Stand up for LGBT rights today
I am writing to condemn the federal
government’s treatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
people in Canada. The recent discovery that Immigration Minister
Jason Kenney’s office removed reference to same sex marriage from
the guide for new citizens is only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, equality rights in general were edited out of the list of important Charter rights in the guide, resulting in the impression that your government does not prioritize equality on all grounds.
Since taking power in 2006, your
government has attempted to undermine the GLBT community’s
hard-fought struggle for equality and human rights. Your government
abolished all funding for the Court Challenges Program, which played
a crucial role in allowing gay and lesbian Canadians to defend their
You have shown your disdain for LGBT
Canadians by appointing Darrel Reid, formerly of Focus on the Family
Canada, to prominent positions in the Prime Minister’s office. And
you showed an abject disregard for the threats faced by gay, lesbian
and transgender refuges, by appointing Doug Cryer to the Immigration
and Refugee Board, who is known for his anti-gay statements.
In addition, your government has
refused to follow the direction of the Human Rights Act Review panel,
which recommended that the Human Rights Act be amended to prohibit
discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. On the
contrary, your government has been starving off the Canadian Human
Rights Commission, closing down several regional offices.
It’s been 40 years since the Canadian
government decriminalized homosexuality, but the struggle for LGBT
human rights and social justice is far from over.
I demand:That the federal government restore funding to the Court Challenges program.
- That the citizenship guide be re-written to include information about equality rights for same sex couples, including adoption, inheritance, partner benefits and marriage.
- That gender identity and gender expression be added as protected grounds under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
- That the federal government halt the closures of Canadian Human Rights Commission offices in Vancouver, Halifax and Toronto, and
- That the Harper government appoint political advisors and refugee board members who have a proven track record of supporting constitutional equality rights.
It was commendable to see your
government taking action in opposition to Uganda’s proposed
anti-gay law. Now it’s time to show a similar respect to LGBT
people in Canada.
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