Are apologies enough when a political leader refuses to represent some Canadians?

May 3, 2021

Are apologies enough when a political leader refuses to represent some Canadians? Just what is “lesbian activity”? I’m asking for a friend.

Getting a short, hawk haircut? Listening to k.d. lang? Sharing a beer with a “friend”? Are these “lesbian activities”?

Here’s an activity that doesn’t fall into the basket of “lesbian activity.” Trashing the human rights of others. That seems to align with the ultra-right mob in Canada. Conservative MP Tamara Jansen who not only used her MP stage to condemn lesbians (however, not gays, so apparently you’re all okay guys!), but doubled down to share some obscure scripture verses to make her case.

This is about Bill C-6, an Act to amend the Criminal Code (which would ban conversion therapy). It’s about time that Canada outlawed this thing which is used to attempt to force an individual to be straight rather than LGBTQ2S. This bill is about human rights. Conversion therapy is not therapy, it should be called something like forced gender identity torture. Coerced gender expression and orientation persecution. It is not any kind of therapy.

Why would anyone attempt to forcibly change another human’s identity? Apparently when it doesn’t fit an ideology. Some of the same MPs who voted against Bill C-6 also voted against C-16 in 2016 which added gender identity or expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act. Thankfully, Bill C-16 also clearly noted that discrimination against transgender Canadians is illegal. Every MP who voted against Bill C-6 except one are from rural ridings, and this same group and more also voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples.

What is it about enshrining human rights that scares some MPs, most notably Conservatives? How is that human rights enshrined on the world stage, such as UNDRIP, are somehow deemed immoral by some? What is going on in some parts of rural Canada that maintains such visceral resistance to LGBTQ2S rights and Indigenous rights?

When I ask these questions “for a friend,” I mean me. I’m asking.

I don’t need anybody nor the state to tell me that I have the right to be First Nation—Tlingit to be exact. Nobody can give this to me, nor take it away. I don’t need anybody nor the state to tell me that I have the right to be Two-Spirit, it is simply who I am. I do, however, demand the same protection from discrimination and racism as every other Canadian.

There are LGBTQ2S Canadians in MP Jansen’s riding. There are Indigenous peoples in ridings of MPs who vote against their interests routinely. When a political leader refuses to represent all Canadians in her or his riding, what should be the consequence? There should be consequences because when a perceived leader questions the rights of a minority, goes that inch across the line, her or his followers go a mile over the line.

Hatred grows on the words of political leaders who question the rights of minorities. Hatred thrives in the silence of political leaders who don’t speak up for the rights of all citizens. As an aside, it is truly ironic that the same people who demand to limit the rights of others are the same people who are found screaming about their rights not to wear masks.

When political leaders put the rights and safety of others at risk, what is the consequence? Here’s one Canadian voting citizen who believes an apology is not enough.

If there was a vote today on the Canada’s Human Rights Act with not a single word changed, some of your MPs would vote against it. Again.