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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks to the Economic Club of Canada in Ottawa on Feb. 5.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The only federal Liberal cabinet minister from Alberta says he was unable find common ground with Premier Danielle Smith during a meeting in Ottawa where they discussed her new policy proposals on transgender youth.

Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault denounced Ms. Smith’s proposals before Monday’s meeting, describing them as “the most draconian and harmful policies for young people in the country,” echoing criticism from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other cabinet ministers.

Mr. Boissonnault came out of the meeting late Monday afternoon, saying the Premier was holding firm.

“She said to me she had personal experience in this space so I encouraged her to meet with members of the trans community, to talk with medical professionals, to sit down and talk with teachers,” Mr. Boissonnault told journalists on Parliament Hill where the private meeting was held.

“I was very clear to the Premier that she needed to broaden the consultation, change these regulations or that our opposition would continue.”

Mr. Boissonnault, who is gay and indicated his sexuality has informed his views on these issues, said that he had asked the Premier to consider pausing her policies.

“Meet with people and see if what you put in the proposals actually makes sense because the people I am talking with are very scared, terrified, and we both have to deliver for Albertans. This is distracting you from what I hear, on the doors, are the real concerns of Albertans.”

Ms. Smith’s proposals include restricting youth access to medical treatments such as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and surgery, and excluding transgender athletes from women’s sporting competitions. Also, the United Conservative Party government is moving to require parental permission before programs in schools involving human sexuality, sexual orientation and gender identity. It would also require parental permission for kids 15 and younger to go by a different pronoun or name at school.

In a statement on the meeting, Ms. Smith’s press secretary did not provide details on the Premier’s view of the discussion. Sam Blackett said the Premier met with Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, also present for the discussion, and with Mr. Boissonnault.

“The Premier raised the issue of the federal government’s oil and gas emissions cap with Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. She also responded to Minister Randy Boissonnault’s concerns about Alberta’s new policy.”

As Mr. Boissonnault wrapped up his news conference, hundreds of protesters gathered outside a parliamentary precinct building where Ms. Smith was expected to speak to an evening reception held by the Canada Strong and Free organization, previously called the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith defended her controversial new suite of proposed transgender youth policies during a visit to Ottawa on Feb. 5. Federal Liberals, including Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault, are accusing her of pushing an anti-LGBTQ+ agenda.

The Canadian Press

Asked about Mr. Boissonnault’s criticism and his comment that he is not ruling out any measures including court challenges to counter the Alberta government’s proposals, Ms. Smith said at a news conference earlier in the day that the MP should wait and see what the legislation enacting the policies looks like.

“The approach that we’re taking is balanced, and I think that it’s a little premature to be trying to talk about legal challenges,” Ms. Smith said.

At a news conference in Brampton, Ont., Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said Mr. Trudeau was treating youth transgender rights “as a wedge issue.”

“Let parents raise kids and provinces run schools and hospitals,” Mr. Poilievre said. “That’s my common-sense approach.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, asked about the issue at a news conference in Toronto, said his government is not interested in pursuing such a policy.

“No. We have a lot here, and we’re leaving everything alone.”

Ms. Smith also spoke to a lunch gathering of the Economic Club of Canada and opened an Alberta office in the nation’s capital.

Ms. Smith is scheduled to go Toronto on Tuesday for commitments, including a meeting with Mr. Ford, and then will visit Washington on Wednesday and Thursday.

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