The federal government tabled a revised bill on Monday that would criminalize anyone undergoing conversion therapy.
The discredited practice attempts to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ people to heterosexuals, or to force those who question their gender identity to align with the sex assigned to them at birth.
“These dangerous practices must simply stop,” Justice Minister David Lametti said at a press conference Monday after the tabling of Bill C-4.
The bill goes beyond the government’s previous attempt to ban conversion therapy. Bill C-4 would criminalize forcing someone into conversion therapy regardless of whether they consent.
This was a key request from survivors and advocates, who said the government’s previous attempt to ban Bill C-6 still provided conversion therapy to adults who consent. Lawyers have said that a person cannot consent to what amounts to fraud and torture.
Like C-6, the bill tabled on Monday would also criminalize the removal of a child from Canada for the purposes of conversion therapy, the promotion or publicity of the practice, and the perception of a “financial or other benefit. material ‘from the provision of conversion therapy. It would also allow courts to order the removal of ads for conversion therapy.
The Liberal minority government’s bill is guaranteed to be approved by the House of Commons as the NDP has said it will support passing it and sending it to the Senate as soon as possible.
Lametti urged Tory MPs to ensure the bill gets through the House swiftly. Half of the previous Conservative caucus – 62 MPs, some of whom lost their seats in the last election – voted against C-6 in June.
Addressing those MPs, Lametti said on Monday that he hoped they would join him and the other parties “to get this bill passed in Parliament as soon as possible.”
A spokesperson for Chief Erin O’Toole said the Conservatives are reviewing the bill “to ensure conversion therapy is banned while protecting the rights of LGBTQ + Canadians.”
Monday’s bill is the government’s third attempt to ban conversion therapy. His first bill died last year when the Liberals prorogued Parliament, while his second bill died in August in the Senate when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called an election.
NDP members “stand ready” to ensure the new conversion therapy bill gets to the Senate before Christmas, “so that we can avoid a repeat of the Liberals’ failure to do so,” he said. a statement said Monday from NDP MPs Randall Garrison and Blake Desjarlais, the party’s spokesperson and deputy spokesperson on LGBTQ2S issues.
Speaking alongside Lametti and other Liberal ministers and MPs, Gemma Hickey, a survivor of conversion therapy, said the practice is homophobic, transphobic and does not belong in Canada or elsewhere.
At the age of 16, Hickey – who identified as female at the time, their sex assigned at birth – told her doctor she had a crush on a girl. They were referred to a therapist.
“After a few sessions, I told him I thought I was gay,” Hickey said. “Don’t worry,” she assured me in a soft voice, “we’ll fix this. “
“When I told her that I had always wanted to be a boy, she added that if I prayed hard enough God would make me better. In the meantime, she prescribed me antidepressants.
Hickey then attempted to kill himself. They are now an author and a lawyer.
“Finally, at 45, I can stand here and say I’m the best version of myself,” Hickey said. “I am proud to be transgender, I am proud to be Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and I am proud to live in a country where conversion therapy will be banned.
The new legislation is “much stronger and more comprehensive” than previous attempts by the government, said Kristopher Wells, Canada Research Chair in Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth at MacEwan University.
“It is clear from this legislation that no one can consent, under any circumstances, to any form of conversion therapy. Consent cannot be given for practices that are clearly unscientific and known to cause significant harm, ”Wells said.
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