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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to local entrepreneurs at SDG Idea Factory in Kitchener, Ont., on Feb. 2.Nick Iwanyshyn/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday denounced Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s plan to restrict access to medical treatment for transgender youth as the “most anti-LGBT” in the country, joining the chorus of complaints against the proposed provincial policy.

Mr. Trudeau, speaking at a news conference in Waterloo, Ont., said gender and sexually diverse youth are among the most vulnerable people in the country, with higher rates of homelessness and suicide. He said Ottawa is committed to protecting LGBTQ youth, but did not outline specifics on how he intends to address Alberta’s proposals.

Ms. Smith on Wednesday unveiled Canada’s most aggressive package of restrictions tied to transgender rights. They range from a proposed ban on gender-affirming medical treatment for youth to a pledge to work with sports organizations to prohibit transgender athletes from competing in events for women and girls.

The United Conservative Party has not explained how it will implement these policies or defend against likely legal challenges.

Mr. Trudeau linked the timing of Ms. Smith’s proposed policies to her recent appearances with Tucker Carlson, a right-wing political commentator who espouses conspiracy theories and who made homophobic and transphobic jokes while headlining events in Edmonton and Calgary.

“It is telling that a week after welcoming far-right American conservative Tucker Carlson to her province, to sit with him on stage, that Danielle Smith has now moved forward with the most anti-LGBT policies of anywhere in the country,” Mr. Trudeau said.

“If Premier Smith wants to fight someone, stand with us and fight for Canadians on lower grocery prices, on affordable fuel, on more housing, on fighting climate change,” he said. “Fight with us to defend the rights of vulnerable Canadians. Don’t fight against vulnerable LGBT youth.”

Sam Blackett, press secretary to Ms. Smith, said in a statement that the Prime Minister’s comments are “untrue and harmful.” He reiterated Ms. Smith’s defence that the proposals will protect children and youth from making life-altering and “often irreversible adult decisions.” He pointed to the province’s plan to implement a counselling pilot project to support “youth identifying as transgender.”

Ms. Smith, in a video posted to social media on Wednesday, proposed banning puberty blockers and hormone therapy for gender-affirming purposes for children under 16. Those 16 and 17 can access the treatments if they have the approval of their parents and medical professionals, she said. Ms. Smith also proposed banning top and bottom gender-affirming surgeries for transgender youth under 18.

Bottom surgeries in Canada are already only accessible to those over 18, and experts note that top surgeries for transgender youth are rare in Canada and few proceed without parental support. The Alberta Medical Association’s section of pediatrics, in a statement, also noted that the effects of puberty-blocking agents are not irreversible and allow patients time to determine their options.

Alberta, in addition, intends to prohibit schools from using a student’s preferred name and pronouns without parental permission for pupils under 16. Students who are 16 and 17 can make their own decisions around gender identity, but schools must notify their parents, Ms. Smith said in the video, which lasted about seven and a half minutes.

Parents must also sign off on their children’s participation when it comes to formal instruction on gender identity, sexual orientation or human sexuality, according to the proposals. The government, Ms. Smith said, will also work with sporting organizations to prevent transgender athletes from competing against women and girls, including through the expansion of co-ed and gender-neutral divisions.

Federal ministers have condemned Alberta’s proposals, arguing that the policies will harm vulnerable children and could possibly contravene the Canada Health Act. Meanwhile, the federal Conservatives advised its MPs not to comment publicly on Alberta’s plan, but if pressed, to emphasize the rights of parents.

Ms. Smith, at a news conference in Calgary on Thursday, rejected the idea that her policies violate federal legislation. She pointed her finger at the federal Liberals for “playing politics.”

“We’re putting this forward with the best interest of the child in mind,” she told reporters. “We believe the child’s best interest is served by making sure that when they are making decisions, that it’s not irreversible until they’re of an age where they’re prepared to live with the consequences of that.”

Mark Holland, the federal Health Minister, said on Thursday that Ms. Smith is “playing politics” with children’s lives and that he hopes to find an “off-ramp” with his Alberta counterpart, Adriana LaGrange.

“I want to see if we can find a solution through talking to really understand what this is going to mean, and the devastation that it’s going to bring,” he said.

With reports from Kristy Kirkup and Ian Bailey.

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