By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 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 Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 11:02 AM - 44 Comments
Greetings from the press gallery of the House of Commons, where we will shortly commence with live coverage of the 41st Parliament’s Speaker election. MPs are presently filing into the chamber, acquainting and reacquainting themselves with each other. The proceedings will commence around 11 o’clock.
There are presently eight candidates seeking the post: Dean Allison, Barry Devolin, Ed Holder, Lee Richardson, Denise Savoie, Andrew Scheer, Bruce Stanton and Merv Tweed. Officially, Justin Trudeau will appear on the first ballot, but that is owing to his having not notified the clerk in time that he did not wish to be in the running (MPs must officially opt out of the Speaker’s election).
Very shortly the Usher of the Black Rod will arrive to inform the House that its collective presence is required at the Senate. The Speaker of the Senate will then inform the House that it should choose a Speaker if it wishes to proceed with business. The House will reconvene and Louis Plamondon, as the longest serving MP in the House, will take the chair. The candidates for Speaker will then be called to stand and briefly state their respective cases. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 20, 2011 at 1:58 PM - 5 Comments
The NDP’s Denise Savoie has officially entered the race to be the next Speaker of the House. From the news release:
“I’m running for Speaker with a singular focus on raising the tone and quality of debate in Parliament, to restore the trust that Canadians deserve to have in their politicians and democratic institutions,” said Savoie.
As Assistant Deputy Speaker in the last Parliament Savoie launched a number of explicitly non-partisan initiatives aimed at fostering constructive and informed discussion on important topics, including workshops on climate change and the first all-party Parliamentary Arts Caucus. “I’m asking my fellow MPs to imagine a Parliament that functions well – where debate is not focused on scoring points, but rather on creating better, more inclusive public policy,” said Savoie.
As a fluently bilingual Franco-Manitoban who has lived in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and now in British Columbia, Savoie brings a pan-Canadian perspective to the Speaker’s Chair.
Of the seven MPs who are now in the race—Savoie, Andrew Scheer, Lee Richardson, Ed Holder, Barry Devolin, Merv Tweed and Dean Allison—five voted in favour of Michael Chong’s motion on Question Period reform. Mr. Scheer was in the Speaker’s chair at the time of the vote and Mr. Holder’s vote was paired.