OTTAWA – The federal government’s proposed law to ban conversion therapy passed the House of Commons on Wednesday, just days after its introduction.
The bill’s swift passage came when Conservative Rep. Rob Moore introduced a motion to be considered and voted on, and to send it to the Senate.
That motion passed unanimously, with cheers from across the Commons.
Conservative leader Erin O’Toole had said earlier Wednesday that her party would not stand in the way of the liberal government’s latest effort to ban conversion therapy and would seek to speed up passage of the bill.
“Canadians deserve real action, the LGBTQ community deserves real action,” he said after his party’s weekly caucus meeting, “so we are going to act, using all available parliamentary measures, to expedite the speedy approval of this. bill”.
Conversion therapy refers to the widely discredited practice of attempting to change the sexual orientation of LGBTQ people to heterosexual, or of coercing those who question their gender identity to align themselves with the sex they were assigned at birth.
When a bill to ban it was introduced in the House of Commons last session, the Conservatives were accused of deliberately slowing down efforts to get it passed by failing to limit the number of speakers who raised the same criticism.
Ultimately, about half of the Conservatives in the House voted against that bill, a fact that was used against the party during last summer’s election campaign.
Nine Conservative MPs who voted against were not re-elected, including BC MP Tamara Jansen, who was criticized for making homophobic comments during the course of the debate on the legislation. She and four other opponents of the bill lost their seats to the Liberals.
The bill passed Wednesday was the liberal government’s third attempt to ban conversion therapy. His first bill died last year when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prorogued Parliament, and the second had not been approved by the Senate when Trudeau triggered the elections.
The current bill goes beyond previous government attempts, making it a crime to have someone undergo conversion therapy, even if they consent.
The original bill allowed the practice of consenting to adults, despite criticism that a person cannot adequately consent to what amounts to fraud and torture.
Like its predecessor, the bill passed Wednesday would also make it a crime to remove a child from Canada for the purpose of conversion therapy, to promote or publicize the practice, or to receive “material or other benefit.” financially by providing conversion therapy.
It would also allow the courts to order conversion therapy ads to be removed.
During the latest debate, many conservatives expressed concern that the bill would criminalize conversations between religious leaders and their parishioners, or between parents and children, and demanded amendments, despite the government’s insistence that the proposed law does not. would make it possible.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION