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July 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Derek Sloan, a candidate for the Conservative Party leadership in Canada, is calling for a national inquiry into the increasing number of children undergoing medical “gender transitioning” or “sex reassignment.”

Sloan told LifeSiteNews that “80% of children with gender dysphoria grow out of it, the decision has lifelong repercussions, and the chance of this being a response to traumatic experiences requires sober second thoughts and talk therapy support to find what is best for a child.”

The 35-year-old emphasized that his position on gender ideology is “firm.” He said he is “against radical gender ideology.” Thus, “no one younger than 18 should be allowed to take hormones or get a sex change surgery, and educational systems need to stop pushing one-sided content on this subject at extremely inappropriate ages for students.”

Sloan is following the lead of activist “Jenn” Smith, a man living as a woman, who nonetheless is critical of certain aspects of the “transgender” movement. In a press release, Smith pointed to the evidence for children with mental difficulties being a lot more likely to undergo “gender transitioning.”

Smith lamented that “foster children, autistic children, indigenous children, and various other at risk children suffering from emotional and psychological problems are transitioning at startlingly high and disproportionate rates (fifteen to twenty times more than children without these issues).”

Smith added they “are being put on life-long physically altering pharmaceutical medications that also puts them on a path towards possible ‘gender affirming surgery’ when they turn 18.”

“Powerful drugs such as Lupron and synthetic hormones, the long term side effects of which are not known, are prescribed to kids as young as ‘Tanner Stage 2’ (10 or 11 years old),” Smith continued, explaining that Lupron “is associated with all kinds of potentially serious side effects including bone density issues and the stunting of genital development and possible permanent sterilization.”

Smith said that people “should not be confusing our children by telling them it is possible [to become the opposite sex] and setting up laws that trample the rights of women and young girls.”

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Sloan, who represents Ontario’s electoral district of Hastings–Lennox and Addington, told LifeSiteNews how he came to support Smith’s call for a national inquiry.

He said that during webinars with conservative voters in British Columbia, “many grassroots supporters brought the work of Jenn Smith to my attention.” Sloan explained that “Jenn Smith is an adult transgender person who has become an activist against SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) programs being pushed onto youth in multiple [British Columbia] institutions.”

Smith had worked for two years on getting “a petition tabled in the House of Commons for a national inquiry into the spike in children’s requests for gender transitioning in Canada. When I saw the data not only on the exponential increase in general gender dysphoria but the even more disproportionate numbers for kids in foster care and First Nations settings as well as for autistic children, it was a no brainer that I will table the petition.”

Sloan also explained that several governments, including in the United Kingdom and Australia, had already “investigated this trend and taken action on it. There are good reasons for this.”

The Canadian leadership race was put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, pro-life Derek Sloan stayed active, calling on local governments to allow churches to reopen.

“During this unprecedented and trying time, we have found ways for people to get their groceries, to get their alcohol, to get their marijuana, and to get their takeout food, all the while observing the protocols of social distancing that keep us safe,” Sloan said.

“We could — and we should — be allowing religious congregations to use their buildings in the same way, with limited seating and social distancing of course, until it’s safe to allow things to return to ‘normal,’” he said. “Emergency powers are intended to keep us safe, NOT to shred our Charter-guaranteed rights to freedom of conscience and religion and of peaceful assembly.”

He then asked “provincial authorities across Canada to allow churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and all other places of worship to reopen and hold worship services while adhering to social distancing protocols.” Sloan emphasized that this could not be considered special treatment for religious people, but rather equal treatment compared to everybody else.

He said that in Canada “we can all stay safe without surrendering our constitutional freedoms, including the freedom to worship in assembly.”

Sloan is endorsed by Real Women of Canada and Campaign Life Coalition.