By Patrick B. Craine
OTTAWA, Ontario, June 11, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A private members bill seeking to enshrine protections for "transsexuals" and "transgendered" individuals has passed a second reading in the Canadian House of Commons, to the shock of at least one pro-family leader.
The bill is being proposed by NDP Member of Parliament Bill Siksay, and seeks to add "gender identity" and "gender expression" as categories protected against discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. The bill also proposes to add the terms to the Criminal Code to be taken into consideration at sentencing for "hate crimes."
"It shouldn't have got passed. Obviously people are asleep at the switch," commented Gwen Landolt, National Vice President of REAL Women Canada. "It's so badly drafted and the implications are so horrendous to it - not only to society, but also to the individuals themselves."
This is Siksay's third attempt at this bill, known as C-389, after it failed to make it to the House in 2006 and 2007. It underwent its first hour of debate on May 10, and received its second hour on Tuesday. With the support of the House, it was sent to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Surprisingly, the bill appears to have made it through first and second reading with very little fanfare. It has not been covered by the 3 major national papers - Toronto Star, National Post, or Globe and Mail - and a Google News search yields only a few results, all from the homosexualist paper Xtra.
Addressing the House Tuesday, Siksay described the debate on his bill as "historic," noting that this is the first time "transgender" issues have been debated in the House.
"There can be no doubt that trans Canadians face significant challenges and that they do not yet enjoy full equality in our society," he said. Yet he added that "progress is being made," noting that "trans" individuals are becoming more accepted within families and among landlords, health care providers, unions, and religious groups, as well as being afforded explicit protections in certain jurisdictions.
"However, there is more to be done," he insisted. "This bill would ensure full and explicit human rights protection in all areas of federal jurisdiction."
At both readings, a number of MPs from the opposition parties - the Liberals, NDP, and Bloc Quebecois - rose to support the bill, but representatives from the Conservatives opposed it.
Daniel Petit, parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Justice, said Tuesday that the amendments proposed "are useless and unclear." "Transsexuals are already protected against discrimination based on sex under the Canada Human Rights Act, a federal law," he said, noting that "the courts have upheld the validity of discrimination complaints filed by transsexuals."
He added that human rights tribunals "already protect transsexuals against discrimination in employment and services."
Given that "trans" individuals are already protected, Petit continued, "what [Siksay] really seems to be proposing is therefore rather symbolic."
Further, because the terms in the bill are not defined, he said, "we cannot be sure of the meaning of 'gender expression' and how it might be interpreted by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and the courts."
"The legal consequences may be complex and unpredictable," he added.
Landolt said that the bill "goes to show that homosexuals are never satisfied and will push the situation as far as it will go." She warned that it could "create all sorts of difficulties to ordinary, everyday communication in society between men and women," such as the use of public washrooms.
The bill is "trying to normalize and legitimize people who obviously have psychological and emotional difficulties," she added. "That is very troubling."
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See related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Canadian MP Tables Bill to Protect "Transgendered" People in Canadian Human Rights Act