Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday June 24, 2021
Bill to restrict conversion therapy passes House, heads to Senate
The government’s bill to restrict conversion therapy has passed through the House of Commons and is now headed to the Senate.
Bill C-6 passed 263-63 with support from the Bloc Québécois and the NDP. Although many Conservatives MPs voted against it, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole voted in favour.
Conversion therapy is an attempt to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.
If successful, the government’s amendment of the Criminal Code would make it illegal to force a minor or non-consenting adult to: undergo conversion therapy; take a minor abroad for conversion therapy; or promote, advertise, or benefit from the provision of conversion therapy, among other things.
In March, Conservative MP Tamara Jansen tabled a petition in the House on the definition of conversion therapy in the bill. She, and some of her House colleagues, have argued that the bill would criminalize normal conversations between children and parents about sexuality.
The legislation was first introduced in March 2020, then reintroduced last October after Parliament was prorogued in August.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked the NDP and Bloc to support “pieces of legislation” he said would make a difference to Canadians, including Bill C-6.
“There’s also a time to work together … as we move (to pass) some really important pieces of legislation today (by) supporting the LGBTQ community by banning conversion therapy,” Trudeau said. “The Conservatives don’t want us to do that, but we will, with the support of the NDP and the Bloc.”
After Tuesday’s vote, Conservative Justice critic Rob Moore, who voted against the bill, said in a statement that a Conservative government would introduce a bill that better defines conversion therapy.
“At committee, Conservatives introduced an amendment that would better clarify the definition of conversion therapy in the bill to target coercive practices,” the statement reads. “The Liberals ignored reasonable efforts to build a consensus and strengthen the bill.”
C-6 could be introduced at first reading in the Senate before the chamber rises at 9 p.m. on Tuesday. (iPolitics)