Hansard
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 31 - 45 of 25633
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
We have one last question.
The hon. member for Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne.
View Sherry Romanado Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, my aunt and her partner have built a beautiful family and a life together. There is nothing wrong with them, and I would not change them for the world. Could the minister share how this bill will help young people in the LGBTQ2 community find the same happiness that my aunts have found?
View Bardish Chagger Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Bardish Chagger Profile
2021-04-16 10:39 [p.5735]
Madam Speaker, that member has the courage to share a bit about her family and allow us to enter into her private life. Many people have looked into their families and how this legislation would impact them. Young people are not only our leaders of tomorrow, they are the leaders of today. They need to be their true, authentic selves and we have to support them.
The legislation is one step closer to every individual being able to contribute in a meaningful way and to be proud of the shell that he or she occupies. When we—
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Resuming debate, the hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2021-04-16 10:40 [p.5735]
Madam Speaker, I would seek unanimous consent to split my time with my colleague, the member for South Surrey—White Rock.
View Alexandra Mendès Profile
Lib. (QC)
Does the hon. member have unanimous consent?
Hearing no objection, the hon. member has consent.
The hon. member for St. Albert—Edmonton.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2021-04-16 10:40 [p.5735]
Madam Speaker, it is an honour to speak to Bill C-6, an act to amend the Criminal Code to ban conversion therapy.
Let me say at the outset that conversion therapy is absurd. It is wrong, and it is harmful. Conversion therapy should be banned. Individuals who perpetrate such harmful acts and seek to coercively change someone's sexual orientation or sexual identity should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law under the penalty of the Criminal Code. I unequivocally support the purported objective of this legislation, which is why I voted for Bill C-6 at second reading.
I did so notwithstanding the fact that I did have some concerns with the manner in which the bill was drafted. In particular, I had concerns that the definition of conversion therapy was vague and overly broad, and that it could capture not only those circumstances that involve coercive, abusive or otherwise harmful efforts to change someone's sexual orientation or identity, but could also more broadly encapsulate such things as good-faith conversations.
Nonetheless, because I unequivocally support the purported objective of the bill, I was hopeful, as a member of the justice committee, that we could come together at committee to study the bill in detail, hear from a wide range of witnesses and bring forward appropriate amendments where necessary to get the definition right.
It goes without saying that if we are to carve out any law in the Criminal Code to ban conversion therapy, it is absolutely imperative that we get the definition right. At committee, many of the concerns I had with the way in which the bill had been drafted were expressed by a wide range of witnesses, including members of the LGBTQ community, lawyers, medical professionals and members of the clergy.
More specifically, with respect to the definition and some of the issues that arise therefrom, I would first of all note that in the bill, conversion therapy is defined as any “practice, treatment or service”. These terms are not defined anywhere in the Criminal Code, and it should be noted that nowhere in the bill are these terms qualified in order to provide the context in which the practice, treatment or service would apply. Although these terms are found in parts of the Criminal Code, they are not stand-alone terms as they are in Bill C-6.
It is true that the term “treatment” connotes a therapeutic context. However, “practice” or “service” could, without qualification, involve just about any activity. For example, a “practice” could involve a good-faith conversation, and “service” could involve a voluntary counselling session or a religious sermon.
I was concerned that witnesses were expressing concern about the lack of clarity with respect to those terms, but in addition to that, the definition, as provided in Bill C-6, provides that it would ban any practice, treatment or service designed to reduce sexual attraction or sexual behaviour.
The definition is clearly expansive. It goes beyond a clear and targeted definition. Without any qualification, it could arguably include counselling sessions or other supports provided on a voluntary basis by medical professionals and other professionals. It could, arguably, capture good-faith conversations between persons struggling with their sexual identity and medical professionals, parents and other family members, religious leaders and others.
It is important to note that this definition of conversion therapy is not used by any professional body. It is not used by the Canadian Psychiatric Association, the Canadian Psychological Association or their American counterparts. In the face of that ambiguity, which was supported by witness testimony, Conservatives sought to bring forward amendments to get the definition right.
Now, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth and other members of the government have repeatedly said that the bill before us would not target voluntary, good-faith conversations. I do not doubt their sincerity when they say that is what they believe. Consistent with that, the website of the Department of Justice states the same.
However, what matters not is the minister's interpretation of the bill. What matters not is what is on the website of the Department of Justice. What matters is, in fact, what is in the bill, which is why Conservatives brought forward an amendment to simply incorporate into the bill the very language that was provided on the website of the Department of Justice. Such language would have provided certainty. It would have provided clarity that good-faith and voluntary conversations would not be the subject of the imposition of criminal charges laid against persons.
Let me be clear that it is a fundamental requirement of the rule of law that a person should be able to know and predict whether a particular act constitutes a crime. Here we have a definition that is vague and overly broad, and therefore is at risk of contravening fundamental justice. It could be deemed contrary to section 7 of the charter as a result.
In closing, the government's intention is a good one, and the intent of the bill is a good one, but it is important that we get the definition right. I am concerned that we have not achieved that in the bill before us.
View Mark Gerretsen Profile
Lib. (ON)
Madam Speaker, if I understand correctly, the member supports the ban on conversion therapy; however, he is hung up on the definition of three individual words, which could be very easily found in any Webster's dictionary, to provide context as to what they mean. Is that what the member is trying to tell this House?
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2021-04-16 10:50 [p.5736]
Madam Speaker, with respect to the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands, it appears he did not listen carefully to my speech.
I noted, yes, that I had concerns with the terms “practice”, “treatment” and “service”, but I also noted concerns about the definition including the reduction of sexual attraction or sexual behaviour. There were many LGBTQ witnesses who appeared before committee who said that they were concerned this would make it illegal or create a chilling effect on counselling services and supports that they have relied on and that have helped them in their development and identity.
View Christine Normandin Profile
BQ (QC)
View Christine Normandin Profile
2021-04-16 10:51 [p.5736]
Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
I understand his concerns about the clarity of the bill's wording, but I wonder if he might take comfort in the fact that, when judges are called to interpret it, in order to exclude good faith conversations, they will also refer to parliamentary work and the debates for context.
Does my colleague take comfort in that?
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2021-04-16 10:51 [p.5736]
Madam Speaker, it is absolutely essential that, when we draft legislation, we ensure that it is targeted toward demonstrated harms. We should not wait for a judge to interpret it or hope that a judge will interpret the law the way we hope a judge would do in the face of vague and overly broad language, and on a matter that can involve five years behind bars upon conviction.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
View Jack Harris Profile
2021-04-16 10:52 [p.5736]
Madam Speaker, I hear the hon. member profess that he agrees that conversion therapy should be banned and banned criminally, yet he is concerning himself with the definitions about what counselling might mean. Leading lawyers and other people involved, including the Canadian Association of Social Workers and others, have said that good-faith counselling sessions and good-faith therapy would not be covered by this ban.
Is the hon. member just looking for an excuse to fail to pass this bill at third reading?
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2021-04-16 10:53 [p.5736]
Madam Speaker, with respect to the member for St. John's East, I voted for this bill at second reading. I heard the testimony of witnesses at the justice committee, in which there were significant concerns expressed. We worked to include language to provide that clarity.
I do not know why the government did not support such language because, had such language been incorporated, I believe we could have this bill pass this place with unanimous support or something very close to it. It is unfortunate that opportunity was missed.
View Joël Godin Profile
CPC (QC)
Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from St. Albert—Edmonton and I would like to hear his thoughts on the fact that I share his concerns.
We agree on the principles of the bill. I think we need to be more inclusive. However, we do not want this to be rushed through and botched this time, as we have come to expect from the Liberals.
Could my colleague comment on the possibility of working with members of the Senate to come up with a definition and clarify this legislation from the outset rather than putting the onus on judges, so we can avoid any potential excesses?
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
View Michael Cooper Profile
2021-04-16 10:54 [p.5736]
Madam Speaker, the member for Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier is absolutely right that it is important that we get the definition right. Surely, we want this legislation to pass constitutional muster, and a piece of legislation that has a definition that is vague and overly broad is at risk of a charter challenge, at risk of being found to contravene fundamental justice and at risk of being found to contravene section 7 of the charter.
I had hoped that this would not be the case and that we could have gotten it right, so that we could have a law on the books that would stand.
Results: 31 - 45 of 25633 | Page: 3 of 1709

|<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data