B.C.’s Conservative Party leader under fire for comparing parental rights to residential schools

B.C. Conservative Party Leader John Rustad is under fire for comparing parenting rights to residential schools on social media.

“Today, we remember what happens when the Canadian government thinks it’s better at raising children than parents. I will always stand with parents,” he said in an X post on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

X users were quick to respond.

“Honestly a new low,” one user said.

“His attempt to push his flawed cause forward by using the suffering of Indigenous people in residential schools is utterly despicable,” another added.

The parenting rights Rustad is referring to are those outlined as part of SOGI-123, a resource being implemented in B.C. schools that is aimed at creating an inclusive education environment for “students of all sexual orientations and gender identities.”

BC United MLA Elenore Sturko took to the social media platform to condemn Rustad’s actions. She says the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — or Orange Shirt Day — is a day meant for “remembering injustices inflicted upon indigenous peoples, but it’s also about committing to correcting these historical wrongs.”

“It’s not about John Rustad, and it’s definitely not about his politics,” she said. “John Rustad’s attempt to liken the cultural genocide of Indigenous people with arrests of LGBT people – as a means of justifying his political dog whistling – is incredibly insulting to Indigenous people & to members of the LGBT community.”

This isn’t the first time Rustad has stood opposed to SOGI-123 either, as the party leader issued a release on Sept. 25 calling out B.C. Premier David Eby for not apologizing to law enforcement after a series of counter-protests defending 2SLGBTQIA+ rights days earlier.

“I have seen video footage from the counter-protest on September 20th which shows organizers chanting hateful rhetoric against British Columbian law enforcement officers. This is deeply disturbing. Premier David Eby’s BC NDP government, CUPE, and the British Columbia Teachers Federation who endorsed the hateful counter-protest on September 20th owe an apology to British Columbia’s Police, RCMP, and Peace Officers,” Rustad stated.

“Premier David Eby’s BC NDP government should not be supporting activists who spread hate and demonize our men and women in law enforcement.”

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Meanwhile, another of Sturko’s posts on X says Rustad needs to make amends for the things he’s said and the stance he’s taken.

“John Rustad not only needs to make an unequivocal apology for his misappropriation of NDTR but also for calling homosexuality a “lifestyle” in media interviews where he doubled down in his ignorance,” she said.

As of Monday night, Rustad has yet to make another post or issue a release regarding his statement on X.

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