewan used the controversial notwithstanding clause in an effort to protect the policy from any Charter challenges.

However, a Court of King’s Bench justice later ruled that a court challenge by a 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy group could still go ahead.

The Saskatchewan government is now asking that province’s court of appeal to intervene in the case.

“This is a constitutional issue about whether the notwithstanding clause is the final word when a legislature invokes it,” said Flemming.

“We believe that legislative assemblies have the right to make laws that are important to the people of their province, and that they have the right to protect those laws through the use of the notwithstanding clause, if necessary.”