News / Edmonton

Alberta Catholic school boards to intervene in B.C. university's court case

An Edmonton public education advocate says funding the out-of-province case is 'completely mad'

Education Minister David Eggen speaks about the passing of Alberta's controversial gay-straight alliance bill in Edmonton Alta, on Nov. 15, 2017.

JASON FRANSON / The Canadian Press

Education Minister David Eggen speaks about the passing of Alberta's controversial gay-straight alliance bill in Edmonton Alta, on Nov. 15, 2017.

The group representing Alberta’s Catholic school boards has raised eyebrows by committing to help fund a B.C. post-secondary school’s court case.

Luke Fevin, a parent and the founder of Alberta Parents for Unbiased Public Inclusive Learning, released documents Monday showing the Alberta Catholic School Trustees Association (ACSTA) approved a motion back in February to intervene in the Trinity Western University case.

Trinity Western, a Christian college in Langley, B.C., will argue before the Supreme Court that it should be able to operate an accredited law school, after Canadian law societies argued that its Christian covenant discriminates against the LGBTQ community.

“They’re going to use public dollars to fight the public with public dollars – essentially on human rights issues. Which is, of course, completely mad,” Fevin said.

Fevin objects to ACSTA spending the money on a case involving a private business that has “absolutely nothing to do” with K-12 education in Alberta.

Trinity Western’s covenant requires students to abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman,” which some rights advocates say discriminates against LGBTQ students.

ACSTA has a legislation challenges levy that pulls an equivalent of just over $4 per student, and in 2015 that fund totalled about $430,000.

A portion of the levy would be used in the Trinity Western case.

Alberta Education Minister David Eggen said he understands ACSTA’s concerns but encourages school boards to keep their money in the classrooms.

“I would encourage all parties to ensure that they are spending money in the classroom and not on litigation,” Eggen said.

An ACSTA spokesperson told Metro in an e-mailed statement Tuesday that the group’s president Adriana LaGrange “has no comment in regards to the Trinity Western University Court Case.”

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