People in Moncton hold rally in support of Policy 713

Published June 3, 2023 4:19 p.m. ET
Updated June 3, 2023 6:24 p.m. ET

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New Brunswickers showed up for the Pride community on Saturday, standing together in support of Policy 713 and speaking out against the government’s plan to review it.

“We can’t go backwards. We just can’t,” said Liette Arseneault, a teacher and ally. “This policy is super important for our kids to feel safe, our kids to feel secured and it’s our job as educators to make them feel that way.”

Despite the wet and cold conditions, supporters of all ages gathered outside of Moncton’s city hall for a two-hour rally hosted by River of Pride.

The event saw multiple speakers talk about the importance of having the policy in place and helped highlight the support that 2SLGBTQIA+ students have in the province.

“My biggest teachers these days are students in our district who are showing us every single day what courage is, and the fact that they themselves know they have to fight their own battles,” said Kristin Cavoukian, member of the Anglophone East District Education Council.

“I am so proud to know you, all of the students that have been standing up against this government,” she added.

Policy 713 sets the bare minimum requirements for school district to create a safe, welcoming learning environment for all 2SLGBTQIA+ students.

Recently, the government of New Brunswick announced that it would be reviewing the policy.

“I think this is now in the fourth week of sending a message to this government that their attack on this policy and on LGBTQ students, the people in New Brunswick are not going to stand for it,” said Don Darling, who was there in support on Saturday.

“There’s been no transparency in who’s going to be consulted. Every term, the government seems to embarrass themselves with every discussion. We did start a petition to save Policy 713 that over 15,750 people have signed so far,” he added.

He says the signatures come from across the entire province, helping to showcase the support the Pride community has.

“I just want you to know that this isn’t going to go away,” said another speaker on Saturday.

“So even though William Hogan says that he wants to put this to bed sooner than later, it’s not going away if they change one single part of that policy.”

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