Former NDP MP Bill Siksay returns to the spotlight in the Pride parade

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      It was great to see former Burnaby-Douglas MP Bill Siksay in today's Pride parade.

      If he was still in office, he would have been the first politician in the procession.

      Siksay tried valiantly to enshrine human-rights protections for transgender people at the federal level. His private member's bill remarkably made it through the House of Commons, but ran into opposition from Conservative senators. When an election was called, the bill died.

      It was a fitting tribute for the parade organizers to give Siskay a prominent spot. He ventured where few politicians dare to tread: standing up for people who don't fit comfortably within society's notion of gender.


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      Dale Smith

      Aug 1, 2011 at 9:34pm

      The bill did not run into any opposition in the Senate, and in fact had support from several Conservative Senators. It simply did not have the time necessary to go through the process, as it was at the bottom of the Order Paper and committee list, and was hindered by the fact that Siksay himself did not spend enough time trying to find a sponsor for the bill in the Senate, per procedure. Please strive for better fact-checking in the future.

      Charlie Smith

      Aug 1, 2011 at 10:00pm

      Dale Smith,

      I wrote that after reading this article by Globe and Mail columnist John Ibbitson, entitled: "Transgendered-rights bill headed for defeat in Tory-held Senate"

      The vast majority of Conservatives voted against the bill in Parliament.

      If the Conservative senators wanted this bill to pass, they could have moved quickly to do so because it had the support of the other parties. They didn't do this.

      Do you seriously believe that Conservative senators appointed by Stephen Harper would have gone against the will of Stephen Harper with respect to transgender rights?

      Blaming Bill Siksay for this bill's death is pretty rich, considering that the Conservatives could have easily supported it in the House of Commons. And they didn't.

      Charlie Smith

      Dale Smith

      Aug 2, 2011 at 5:42am

      Hi Charlie,

      I reported on the bill for Xtra, and as you may notice, Ibbitson didn't talk to a single Senator in his article, but based it solely on his own supposition. I did speak to Senators on both sides (as well as independents), and I also spoke to Siksay repeatedly, who admitted he didn't spend enough time trying to get support on the Senate side. This is not blaming him for the bill's death - it died because of a lack of time. It wouldn't have made it through the Senate process until at least Xmas anyway, given where it sat in relation to other justice bills on the Order Paper. All of this can be found in my reporting on

      As for casting blanket assumptions on Conservative Senators, not all of them were appointed by Harper (such as Senator Nancy Ruth, who is a lesbian), and some he did appoint do work with the queer community, like Senator Linda Frum, who is a board member for Egale Canada. The Senate is not the House of Commons, and will not necessarily behave the same way.

      Dale Smith