Advocates are calling for the Alberta government to stop funding a private school board that refuses to support LGBTQ students.
The Alberta government has mandated that all schools must allow students to create gay-straight alliances, and enact policies to support LGBTQ students. But Pastor Brian Coldwell says he has no intention of doing either.
Coldwell is a chair on the board of the Independent Baptist Christian Education Society, which runs two schools: Meadow Baptist Academy and Harvest Baptist Academy, both located west of Edmonton.
The pastor told CBC News: "There is no way under heaven I'm going to allow gay activists to come in here and basically undermine our ministries and our religious freedoms or confuse and corrupt our children."
Coldwell also appeared on 630 CHED's The Ryan Jesperson Show, where he supported attempts to use prayer to convert gay students to being straight.
Both schools have received nearly $4.5 million in public funds since 2010, according to Progress Alberta.
"If schools that receive Albertan education funding dollars do not want to follow the law —they should not continue to be funded by the taxpayer, obviously," reads a Change.org petition calling for Alberta Education Minister David Eggen to cut funding to the schools.
"Tax money is not meant to subsidize spaces that make LGBTQ2+ students unsafe."
Dave Beninger, the man behind the petition, says accepting public funds comes with "strings attached."
"As a society, we have decided certain rules are going to be implemented in order to ensure that LGBTQ students are safe at the schools that they we legally obligate them to show up to," Beninger told Metro News.
Liberal Leader David Swann has also urged the government to pull funding from the two schools.