OTTAWA — A bill that could reshape society’s understanding of human sexuality by granting protected status to transgendered and transsexual people passed a final vote Feb. 9 in the House of Commons and has gone to the Senate.
NDP MP Bill Siksay’s private members’ bill C-389, which would add gender identity and gender expression to the Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Act, passed 143–135.
Most Conservatives voted against the bill, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, though several cabinet ministers voted for it, including Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, Heritage Minister James Moore, House Leader John Baird and Labour Minister Lisa Raitt. The leaders of the Opposition parties all supported the bill.
“This was a tight vote,” said Catholic Organization for Life and Family director Michele Boulva. “It shows that almost half of our MPs understand that their role is not to impose new social norms inspired by the gender ideology, but to respect natural law when they legislate.”
“Hopefully the Senate will give sober second thought to this,” Boulva said.
Conservative Senator Gerry St. Germain said the vote is “an indication of just how secularized our House of Commons has become.”
St. Germain said he intends to vote against the bill. “I worry about our children and how confused they could become in a situation like this.”
St. Germain’s concern was echoed by Campaign Life Coalition.
“We were hoping it wouldn’t pass,” said Campaign Life Coalition national organizer Mary Ellen Douglas. Her organization will try to alert parents in Ontario to the McGuinty government’s plans to ensure children understand gender identity as early as kindergarten, she said.
“This is for five year olds who barely understand the difference between a boy and a girl at that age,” she said. “What’s happened in Parliament could have a dramatic effect in pushing this through the schools,” she said.
Before the vote, CLC issued a press release warning about transgenderism being taught in the schools. The province’s all-day kindergarten program “requires that teachers combat ‘preconceived notions’ about the gender of five-year-olds.”
“The passage of Bill C-389 will only cement the government’s agenda to bring the controversial issues into kindergarten classes,” said Alissa Golob of Campaign Life Coalition.
“These attacks will only get stronger if C-389 passes and the activists behind this legislation will have the perceived ‘moral authority’ to demand that transgenderism be taught in school as something that is natural and normal.”
McGill University Christian studies professor Douglas Farrow pointed out Siksay did not hide that education of children was part of his agenda.
At the end of his speech Feb. 7, during the last hour of debate devoted to the bill, Siksay, who described himself as a gay man, quoted from a lengthy statement produced by the Canadian Labour Congress in support of GLBT rights that included the following statements read into Hansard:
Farrow has written an article to be published in the March edition of First Things Magazine in which he points out the dangers of adding gender identity and expression to the protected categories in our laws.
Gender identity and expression, he said, are subjective, unlike the other protected categories such as race or religion. “Good law and sound public policy cannot be built on the shifting sands of the subjective.”
He noted the Canadian Labour Congress has called the biological assignment at birth of babies as male or female as “one of the great myths of our culture.”
He expressed concerns about the determination to replace “the standard notion of sex” with “the more malleable concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Ontario is not the only province looking at imposing this view on society.
Farrow said that Quebec recently issued a white paper that “promises to wipe society clean of both homophobia and heterosexism — that is, of any ‘affirmation of heterosexuality as a social norm or the highest form of sexual orientation (and of any) social practice that conceals the diversity of sexual orientations and identities.”