New Canadian immigrant study guide includes references to gay rights
OTTAWA, Ontario, March 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Canada’s new immigrant study guide released Monday now includes references to homosexual “marriage” after considerable pressure from gay rights activists, including Egale Canada.
The booklet, called “Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship,” is required reading for immigrants and is meant to be an introduction to Canadian life before they become citizens. Previous versions made no mention of homosexual “rights,” although a 2009 revision included a photo of Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury that identified him as a homosexual activist.
CTV reports that the new version of the guide states: “Canada’s diversity includes gay and lesbian Canadians, who enjoy the full protection of and equal treatment under the law, including access to civil marriage.”
When plans were underway for the revision of the guide last year, Rick Dykstra, parliamentary secretary for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, said the guide would have similar wording to the “Welcome to Canada” document. That document mentions that homosexuals are protected from “unjust discrimination” and that civil “marriage” is available for homosexuals, but also states that religious institutions cannot be compelled to perform such “marriages.” The new guide does not mention religious freedom on the matter of same-sex “marriage.”
Minister Jason Kenney said Monday that the guide deserves praise for making mention of gay rights. “If you actually look at the previous guide, the one that was published under the Liberal government, there was not a single word or sentence or paragraph at all about gay or lesbian rights,” Kenney told reporters.
Kenney, who is known for his pro-life views, had come under fire last year over allegations that he had blocked references to gay rights in an earlier version of the document.
“We can’t mention every legal decision, every policy of the government of Canada,” he said at the time.
After pushing for the changes, top homosexualist group Egale Canada welcomed the new guide in a statement on their website. “Egale Canada is pleased that the new guide accurately reflects the current climate in Canada,” said the group.
Egale, however, also criticized the document for its “obvious omission of our trans population.” Such an omission, reads the statement, “highlights the urgent need” for parliament to pass a bill (C-389) currently before the Senate which would amend the Human Rights Act to include “gender identity” and “gender expression” as prohibited grounds for discrimination.
Homosexual activist NDP MP Olivia Chow said in an interview that the changes were long overdue. She said the Conservative government should have addressed the homosexual rights issue earlier.
“It’s better than not having anything—at least the words ‘rights’ and ‘marriage’ are in there,” Chow said. “They removed it (from the first version), they deliberately removed it.”
Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
325 East Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Email: [email protected]
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
80 Wellington Street
E-mail: [email protected]