The new year has just begun and already we have some encouraging news to share with you from Alberta! On Tuesday, January 8th, ARPA Canada applied for and was granted intervenor status in the court challenge to Bill 24, a bill which mandates unacceptable changes to school policies. You can read more about our concerns on Bill 24 here.
Typically, a court intervention allows a third party to bring their perspective to the judge in the form of written, and sometimes oral arguments. What’s really special about ARPA’s intervention in this case is that Justice Kubic, the judge presiding over this case, also gave ARPA special permission to present evidence to the court, a case study of the effect of the law on the Reformed Christian community through affidavit evidence and oral arguments. This is a huge development, as allowing an intervenor to present evidence is a very rare occurrence. We are thankful that, in addition to the parental rights argument and general constitutional arguments brought forward by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, we now have the opportunity to present a distinctly Reformed argument.
André Schutten, ARPA’s Director of Law and Policy, was in the Lethbridge courthouse to argue for this intervenor status. Ed Hoogerdyk, ARPA’s Alberta Manager, was an observer in the courtroom and sent in this report:
André boldly and succinctly presented ARPA’s case. He clearly articulated that this case is not just about parental rights; the requirements of the new law affect our homes, children, churches, and schools – the entire Reformed community. André explained who the Reformed Christian community is, and how the legislation affects this community which has a unity of purpose between home, church, and school. He highlighted the fact that independent education is a hallmark of the Reformed Christian community. He noted the importance of parental authority and responsibility and that the state cannot replace parents in the education of their children.
André stressed to the court that our schools are protecting all students within their walls, including those who struggle with gender dysphoria or who are attracted to others of the same sex. However, the love and support for these students is done, and can be done, in a way that is true to the religious identity and theological commitments of the Reformed community. While this will look different than the approach preferred by the education minister and some activists, different approaches to protecting and supporting students should not only be tolerated but celebrated. And certainly, the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom requires the Minister of Education to accommodate religious differences.
You can watch the livestream video filmed outside the courthouse after the hearing below.
We praise the Lord for the court’s decision to grant us intervenor status, and the added privilege of presenting evidence in this case. We pray that God will bless these efforts and use them to strengthen and defend the Reformed Christian community so that this community can be a blessing to the people of Alberta and a faithful witness to the goodness of their Lord.