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Health minister will protect kids from nicotine, but not castration?

Last week, the federal government announced that it will “explore legislation and regulatory options” to address the growing popularity of youth using certain “stop smoking” aids. 

Specifically, the government is focusing on restricting access to nicotine pouches, which are tobacco pouches placed between the gum and cheek, with the intent being to counteract nicotine cravings.

Zonnic is one of the popular brands approved in Canada, with Health Canada stating that the 4 mg per dose “is usually recommended for adults who smoke 25 or more cigarettes a day and want to quit smoking.” These pouches release the same addictive chemicals found in cigarettes, vape products, and chewing tobacco. In July 2023, Canada approved Zonnic as a natural health product, allowing it to be sold at any store with no restrictions. 

But these products have been marketed to teens with different candy-like flavors and colorful packaging. Federal Health Minister Mark Holland was having none of that: “To the tobacco companies that continue to look for ways to use loopholes to addict people to their products: Get away. Stay the hell away from our kids.” The BC government already took action last month, ensuring this product can only be sold over the counter in pharmacies. 

Yet, this same “keep away from our kids” minister, just last month, criticized the Alberta government for new policies that focused on protecting minors from gender transition hormones and procedures, banning males from female sports, and giving more parental control over sexual education curricula. Holland stated that the policies are “deeply disturbing.” 

Holland listens to the science regarding addictive drugs harming minors. Yet, when it comes to so-called “gender-affirming care” that does irreversible harm to children including sterilization, castration, and other genital mutilations (more harm than nicotine products could do), he would rather align with an ideological stance that fails to affirm a child’s God-given sex. 

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Alberta government announces new transgender policies 

Yesterday, the Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, announced several transgender policies concerning surgeries, hormone treatment, parental rights, sexual education, and sports. Smith delivered the policies in a video posted on social media. Surgeries and hormone treatments  Smith declared a ban on transgender top and bottom “surgeries” for minors aged 17 and under. Previously, “bottom surgeries,” involving the mutilation of a child’s genitalia, were already prohibited for minors. Levi Minderhoud is the BC Manager at the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA), which has been advocating for these changes through the “Let Kids Be” campaign. He mentions that before this announcement, “top surgeries” – breast removals – were happening to minors: “The National Post reported last year that hundreds of girls in Canada have had mastectomies under the guise of ‘gender-affirming care.’ These are not only medically unnecessary but also cause permanent damage to young women's bodies. Alberta is right to prohibit them for minors.” Additionally, Smith announced the ban on hormone treatments for children aged 15 and under. She clarified that children currently receiving hormones would not be affected. Those aged 16 and 17 could start hormones with approval from parents, a physician, and a psychologist. Parental rights in the classroom Under the new policies, students aged 15 and under who wish to use another name and/or pronouns at school must get parental permission. Students aged 16 and 17 will not require permission, but parents will have to be informed by the school if their child is using a new name or pronouns. Regarding sexual education lessons in the classroom, parents will need to opt-in to every lesson covering sex education, sexual identity, or gender identity. Smith’s decision to implement an opt-in policy, rather than an opt-out policy, is significant, as it could remove contentious presentations from the classroom without facing a major political backlash. If most parents choose not to opt-in, it could lead to the shutdown of these classes if only a few students participate. Female sports   The new rules will also prohibit so-called “transgender female athletes” (aka, men) from participating in female sports. As Smith noted: “There are obvious biological realities that give transgender female athletes a massive competitive advantage over women and girls.” Although Smith failed to articulate that “transgender female” really means “male,” she did affirm the reality of biological differences between males and females (Gen 1:27). Two steps forward, one back It wasn’t all good though. Children 16 and up will still be able to get hormones that may leave them irreversibly sterile. Smith also announced efforts to advance “transgender care” for adults. Currently, Alberta residents seeking transgender surgeries have to travel to Quebec. Smith aims to change this by bringing specialists to Alberta to facilitate these genital mutilations within the province. It’s important to care for those around us struggling with gender dysphoria, but it’s not caring to harm a patient’s body in an attempt to remake them into a gender they can never become. These policies have faced significant backlash from transgender advocacy groups, some arguing that Alberta’s policies surpass the parental rights policies in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.  John Sikkema, Director of Law and Policy for ARPA, expressed gratitude for the announcement, stating: “ARPA is very thankful for Premier Smith’s policy announcement this week. We urge her government to follow through with implementing these sound policy changes, despite the predictable backlash by progressive activist groups and media.” Smith took questions today, at a press conference on these new policies. You can view it below. ...