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Justin Trudeau takes a picture of himself in front of a "pride" crosswalk during his visit to Iceland.Twitter/Screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — 2023 saw the first significant backlash against gender ideology in Canada, from large-scale protests in major Canadian cities to parental rights policies being spearheaded by premiers.

Earlier this year, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith took that opposition a step further by announcing a planned ban on puberty blockers and “sex change” surgeries for minors. Presumably, other Canadian politicians are waiting to see if Smith’s policies succeed – federal Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has stated that he opposes such “treatments.” 

Despite the fact that Smith’s policies are reflective of a growing consensus – in the U.K., the National Health Service has just banned the prescription of puberty blockers to children outside of clinical trials – the Canadian elites have responded fiercely. On Easter Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau posted this statement to social media: 

A note to every trans Canadian on #TransDayofVisibility: You matter. You belong. And it’s because of your advocacy that we’ve passed laws to make our country more inclusive — from banning conversion therapy to strengthening protections against anti-trans hate. So, thank you. Thank you for being your authentic self — and for helping to build a world where everyone can feel safe and proud to be, too. 

Megan Murphy, a Canadian activists, responded: “Being one’s ‘authentic self’ shouldn’t require puberty blockers, hormone treatments, and experimental, harmful, unnecessary surgeries. What you call ‘conversion therapy’ is in fact ‘letting kids being themselves’ and ‘not destroying their bodies for life while they are minors and don’t understand the long term impacts of these drugs.’” Most of the comments beneath Trudeau’s post are in a similar vein. 

The elites of Canada’s arts scene also used the “Transgender Day of Invisibility” to declare their support for gender ideology and attack provincial premiers taking steps to protect children. The letter was released by music stars Tegan and Sara, and reads in part: 

We all deserve the freedom to be ourselves, to be safe and treated with dignity. 2SLGBTQIA+ people are our friends, family, neighbours and coworkers. But far right groups are tapping into fear and pitting us against each other so they can create a Canada where we’re afraid of difference. Right now, they’re using trans people as their punching bag, but the truth is that this community is their convenient scapegoat. Their agenda is the same it’s always been: for people in power to retain that power at the expense of the most marginalized among us. 

For those outside of Canada, the country is often seen as a human rights haven. However, the reality is that Canada is not immune to the global attack on the trans community and their access to inclusive spaces, healthcare and freedoms. In Alberta, premier Danielle Smith has targeted transgender youth with proposed bans on hormonal treatment, puberty blockers and gender-confirmation surgery. Months before, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan announced that they will require parental consent before schools can honour the chosen names and pronouns of gender-diverse children under 16. 

Everyone deserves access to crucial healthcare services that affirm them. Anyone holding a historically-excluded identity knows what it’s like to be treated differently because of who they are. The anti-trans policies taking root in Canada go beyond discrimination – they present a clear risk to the mental and physical well-being of trans individuals throughout the country. 

The letter was signed by more than 400 Canadian music artists, literary figures, and members of the film industry, including “Elliot” (Ellen) Page, actress Elisha Cuthbert (best known for her part in the TV series 24), singer Allison Russell, folk music legend Neil Young, and Alan Doyle, frontman of Great Big Sea. Other signatories included Anne Murray, musical groups Feist, Tokyo Police Club, Metric, and The Beaches; The Tragically Hip’s Paul Langlois; Schitt’s Creek actress Emily Hampshire; and filmmaker Deep Mehta.  

At the recent Juno Awards – a Canadian music awards ceremony that few Canadians have heard of – Tegan and Sara were presented with an award for “their work with LGBTQ+ youth” by trans-identifying actress “Elliot” (Ellen) Page, who told the crowd: “We are at a time in history where the rights of 2SLGBTQ+ people are being revoked, restricted and eliminated throughout the world, and the effects of which are devastating.”

The strategy is clear: those seeking to protect children from the transgender medical industry and the surgeon’s scalpel must be portrayed as attacking children.  

Canada’s elites do not wield as much cultural power as American cultural figures do; Canadian artists are heavily subsidized by the government and only infrequently become household names. Nonetheless, it is revealing to see the elites – the progressive political parties, the press, and purveyors of what passes for “Canadian culture” – congeal around the transgender movement. Premier Danielle Smith and her fellow premiers have the support of the vast majority of Canadians. The elites have the bully pulpits and the funding. We’ll find out which one matters more.  

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.