Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre confirmed Wednesday that he’s opposed to allowing the use of puberty blockers on children.
Poilievre made the comment during a barrage of media questions about his views on gender-affirming medical treatments for transgender youth.
Puberty blockers, as they’re known, are used to prevent the body from producing the sex hormones that fuel both male and female development.
“We should protect children and their ability to make adult decisions when they’re adults,” Poilievre said.
When asked directly whether he opposes the use of puberty blockers for gender-diverse youth under the age of 18, he said, “Yes.”
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced plans last week to ban puberty blockers and hormone therapy for children 15 and younger who have not already begun such treatments.
That spurred protests in Alberta and Ottawa and drew condemnation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who accuses Smith of pushing an anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.
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For months, Poilievre has said he supports the rights of parents to raise their children as they wish, and urged Trudeau to “butt out” of provincial decisions about schools and hospitals.
On Wednesday, he accused the prime minister of launching attacks against families “who are trying to protect their kids.”
“He will, in the end, back down on this,” Poilievre suggested.
Liberal cabinet minister Randy Boissonnault, an openly gay MP who represents an Edmonton riding, paused before the party’s weekly caucus meeting Wednesday to deride Poilievre’s position.
The decision to use puberty blockers should be based on a conversation between a young person and their doctor, Boissonnault said.
“I don’t see M.D. after Pierre Poilievre’s name or Danielle Smith’s,” he said. “So, not their business.”
Since becoming leader, Poilievre has tried to keep the Conservatives’ focus on cost-of-living issues and crime, which the party sees as winning messages.
Some of his supporters, however, have pressed him to veer further into the debate around how schools handle issues of gender diversity and sexual orientation among their students.
At last year’s policy convention in Quebec City, party grassroots voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution that calls on a future Conservative government to prohibit “medicinal or surgical interventions” for gender-diverse and transgender children.
Poilievre has yet to say whether he accepts that resolution or has any plans to ink it into a future election platform.
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