Wednesday, November 23, 2016

C-16 Trans Rights Bill Passes House of Commons, Heads To Senate

Image result for canada flag map
Some wonderful news for our Canadian trans cousins that happened in the runup to TDOR.

On November 18, Bill C-16, also known as the Trans Rights Bill, passed the House of Commons on a Third Reading voice vote after a last ditch attempt by some Conservatives to attach an amendment to it force the bill back into committee.

C-16 passed with overwhelming multiparty support from the Liberals, the NDP and the Greens. Despite some Conservative MP's hating on C-16, it did receive support from many Conservative MP's, many of them who voted against previous versions of the trans rights bill.

MP Randall Garrison (NDP-Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) is the Critic for LGBTQ Issues and has led since 2011 the NDP effort to pass trans rights legislation.  MP Bill Siksay has led the NDP charge to pass trans rights legislation since 2005.

One of those Conservatives who has evolved concerning the trans rights bill was MP Michelle Rempel (C-Calgary).  She expressed that sentiment in her Third Reading House floor debate comments which have been praised across party lines in the Great White North.

Image result for michelle rempel“In the last three years, I have watched this community face bigotry, more discrimination, and becoming a flashpoint for fights that we should no longer be having in Canada, she said.

“I especially want to thank the trans activists who have lived through this discrimination. They deserve our thanks, and they also deserve an apology for when we have failed them in the past.”

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould had this to say after C-16 passed
“Today, I am very proud that Bill C-16 has passed the House of Commons. This Bill would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. 
Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said she would push the Senate to pass Bill C-16, which&n... It also proposes to amend the Criminal Code to add gender identity or expression to the definition of "identifiable group" for the purpose of the hate propaganda offences and to the list of aggravating circumstances for hate-crime sentencing.
All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves. Our strength as a nation lies in our diversity and our inclusiveness. It is our responsibility to recognize and reduce the vulnerability of trans and other gender-diverse persons to discrimination, hate propaganda, and hate crimes, and to affirm their equal status in Canadian society.
I am pleased that so many Members of Parliament supported this important piece of legislation and I look forward to working with the Senate as it continues through Parliament.”

MP Garrison had this to say in the wake of C-16's passage.

Seeking to address gaps in Canada's human rights protections, I am proud to have worked with transgender and gender variant activists over the past five years. Today, Bill C-16 was passed by the House of Commons. This is the third time that the HoC has affirmed equal rights for all Canadians.

This legislation is now headed to the Senate, one more time. Hopefully, this time, the unelected Senate will act quickly, respect the will of the House, and fill this gap in Canada's human rights protections.

Now comes the hard part of getting it through the Canadian Senate, when two previous trans rights bills have died after passage in the House of Commons..

C-16 had its First Reading in the Canadian Senate on November 22. and now moves to the Second Reading and debate phase in the Canadian legislative process..

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