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432-00378 (Justice)

Paper petition

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, are extremely concerned about an attack on our freedom of religion, conscience, expression, belief and our ability to speak it in the public square.

While all Canadians agree that no one should have to forcibly undergo a treatment they do not want, Bill C-6 prevents a person who of their own free will wants counselling or advice or prayer about their sexual confusion.

We call upon the Government of Canada for a narrower definition of what the Liberals view as "conversion therapy," in order to exclude pastoral care, voluntary sought counselling, or prayer.

We call upon the Government of Canada to amend or withdraw this legislation.

We call upon the Government of Canada to preserve our Charter rights.

Response by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable David Lametti

Conversion therapy efforts are rooted in the premise that one’s sexual orientation and gender identity can and should be changed to a narrow ideal of what is considered ‘natural’ or ‘normal’. There is no place for the destructive, harmful, and deadly practice of conversion therapy in Canada.Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (conversion therapy), which was introduced in the House of Commons on October 1, 2020, supports the Government’s commitment to amend the Criminal Code to ban the practice of conversion therapy. The main objective of Bill C-6 is to protect the dignity and equality of LGBTQ2 people through Criminal Code amendments that would prohibit causing a person under 18, or anyone without their consent, to undergo conversion therapy, as well as advertising and profiting from conversion therapy, a practice that discriminates against LGBTQ2 people and is known to cause harm to those subjected to it.

As amended by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which reported the Bill with amendments on December 11, 2020, Bill C-6 defines conversion therapy as “a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, to change a person’s gender identity or gender expression to cisgender or to repress or reduce non-heterosexual attraction or sexual behaviour or non-cisgender gender expression.” The Bill targets practices, treatments or services that are designed to change a fundamental part of a person’s identity – their sexual orientation or gender identity, because these interventions are known to cause harm.

The Bill’s definition of conversion therapy captures practices, treatments or services that are designed to achieve the objective of changing a person’s identity. An activity that does not amount to a “practice, treatment or service” would not be captured by the proposed definition, nor would a practice, treatment or service that does not seek to change a person’s identity.

The Bill also seeks to reduce conversion therapy’s availability and the presence of discriminatory public messaging about the LGBTQ2 community through its proposed material benefit and advertising offences. This approach strikes a balance between the rights and freedoms of adults who may choose to receive or to provide conversion therapy, and the equality and dignity of LGBTQ2 people.

More information about the considerations that support the consistency of Bill C-6 with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms can be found in the Bill’s Charter Statement, available at the following link: https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/pl/charter-charte/c6b.html.

Presented to the House of Commons
Marilyn Gladu (Sarnia—Lambton)
December 9, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00378)
Government response tabled
January 25, 2021
Photo - Marilyn Gladu
Sarnia—Lambton
Conservative Caucus
Ontario

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