Canada has signed into law the ban on so-called “conversion therapies”. The Canadian Senate approved Bill C-4 on Tuesday. The initiative, sponsored by David Lametti, Minister of Justice, prohibits these practices that promise to impose heterosexuality on people from the LGBT community. The criminal code thus contemplates new sanctions: providing these “services or treatments” to minors or adults – even with consent – can carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Promoting or advertising them can be punishable by up to two years’ imprisonment. In turn, it is illegal to send a minor abroad for this purpose.
The senators gave their approval unanimously and without resorting to debate or study of the project, as happened last week in the lower house. It was the third time that the government of Justin Trudeau tried to adopt the measure. Various maneuvers by conservative legislators had prevented it. Likewise, the lower house approved an earlier version last June, but the Senate did not take the step before Trudeau called for elections in September. The Canadian prime minister celebrated the news Tuesday afternoon. “Thanks to everyone who has made it possible. Let’s continue building a country in which everyone is free to be who they are and to love who they love, ”he wrote on Twitter.
On this occasion, the legislators of the Conservative Party had an active participation so that the C-4 initiative was approved quickly. Tory Senator Leo Housakos expedited its adoption. “We should have the reflection in this institution that when something is of universal interest, of public interest, we should not create debates or unnecessary duplications,” he declared when presenting the motion. No member of the Senate opposed Housakos’s request. Minister Lametti thanked the senators for their actions.
On December 1, the conservative Rob Moore also proposed in the lower house the adoption of the project quickly. The motion also passed without any opposition, provoking applause and handshakes between deputies from different forces; samples of expression rarely seen in this legislative room. “No one can consent to torture. It’s a great day for the survivors, knowing that no one else is going to go through what they went through, ”said Randy Boissonnault, Canadian Minister of Tourism.
The Vancouver-based Center for Community Research published a study in June. In the document, 21% of respondents belonging to a sexual minority said they had been the subject of efforts to change their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. 10% said they had experienced these “therapies.” According to calculations by the authors, more than 50,000 Canadians have been subjected to these practices. Since 2012, the Pan American Health Organization has warned that they lack medical justification and that they represent a serious threat to the health and well-being of those affected.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.