Last weekend, the United Conservative Party held their founding convention where they voted on key policies they will use in their 2019 election campaign.

One of those policies, however, is drawing criticism from the NDP, The Liberals and the Alberta Party.

The UCP say that if elected, they will restructure Bill 24 so that parents can be informed, at the school’s judgement, if their child joins a Gay-Straight Alliance.

We contacted the UCP for further comment on the policy but they have not responded to our request.

Stephen Mandel, the leader of the Alberta Party did comment on the issue and said there’s was one word to describe how he felt when he heard the policy passed.

“First of all, I was a bit surprised. This is a very controversial issue and they’ve been on the difficult side of that for quite a while and it’s something that I think that most are very passionate about, making sure children have the proper rights to protect them. To bring a motion to the floor on this, I was very surprised and for it to pass, I was even more surprised.”

The UCP said at the convention, that the decision does not intend to out kids in a GSA but instead protect the rights of parents.

Mandel was joined by Liberal leader David Khan who called the policy a step backwards, but yet there are ways to address it.

“First of all, we would listen to the public, I think that consultations are very important but there’s certain fundamental things that are not negotiable: children’s rights and their rights to join a GSA,” says Mandel, “If a child wants to discuss it with their parents that they’re a member of a GSA then they can do that. If they don’t, it’s not the school's job or the government’s job to act as an informant.”

One of the other policies from the convention was the long-standing UCP promise of scrapping the Carbon Tax in 2019.

Mandel, however, believes that scrapping the tax entirely may not be the best solution saying that they would eliminate the tax on household heating but keep it for fuel and large emitters.

These policies and others from the UCP have started a back and forth shouting match between the two sides in the Legislature, which doesn’t bode very well for Mandel in trying to get things done.

“We’ve got a government that’s absolutely inept when it comes to managing finances and building the economy and understanding what that looks like and creating jobs. The UCP hasn’t made any suggestions about anything other than recently passing the motion on the GSAs. It’s hard to say what they would do because nobody knows what they would do.”

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