There has been a lot of complaint over the weekend about Immigration Minister Jason Kenney specifically editing out references to gay rights the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969, protection on the grounds of sexual orientation, and legalization of same-sex marriage in the recently-updated study guide for new immigrants applying for citizenship in Canada.
“But Mr. Kenney, who fought same-sex marriage when it was debated in Parliament, ordered those key sections removed when his office sent its comments to the department last June.
“Senior department officials duly cut out the material – but made a last-ditch plea with Mr. Kenney in early August to have it reinstated. “
Of course, this is a government that appeared to have demoted a minister for announcing a stimulus package grant to the Toronto Gay Pride Festival (for which it had validly qualified). So there appears to be some negative track history already, but it is still reprehensible to whitewash this factoid about Canada, and it demonstrates that some of our MPs continue to harbour prejudice, despite attempts to keep the more extreme elements hidden.
There is a subtext to this story.
This appears to be mostly an assumption of the media, but I’m seeing it stated in some articles that the government is glossing over the fact that LGBT people are protected from discrimination in Canada, and nobody is correcting them on it. The fact of the matter is that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are protected, but for trans folks, our protections are still subject to interpretation. Gender identity and gender expression are still not included in the Criminal Code of Canada or the Canadian Human Rights Act.
There may be an opportunity coming soon to fix that. A private member’s bill that will add protections to both is still coming up for discussion in Parliament. There is no date given for second reading as yet, but Bill C-389 did not perish when Parliament was prorogued, as many seem to believe, and is still pending. There has been support pledged from people in all parties thus far.
This will be an excellent way for the governing Conservatives to turn around their reputation on the subject. To Canadians: have you talked to your Member of Parliament, yet?
(Also offered to Pam’s House Blend)