For those who believe that our society has become impossibly polarized, that political parties are no longer able to work together for the common good, that we have outgrown our best, Canada’s House of Commons The answer was on Wednesday, when it unanimously approved legislation to ban conversions. Treatment.
And that conservatives have made this possible is no less than a surprise.
“We’re all fighting back tears.” Justice Minister David Lametti told reporters after the vote. He was not alone. What a great day.
And what is unexpected. When conservative justice critic Rob Moore introduced a motion that the House declares Bill C-4—the third legislative attempt by liberals to criminalize conversion therapy—to be adopted, I wrote a column about Liberals and Conservatives. Was in the middle of writing. The plot around the bill.
Conversion therapy is a bogus and dangerous practice that falsely claims to be able to change a person’s sexual or gender identity. Especially children should be protected from this.
Conservative backbenchers rejected a second version of the bill last spring, saying it could criminalize interactions between parents and children, or religious leaders and followers. Although Conservative leader Erin O’Toole voted in support of the legislation, more than half of her party did not vote.
House of Commons approves bill banning conversion therapy
So it seemed appropriate to wonder how Mr. O’Toole would handle the issue this time. As it turned out, he and the other key players handled it beautifully. I suspect MP Michelle Rempel Garner, who has fought to advance LGBTQ rights within the party for years, and MPs Eric Duncan and Melissa Lantsman, who is gay, may have had some interesting conversations with their colleagues.
He appears to have convinced social conservatives within the caucus that he had already registered his opposition to the bill when he voted against his predecessor last spring, and that no further opposition would only typecast the party as intolerant.
“Those who had something to say were able to say it” [last spring] and we believed we had to get [the bill] Back where it was six months ago, which was before the Senate,” Conservative House leader Gerard Deltel explained to reporters outside the House.
We hope that the Senate will expeditiously pass the bill sent to it with the unanimous consent of the House.
There is a lot of glory to be had here. The first was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his liberal government to support the law, which would protect vulnerable members of the LGBTQ community from traitors and religious fanatics.
Second, to Mr. O’Toole. Many of us have written about his struggle to unify the hardline conservative coalition. The unity they achieved on Wednesday was miraculous. And politically, highly beneficial.
Socially conservative MPs also deserve high praise. Many religious conservatives of all religions regard homosexual acts as sinful. While the rest of us may strongly disagree, we must respect the right of lawmakers who hold those beliefs to vote for their conscience.
Instead, they agreed that they had made their point and that they would follow the leadership’s wishes and move on. It was the right call, but it must have been tough for some.
“There are clearly people in the Conservative caucus who have exercised a lot of leadership on this issue,” Mr Lametti said. “And I thank them.” Not something I thought I’d live to hear.
A previous version of the bill left open the possibility that activists could seek prosecution of a mental-health professional who advises a wait-and-see approach for a minor who expresses gender dysphoria. This is a matter of concern in the new bill.
And it is an open question whether an adult can be prohibited from seeking treatment on their own, such as conversion therapy. The courts will be busy dealing with the implications of C-4.
But Canadians, including some upset observers in the press gallery, deserve credit where credit is due, to members of parliament, who came together on Wednesday to make the world a little bit safer for sexual and gender minorities. Well done and thank you.
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