Edmonton MP pushes for criminalization of conversion therapy
Randy Boissonnault, an Edmonton Centre MP and a special adviser to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 Issues, told reporters Thursday that Justice Minister David Lametti is still pursuing his pledge to make conversion therapy a criminal offence.
“[International Development and Women and Gender Equality] Minister [Maryam] Monsef and I were with Minister Lametti at the roundtable earlier today, and he is committed to seeing us criminalize these behaviours,” said Boissonnault.
“The federal government also spoke about the possibility of revoking charitable status,” said Kristopher Wells, the Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth at MacEwan University. “For example, churches [and] faith communities that continue to use or promote conversion therapy. I think all of these tools are really important.”
faith communities that continue to use or promote conversion therapy. I think all of these tools are really important.”
According to Global News, the City of Edmonton issued a report earlier this month, suggesting that anything that they can do to aid in the eventual ban of conversion therapy would be “largely symbolic.”
However, the City of Edmonton acknowledges that there are difficulties with attempting to implement a blanket ban on the practice, as conversion therapy is usually done in private, and to what extent something would be considered an attempt at conversion is unclear.
Boissonnault also admitted challenges. Even with the full support of the federal government, he believes that municipalities across the country will also need to take an active roll in seeing this pledge through.
St. Albert became the first municipality in Alberta to pass a motion to ban conversion therapy in July, and now refuses business licences to any organizations that include conversion therapy in their business models, reports the Edmonton Sun. Boissonnault hopes other municipalities, such as Vancouver and Edmonton, follow suit.
Including the possibility of taking away churches’ charitable status, Boissonnault has openly advocated for removing doctors’ and other health care professionals’, such as psychologists and counsellors, health-care licenses if they do not support the ban on conversion therapy, if they openly practice it, or if they recommend it to patients.
“You can pull somebody’s licence, said Boissonnault. “You can pull somebody’s health-care licence if there’s a report in their licence. But the reason you criminalize conversion therapy is so that we stamp it out, in the basements, in the backrooms, in the places where it’s happening unlicensed, so that people know that if you’re trying to change somebody’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, you’re breaking the law and you should go to jail.”
Wells echoed these sentiments and went on to say that the end goal of this pledge will to have conversion therapy enshrined in the criminal code as a criminal offence.
Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell has called Wexit “nuts” and that it was created to sow “unnecessary division.”
Speaking to Global News, Campbell stated that “adult” conversations were necessary with policies like equalization, and yet the dialogue has been anything but mature.
“We’re a complex country and we are always going to have issues that need solving,” she added. When Campbell was prompted on Wexit she gave out an incensed screech: “It’s nuts! I’m sorry, it’s a dead-end, so Alberta’s going to separate and that’s going to make it easier to get access to open water? That is a slogan designed to make people angry.”
Campbell’s comments come after the surging support in western separatism deriving from Justin Trudeau’s re-election. Since then, a notable online presence has grown in support of the Wexit movement, and the premiers of western provinces have cautioned Trudeau of the stark consequences of western alienation.
Campbell finished by saying that the Wexit movement “was not how grown-up people address problems … I see this and I think grow up!”
A Twitter search of Campbell’s tweets on Quebec show no similar criticism of the separatist movement in that province.
Alberta’s tussle with bad weather isn’t over yet.
Following our report last week which placed Alberta as one of the coldest places on Earth, there is some improvement, if only a touch.
Instead of a colossal and cold snowstorm, large chunks of the province will receive freezing rain.
While better than the previous week, the still dangerous weather has prompted an Environment Canada warning.
|Fort McMurray – Fort MacKay|
|Grande Prairie – Beaverlodge – Valleyview|
|Hinton – Grande Cache|
|Peace River – Fairview – High Prairie – Manning|
|Wabasca – Peerless Lake – Gift Lake – Cadotte Lake|
|Whitecourt – Edson – Fox Creek – Swan Hills|
According to Environment Canada, the warnings may need to be expanded today as the freezing rain transitions eastwards.
The government agency recommends taking precautions while driving as surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become icy and slippery.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is requesting nearly $1.7 billion dollars from Ottawa following the collapse in oil prices that has plagued the provincial economy for years.
Kenney’s request is a timely one, as Alberta continues to seek avenues to renegotiate Alberta’s relationship with Ottawa and Canada as a whole, looking to gain more autonomy from the federal government, according to the Globe and Mail.
The Kenney government is looking to receive $252-million from the Fiscal Stabilization Program, as aligned with Alberta’s 2019 budget. Though Ottawa has yet to greenlight the funding, Kenney has made it clear that he expects much more.
Alberta was the recipient of over $250 million from the Fiscal Stabilization Program in 2016 due to the province’s soaring unemployment rates, while provincial budgets also reached the red, ending in a deficit. The former Notley government filed a request in September of last year, asking Ottawa for a second payment under the same program.
Kenney is now asking that Prime Minister Trudeau quickly approve the request, which as already passed a year in waiting time. Kenney is also asking that Trudeau send the larger cheque he is seeking for his province. According to Alberta’s finance ministry, the province is ineligible for a third year of funding due to the economic bounceback after 2016.
Kenney told media on Saturday that the funds, when received, would go towards helping Alberta’s economic shortcomings, as the province is yet to fully come out of the 2016 recession. “It was designed to be an equalization rebate for the have-provinces when they have a sudden and unexpected decline in revenues.”
That equalization rebate is one that Kenney has recently gotten into verbal fisticuffs over with Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchette.
Recently, Kenney responded to Blanchette’s comments that Quebec would not support Alberta’s venture into a separatist movement, one that he says his party had no interest in comparing to Quebec’s previous movements, and one he has little interest in aiding.
“If they were attempting to create a green state in western Canada, I might be tempted to help them,” he said. “If they are trying to create an oil state in western Canada, they cannot expect any help from us.”
Kenney responded by telling the Bloc leader to “pick a lane”
“If you are so opposed to the energy that we produce in Alberta, then why are you so keen on taking the money generated by the oilfield workers in this province and across Western Canada?” said Kenney, the keynote speaker, to the sold-out crowd at the Westin Calgary.
“Pick a lane. Either you can say as Quebec that you’re no longer going to take the energy and equalization resources that come from Western Canada’s oil and gas industry … or you can do what we do as Canadians, coming together to support each other, especially in times of adversity,” said Kenney.
His fiery speech, which was given at a luncheon for the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors, received a standing ovation.
While landlocked, Alberta could be seeing interest from as far as Spain.
According to a recent report by Bloomberg News, the Spanish oil company Repsol is considering purchasing as much as half-a-million barrels of heavy crude a month from the western province, and in turn, transporting it to Europe through rail and shipping through Montreal’s ports.
The company is currently considering multiple locations including New Jersey, as it struggles to make up the production lost in Venezuela and Mexico.
If a deal is made, it could be seen as a boon to the Kenney government in Alberta, as European deals involving Canadian oil are rare. For example, only 400,000 barrels of Alberta oil was sent in the last year to the U.K, one of Canada’s largest European trading partners.
The shipment could also revive moral in the overall industry which has recently seen former giants such as Encana move south, where the regulatory environment, as well as access to capital, is seen as more favourable.