By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 0 Comments
C-279, the transgendered rights bill, has passed the House of Commons with amendments by a vote of 149-137.
Randall Garrison’s bill was supported by the New Democrats, the majority of Liberals (Judy Sgro and John McKay abstained), the Bloc Quebecois, Bruce Hyer, Elizabeth May and, by my unofficial count, 17 Conservative MPs: Erin O’Toole, Bernard Trottier, Terrence Young, David Wilks, Laurie Hawn, Michael Chong, Chris Alexander, Shelly Glover, Kellie Leitch, Cathy McLeod, Deepak Obhrai, Gerald Keddy, Jim Flaherty, John Baird, James Moore, Lisa Raitt and John Duncan.
Mr. Garrison has released the following statement.
Today, New Democrats are proud to have contributed to ensuring equal protection under the law from discrimination and hatred based on gender identity.
We are happy there was all party support for formal protection of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Variant Canadians’ rights under the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code with Bill C-279.
We need to recognize the work of the many people and organizations across the country who worked hard to advance this important issue.
Our efforts represent a huge step forward but there is still much work to be done to ensure equal access for Trans Canadians to simple services like health care, housing, and jobs. Transgender and Transsexual citizens are among the most marginalized and are too often victims of harassment and acts of violence.
We must continue to act on this important issue and, now that the bill has passed through the House of Commons, we urge the Senate to move quickly to guarantee the same rights and protections for Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Variant Canadians that all of us enjoy.
Update 10:30pm. The Canadian Press counts 16 Conservative MPs who supported the bill. I’m not sure how to account for the discrepancy. I’ll consult the official roll call in the morning to double-check my tally.
Update 9:55am. The official tally makes it 18 Conservatives. Somehow I missed Bruce Stanton.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 1:50 PM - 0 Comments
Bill C-279, the transgendered rights bill proposed by NDP MP Randall Garrison, comes to a vote this evening in the House. Here is previous coverage of the bill.
The second reading vote gives a sense of the votes to watch—specifically those Conservatives who voted in favour and what additional votes might be in play because of previous absences. One Conservative vote, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, tells me she will support the proposed amendments and the main bill. I’m also told Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, who wasn’t present for the second reading vote, will vote in favour.
Mr. Garrison’s office says they expect a very tight vote, but remain optimistic.
Update 1:53pm. Michael Chong will also support the amendments and, if they succeed, the amended bill.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, March 8, 2013 at 3:23 PM - 0 Comments
C-279, the transgendered rights bill, received its final hour of debate last night at report stage. Included therein were the objections of David Anderson, the resounding support of Sean Casey and Megan Leslie and a fascinating speech from an emotional Michelle Rempel. Ms. Rempel was one of the 15 Conservatives who supported the bill at second reading.
The votes on the proposed amendments and the bill will take place March 20.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 10:44 AM - 0 Comments
The Speaker ruled last night that the amendments Randall Garrison had hoped to make to C-279, the transgendered rights bill, at committee could be submitted to the House. Mr. Garrison promptly did just that and it seems to be his hope that those amendments will improve the bill’s chances of passing at report stage.
As we have just heard, the package of amendments is quite complex, but it really only does two things. Nine amendments are required because of the complexity of legal drafting, but again, only two things are happening here.
The first is that the bill adds the definition of “gender identity”, which we just heard the Speaker read out in the House. The second is that the term “gender expression” is removed from the bill.
I hope this reassures those members who wanted a somewhat narrower bill, a bill that was somewhat easier to explain in public, and a bill that might rule out some of the more extreme concerns or fears that some people had. I believe that if we approve these amendments, we will have that bill in front of us.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 10:51 AM - 0 Comments
The bill passed at second reading in June with those 15 Conservatives voting in favour, but committee hearings on the bill ended in acrimony (here is the transcript). As a result, the bill was reported back to the House without the amendments that Randall Garrison, the bill’s sponsor, had hoped to make. Mr. Garrison is now hoping to have those amendments moved and considered in the House, but it will be for the Speaker to decide if they are in order (see “selection of motions for debate” here).
The fate of those amendments could conceivably have some bearing on the bill’s ultimate passage. And in addition to those 15 Conservatives who voted in favour, there are another 16 Conservatives and a half dozen opposition MPs who didn’t vote at second reading.
Conservative MP Brent Rathgeber explained his concerns with the bill in November. Former NDP MP Bill Siksay, the sponsor of the original version of the bill, responded to some of the critics of the bill in an interview two years ago.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 1:46 PM - 0 Comments
Rob Anders is circulating a petition that suggests Bill C-279, which deals with extending human rights protection to transgendered individuals, is “intended to give transgendered men access to women’s public washroom facilities.” This argument has been raised by opponents of the bill before—here is Conservative MP Dean Allison raising it during debate on a previous version of the legislation.
I think it’s just an alarmist argument from people who do not support extending human rights coverage to a very marginalized group and a group that suffers discrimination in our society. There’s nothing in the bill that will legalize assault, sexual assault, exhibitionism, voyeurism, harassment – any of those kinds of things. What’s inappropriate and illegal in a women’s washroom or a gendered space remains illegal and inappropriate. There’s nothing in this bill that would contemplate changing that …
The reality now is that transsexual people – people who have gone through the sex change process – we already share washrooms with, and we already share washrooms with transgendered people, and most of us aren’t doing a gender check on everybody who’s in the bathroom. If the bathroom is being used appropriately, it’s not an issue. The other reality is that I know of no jurisdiction that has changed the law to establish full human rights for transgendered and transsexual people that has seen change in what happens in bathrooms in terms of criminal behaviour I can’t find any evidence that that happens. If someone can show me some, fine, but I’ve never found any, and no one who has raised this issue has ever been able to point out that those kinds of things happening.
C-279 passed at second reading in June with 14 Conservative MPs voting in favour.
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, June 25, 2012 at 11:30 AM - 0 Comments
Mitchel Raphael on the parties and their end-of-sitting parties
How Mulcair impressed the media
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair held his first in a series of garden parties at Stornoway, an annual custom also held at 24 Sussex and the Farm at Kingsmere, which is the official residence of the Speaker of the House of Commons. When it was the media’s turn at Stornoway, the ground under a huge tent was still mushy from rain and a party earlier in the week. Mulcair’s wife, Catherine Pinhas, helped host the event and indicated she doesn’t enjoy having her picture taken. She said she will pose for future holiday cards when duty calls. NDP staff said she will have to get over that aversion if their leader plans to become the next prime minister of Canada.
CBC host Evan Solomon arrived a bit late to the party and missed the buffet, which included white chocolate mousse branded with the NDP logo. He was left to nibble on a cheese platter and finished the last of the New Brunswick oysters at the oyster bar. Talk turned to the Twitter hashtag of Solomon’s show Power and Politics, which is #PnP. PnP is also the acronym used on gay hookup sites for “party and play,” which means searching for sex and drugs. One attendee at the party who follows the hashtag quipped that it made for an interesting Twitter feed. Solomon joked that must be why his ratings are up.
As the party wound down around 10 p.m., Mulcair told the waiters to go around and let everyone know it was last call. This impressed much of the media since such announcements are rarely made at parties at the official residences.