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Parents should be informed about pronoun changes for children: survey

A majority of Manitobans surveyed say they believe parents should be informed and be allowed to give consent if children wish to change their pronouns.

According to a survey conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, 43 per cent of Canadians surveyed said parents should be informed and must give consent if a child wants to change how they identify, and 35 per cent said parents should be informed, but consent should not be required.

The survey said 14 per cent of those surveyed believed parents should not be informed or have a say, stating it’s up to the child. Eight per cent had no opinion.

For Manitobans, those numbers rise to 49 per cent supporting parents being informed and consenting to the change, and 27 per cent believe parents should just be informed, and consent is not needed. Sixteen per cent believed it should be up to the child, and parents should not be informed or have a say, and seven per cent had no answer.

Royce Koop, a political studies professor at the University of Manitoba, says he is not surprised about the answers in Manitoba.

“It’s a complex debate, but I think that when parents are asked whether or not they should have more say in the education of their kids, they’re going to be in favour of that,” he said.

The survey comes as Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have implemented policies requiring parents to consent to pronoun changes for students who wish to change their preferred name or pronouns. Ontario’s education minister has also indicated a similar policy might be coming to that province.

Critics in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick say the laws violate the Charter Rights for Children, and could also lead to harm for LGBTQ2S+ children.

While no policy has been announced in Manitoba, the Progressive Conservative Party has said that they would update the Public Schools Act if re-elected to give parents more rights over their kids’ education.

Koop said parental rights in education is something PC supporters are receptive to.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a central campaign planning for the party, but it’s something they put out there because as they claim, they’ve been hearing these sorts of concerns, and they want to be responsive to those,” he said.

Angus Reid said the online survey was conducted between July 26 and 31, with a randomized sample of 3,016 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. They say a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 1.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Of the adults surveyed, 252 were from Manitoba.

-With files from CTV’s Jeff Keele.

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