MPs' approval of transgender rights bill C-279 called "huge step forward"

Legislation aimed at protecting transgender people from discrimination is on its way to the Canadian Senate.

Today (March 20), the House of Commons passed Bill C-279, which would add gender identity and gender expression to the prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Esquimalt-Juan de Fuca NDP MP Randall Garrison's private member's bill would also amend the Criminal Code to outlaw hate speech that advocates genocide against groups distinguished by gender, and to allow evidence that a crime was motivated by hate based on gender to be taken into account during sentencing.

Egale Canada called the vote a "significant step" for equality and urged the Senate to approve the legislation without delay.

“This is a huge step forward, and the onus now falls to the Senate to ensure that we as a country continue to move forward in our commitment to human rights," Helen Kennedy, executive director of the LGBT rights group, said in a news release. "The Senate must take all measures necessary to ensure swift passage of this vital piece of legislation.”

Kennedy also noted: “For too long, social and political invisibility have enabled discrimination, harassment and hate-motivated violence against the trans community to continue unnoticed and unchallenged.”

Politicians and LGBT advocates responded to the vote on Twitter:

Comments (13) Add New Comment
Raifon
Where is the wisdom of Solomon when you need it, certainly not in Parliament. I think these people live in a vacume. Moral issues have to be decided by referendum anything else is stupidity.
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King Hughes
The Canadian Human Rights Act states in 3.(1) "For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered."
___________________________

I'm surprised that transgendered people don't consider themselves part of this document. Are they special in some way?
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Rick in Richmond
A remarkable day for decency in Canada.

Congratulations to the NDP for achieving this, and to all who voted for it.

Remarkably, a Private Member's Bill actually became law. This is extremely unusual in the parliamentary system. With any luck, it will pave the way for more such in the future.

Even more remarkably, Foreign Minister John Baird, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and Heritage Minister James Moore were among the 16 Conservatives who supported the bill.

Canada is changing.

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iSheep
About fucking time.

Every Human being should have equal rights regardless of what Genitals and/or wardrobe they choose to posses.
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Rick in Richmond
An unusual day for decency in Canada.

Congratulations to the NDP for achieving this, and to all who voted for it.

Remarkably, a Private Member's Bill actually became law. This is extremely unusual in the parliamentary system. With any luck, it will pave the way for more such in the future.

Even more remarkably, Foreign Minister John Baird, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and Heritage Minister James Moore were among the 16 Conservatives who supported the bill.

Canada is changing.
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Anonymous
"I'm surprised that transgendered people don't consider themselves part of this document. Are they special in some way?"


Your gender is not your sex.

I don't think I'm alone in feeling that they aren't represented in the Canadian Human Rights Act as it is currently written.

Proud to be Canadian today.
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Dianne
Thank you Bill Siksay and Randall Garrison for leading the way.

THANK YOU to ALL MP's who voted to support this bill.
Lumps of rotten coal and extreme shame on those who didn't.

And now on to victory for social justice in the Senate.
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Lena
I'm saddened, a few rights have toppled many others. Mainly small children who can't even go to the restroom alone. Laws are for all people, not a few. We are inventing loopholes for criminals to get access to our children and people. Everyone can hide under these laws in the case of sexual attacks. How can a court decide if someone is sexually confused. Maybe they like women, or men, or now children. Do I need to watch my dog also? What's next? This is crazy, social engineering gone wrong. We will all pay the consequences for the government creating this whole sexual identity issue. Shame on those who put it in place without anyone even knowing it. Our voices are not heard, we are living in communism.
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Rachel
To the question of why Transgender people do not consider themselves a part of the Human Rights Act, is because they haven't been protected under the Act. It's been challenged in court many times that Trans people do not carry equal protection under the act when things happen to them such as Job Discrimination (which happens too much).

We should be dismayed that such an important issue is debated (and contested) on the basis of 'perverts in the bathroom looking at my kids'. How about "People want to use the bathroom and go about their business without getting leered at, groped, or raped". It is however a common tactic to instill fear into people to support your unreasonable opposition to something, in order to get them on your side.

"Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction".

Transgenderism is not a lifestyle choice, it's not a 'morality' issue. It's increasingly backed up by overwhelming biological evidence to the same. Sexual Preference and Transgenderism are mutually exclusive. If you are Transgender, your sexual preference has nothing to do with your gender identity.

Trans people commit suicide at an alarming rate. They are still getting beat up, marginalized, and even killed for something they didn't ask for in the first place. I'm really hoping as a society we can embrace these people and champion them. We have a chance to set an example for the world to follow.

And if the question of Paedophiles and Perverts in the washroom is the issue, then address that issue, don't use Transsexuals as a fulcrum to lift your conservative value agenda while people are suffering.
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Maiar
@Raifon: "Moral issues have to be decided by referendum anything else is stupidity."

Yes. Right. Absolutely.

Except the absolute opposite of all of that.

Well done, House of Commons. Thank you for maintaining my faith in at least some parts of our federal government. It's hard to unequivocally call oneself proud to be a Canadian these days, but at least on human rights issues we're still doing pretty well.
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Danielle
Lena's comment above makes me cringe. Are you calling all transgender people criminal? That seems to be your intent. Why would an actual criminal (regardless of what sexual orientation or gender they are) be saved by these changes to the Code and Act - what was a crime before is still a crime. You've based your comments on unfounded fear and complete ignorance instead of facts and understanding of the issues. You may want to actually find out what a transgender person is, and meet one in person. You'll also be suprised to know that transgender individuals (men and women) need to use a washroom from time to time, just like you do ... to do their business. Ensuring rights (these are not 'special rights' but the same rights as you enjoy to be free of discrimination and not live in fear of losing your job because of who you are or targeted for attack) to a group that is often highly marginalized in our society on the basis of unfounded fears (please point me to one situation where your example has happened) and trying to link this group of people to criminal action, seems incredibly self-centered, wrong-minded, inaccurate and offensive.
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san
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Tay
Lena, when using the washroom, most people should be, you know, using the washroom and washing their hands. I believe there are laws against engaging in sexual acts against minors and against engaging in sexual acts in public spaces, both of which cover molesting children in washrooms.

People need to get over their washroom paranoia. It's stupid. I, a former nanny, was washing my hands when I saw a child reaching for the paper towel, ignored entirely by her mother who was checking her makeup. When I grabbed my own paper towel, I handed the little girl a few pieces, too.

The mother then started shrieking for security to come arrest me because I was going to kidnap and molest her child. Why? It was winter and I was wearing a big hoodie, so OBVIOUSLY I was a man. For the record, been female my entire life.
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