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article imageCanada's Parliament approves transgender bill of rights

By Karl Gotthardt     Mar 21, 2013 in Politics
Ottawa - Canada`s parliament has approved a trans-gender bill of rights with a vote of 149-137, with the support of 18 conservatives, including four cabinet ministers. Prime Minister Harper and most of his backbenchers opposed the bill.
Among the cabinet ministers who voted for the bill were Foreign Minister John Baird, who has been vocal on the issue on the international scene, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and Heritage Minister James Moore.
Opposition parties were united on the bill, which was introduced by New Democrat Randall Garrison.
Members of Parliament are free to vote with their beliefs for private members bills and this vote shows that there is division among the conservative caucus in regards to LBGT rights. The bill makes it illegal to discriminate against trans-gender Canadians.
Randall Garrison said after the vote that New Democrats were proud to have contributed to the equal protection under the law based on gender identity.
"Today, New Democrats are proud to have contributed to ensuring equal protection under the law from discrimination and hatred based on gender identity. Trans-gender and transsexual citizens are among the most marginalized and are too often victims of harassment and acts of violence."
The bill was passed after a sometimes vigorous and emotional debate. During the second reading of the bill, 15 conservatives joined the opposition parties, while eight abstained from voting. After the author of the bill Randall Garrison removed the term gender expression, 18 Tories voted for the bill.
Those that opposed the bill used several arguments to stop it, one of which was the assumption that pedophiles had a free path to lure children into bathrooms and in fact would be protected if lurking in either men`s or women`s bathrooms. Other MPs argued that trans-gender Canadian were already protected under the basis of sex and disability.
More about LBGT, House of Commons, Canadian Politics, transgender rights, Human Rights
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