By Patrick B. Craine

May 20, 2009 ( – On May 15th, NDP MP Bill Siksay of Burnaby-Douglas, BC tabled a private members’ bill that would add “gender identity” and “gender expression” as categories protected against discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. The bill also proposes to add these two terms to the Criminal Code to be taken into consideration at sentencing for “hate crimes.”

This is the third time Siksay has tabled the bill, after it failed to make it to the House in 2006 and 2007. The bill is reportedly ordered high enough this time around that it will likely get a chance to be debated at Parliament.

Siksay says he is cautious, but optimistic. “It’s a stretch to get it all the way through the House and the Senate in a minority Parliament, and that’s generally a stretch anyway for most private members’ legislation,” says Siksay in Xtra, the Canadian homosexual news outlet. “I’m hopeful that we’ll at least have a chance to debate it in the House this time around.”

“I believe that enshrining explicit protections for transgender and transsexual people in our human rights legislation and our Criminal Code will go a long way towards full equality and acceptance for transgender and transsexuals people,” said Siksay in an NDP press release. “This will ensure that transphobic violence is clearly identified as a hate crime, and judges will be able to determine sentences accordingly.”

See related coverage:

Private Member Bill Will Include Transsexuals in Canadian Human Rights Law

Canadian MP Introduces “Transgender” to the Hate Crimes Act

Read the full text of Siksay’s Bill C-389 on the Parliament website: