OTTAWA, Ontario, June 12, 2013 ( – Bill C-279, the Canadian transgender bill, sailed through the Senate Committee on Human Rights on Monday, despite testimony during the meeting from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that transgendered people are already protected on the grounds of “sex and disability”.

Joanne Brownrigg, a lobbyist for Campaign Life Coalition who attended the meeting, told that in the committee’s “unbridled enthusiasm to pass the bill and appear like heroes they were required to suspend all reason and rationality.” 

“So little of what was said rested on legal arguments and the actual good that this law would do,” she said. 


A number of groups supporting the bill, including the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), argued to the committee that the bill would “make a very clear statement about the invisibility of transgender people”. 

Noa Mendelsohn Aviv, Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, speaking on the topic of the bill making trans people more “visible,” said that it would “provide a mandate for proactive, educational and anti-discrimination initiatives with respect to trans people.” 

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The CBA said that the bill “represents the democratic will of the people.” 

“The fact that the Commons has passed this legislation says to the CBA that the majority of Canadians believe this bill ought to be adopted,” said the legal organization. 

But numerous family organizations have opposed the bill, saying that it would open a Pandora’s box of sexual anarchy, including giving biological men a legal alibi to use women’s bathrooms, shower rooms, and changing rooms. They also charge that it would put in place the legal framework for normalizing pedophilia as the next “sexual orientation,” and abolishing society's understanding of male and female. 

The bill, put forward by NDP LGBTT Critic Randall Garrison (Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC), defines “gender identity” as an “individual’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex that the individual was assigned at birth.”

Diane Watts of REAL Women of Canada told the Senate Committee during the meeting that the bill would cause harm to people who are confused by their sex. “Persons with gender identity disorder should receive compassionate counselling rather than be encouraged in their dissatisfaction with the gender engrained in their DNA,” she said. 

Brownrigg told that she has lost faith in the Senate committee since the meeting demonstrated that it is “dominated by social liberals” who seek to “advance their own agenda.” 

Out of the nine senate members who voted on the bill, only one, Thanh Hai Ngo, gave a dissenting vote. 

At the end of the meeting Senator Grant Mitchell encouraged Senate committee members to “fast-forward [the bill], do it now, push it through to third reading and get a vote”. In this way, he said, the Senate would have “accomplished something truly important, truly great, to make a difference in Canadians' lives.” 

A final vote on the bill is expected by the end of this month.


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