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Results: 1 - 15 of 171
View Derek Sloan Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, last week I hosted a parliamentary press conference on the censorship of Canadian doctors and medical experts. Their testimony was truly shocking.
Unfortunately, Facebook stopped my livestream in mid-conference. Despite this, the full press conference is now the most viewed video in history on CPAC's YouTube channel, with over 500,000 views. However, Facebook and Twitter are still restricting the sharing of this video on their platforms.
Given the importance to democracy of Canadians seeing official parliamentary functions, does the minister denounce this censorship by big tech?
View Derek Sloan Profile
Ind. (ON)
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. As I mentioned in my question, I had a parliamentary press conference that was censored by Facebook. People have reached out to me to say that they are unable to share it. That is problematic. Anything that goes on in the House should be able to be shared freely by Canadians.
I would like to seek unanimous consent for the following motion: That the House recognize that the House of Commons itself and the Parliament of Canada are a bastion of democracy and free speech; that members of Parliament enjoy special parliamentary privileges overseeing their ability to speak freely in Parliament, to discharge their duties freely and without constraint; that any Canadian seeking to share digital content of parliamentary functions should be able to do so freely and without constraint; that the government must strongly defend the rights of parliamentarians against the outside interference of social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter; and I call on the government to recognize that any potential suppression of information or censorship of parliamentary events, such as official press conferences, must not be allowed to happen and to officially sanction Facebook and Twitter for their actions.
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
2021-06-22 15:33 [p.8985]
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to comment on the recently released report of the Ethics Commissioner. My intention is not to comment on his conclusion and recommendations, but rather to help put the situation in context.
The past many months have been difficult, to say the least, for me and my family. They have indeed been a struggle, and I am grateful to family, friends, colleagues and individual Canadians who have supported me through this ordeal.
I would like to thank the thousands of supporters who have believed in me and encouraged me to stay strong. I would also like to thank the various multi-faith groups and ecumenical groups that I have worked with, the constituents of Don Valley East and the numerous well-wishers for their support. As well, I would like to thank the senators and MPs who have stood by me and guided me.
As I read through the report, something very obvious jumped out at me. It gave me reason to pause. With the encouragement of many Muslim scholars and ecumenical friends, I have decided to speak in the House.
The Ethics Commissioner's report states, “Ms. Khatri was not considered a family member for the purposes of the Code.” He says the evidence gathered is that “Ms. Khatri is in fact her foster sister", and that Ms. Khatri is neither my biological nor adopted sister.
He further goes on to state:
Ms. Ratansi did not appear to have furthered her own private interests or those of a member of her family since the Code does not include siblings in its definition of “family members.”
She submits that the documentary evidence provided shows that there is no legal bond between her and Ms. Khatri, including for the purposes of the By-law...[and the] relationship falls outside the applicable definitions in the Code and the By-law as presently worded.
Further on he states that the code is ambiguous and that “as a principle of natural justice, the applicable provisions should be given their narrow meaning.” He also states:
...if the provisions defining ‘immediate family’ are not clear and unequivocal, then any ambiguity should be resolved in favour of the person who is the subject of the inquiry.
I accept Ms. Ratansi’s...claim, as well as her argument that Ms. Khatri, as her foster sister, may not legally be considered as her sister or, by the same token, qualify as a member of her “immediate family” within the meaning of the By-law.
However, since I refer to Ms. Khatri as a sister in keeping with Islamic cultural practices and my father's personal wishes, he concludes that, despite all evidence to the contrary, she is a sister.
Many Muslim scholars, my interfaith community and members of the Muslim community have called me and asked me to provide some reference to Islamic practices.
What does Islam teach about the treatment of orphans?
Calling someone a “brother” or “sister” is a dignified way of referring to other Muslims who are not related, especially when dealing with orphans. My moral and ethical conduct is underpinned by these Islamic values and practices, and as such, I believe that when we house an orphan or a guest of any denomination, that human being is accorded the same dignity and treatment as that of a brother or sister and is addressed as such. This is particularly important in the case of orphans. It maintains their dignity and avoids social taboos.
Anyone who has interacted with Muslims knows that one is referred to as a sister or a brother as part of Islamic ethos. Therefore, my supporters felt that, within the current context of Islamophobia and a misunderstanding of Islam, I should provide some insight into Islamic norms.
The community members have also proposed that decision-makers at different levels of Parliament be sensitized to the culture, traditions and ethos of Islam, which, as an Abrahamic faith, is not well understood. I hope the information I impart will enable people to make informed decisions in the future.
To help understand how important it was for my father to inculcate the Islamic ethos, I will quote some Hadiths, or sayings, of the holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. He said, “The best house among the Muslims is one which contains an orphan who is well treated. The worst house among the Muslims is one which contains an orphan who is badly treated.”
The prophet goes on to say, “One who looks after the orphan, whether he is his relative or not, he and I would be together in paradise like this”, and he brought his index finger and middle fingers together.
I found similar sentiments being expressed in the Old Testament and the New Testament saying that God has mandated that caring for the orphan be an important act of charity and a holy duty.
In Islam, an orphaned child has a very important place. There are multiple verses of the noble Quran where the almighty Allah talks about treating orphans. One has to look at chapter 2, Surah Al-Baqarah; chapter 4, Surah An-Nisa; and chapter 17, Surah Al-Isra, where Allah enjoins upon believers to be kind to the orphan and look after them as their own children, to be a merciful father toward the orphan, and to be good to orphans and never treat them harshly.
In societies in which the values of the Quran are not observed, this concept may be foreign. It is therefore important to appreciate how Muslims view the treatment of orphans. Believers take the issue of the treatment of orphans very seriously as Allah prohibits subjecting orphans to harsh treatment and condemns those who mistreat them.
My late father instilled in us these very important Islamic values, including treating every human being as a brother or sister in faith or in humanity, showing compassion, always maintaining the dignity of another human being, and ensuring that we strive to improve the situation in life of orphans and bring them up as decent individuals. This is who I am. I will not demean anyone's dignity.
Calling Ms. Khatri a sister is a privilege that I cherish and that Islam has taught me. I would never give these Islamic principles up, no matter the misinformation, the slander and the media circus. Despite Ms. Khatri's agreeing to provide the Ethics Commissioner with proof of her relationship to me, I would like to personally apologize to her for the indignity this particular incident has caused her.
As for those who slander, there are many verses in the Quran and in all Abrahamic traditions that say that, for those who slander and throw ridicule, God will throw it back to them.
A further lesson provided is that of the eagle and raven. The raven is the only bird that dares to peck at the eagle's neck. However, the eagle does not react. It does not fight back. It does not spend time and energy with the raven. Instead, it opens up its wings and begins to fly higher in the sky. The higher the flight, the harder it is for the raven to breathe, and the raven eventually falls to the ground due to lack of oxygen.
We as parliamentarians face many ravens, internal and external. As we try to do our jobs to better the lives of our constituents and Canadians, let us be like the eagles and fly high and avoid the temptation of the slanderous ravens. I encourage members to stop wasting time with the ravens. Just take them to our height, and they will fade away. I have personally taken this advice very seriously. As I continue to serve my constituents, I know that the ravens will lose oxygen and fade away.
My sincere hope is that this short exposé to Islamic practices and cultures will enable us to be better parliamentarians and put our words into practice. We as Canadians claim diversity is our strength, but when faced with diversity, we have yet to learn how to incorporate it into our decision-making process. I hope that my speaking here today may in some small way contribute to changing this, and, in the future, that if anyone is ever in the same position as I was, they will be judged differently.
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
Ind. (ON)
View Yasmin Ratansi Profile
2021-06-21 15:09 [p.8855]
Mr. Speaker, a recent report by the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group says that a secretive division of the CRA is unfairly targeting Muslim charities with audits amounting to discrimination. The report found that 75% of the charities audited and whose status was revoked were Muslim charities, despite them representing only 0.47% of the overall sector.
Could the minister explain what is being done to stop this harassment?
View Derek Sloan Profile
Ind. (ON)
Madam Speaker, the member mentioned the Keira Bell case in the United Kingdom. That is very important.
I want to ask the member about some of the guidance we heard from expert psychologists and psychiatrists at committee. They were concerned that this bill would foster an affirmation-only process that would put some kids on a one-track road to affirmation, which leads to chemical hormone-blocking treatments and maybe even surgery. If the member could expand on that, I would appreciate it.
View Derek Sloan Profile
Ind. (ON)
Madam Speaker, it is a privilege to rise on this issue. I understand that the opinions to counter this bill are not as numerous as the opinions in favour of it, but they are nonetheless no less important.
When I was watching the debate ensue at committee, I was not a part of the committee, but as an interested parliamentarian, I watched all of it. The debate with respect to witnesses and so forth was rather even-handed. I did not count the number of witnesses who raised concerns, versus those who were in favour of it, but there were plenty of professionals and other individual people who brought up real situations which would be technically against the letter of the law according to this, but I think we would all agree are legitimate concerns. I just want to, as best as I can, address those today. Ten minutes is not sufficient for that, but I will do my very best. Of course, time is lacking to do much of what we need to do in this House.
I am in support of a ban on harmful counselling. There are many other jurisdictions, governments and cities around the world that have banned conversion therapy, but in a different way. They have different definitions that are far less broad. Of course, many of them, if not all, outside of a few, are not criminal in nature. I think it is problematic when we have a very broad definition that is also criminal because we want to ban harmful courses of practice, but we do not want to put people in jail who, frankly, do not deserve to be there.
As others have raised before, we want to be entirely certain that what we are targeting is, in fact, the evil that we are looking to target and not be overbroad in that ban. I am a little bit concerned that the assumptions that underpin this bill are faulty. When not all, but some of the assumptions are faulty we can be led astray. I just want to take issue with some of them.
The first is the myth that Bill C-6's definition of conversion therapy accurately identifies treatments that will be harmful and does so in a way that is not overbroad. I think, of course, that there are abusive practices out there and I think that we should aim to ban them, but what Bill C-6 has done here is to basically, in my view, when looking at the definition, outlaw any validated form of talk therapy for Canadians wishing to deal with various issues related to sexual attraction and gender identity. For those who would like to look into the proceedings of the committee, there are many examples of very credible witnesses who have gone through circumstances where they needed counselling to address certain things and their stories are credible. I do not have time to go through them all, but members can look at them.
I also want to say that with respect to transgender identification, particularly in children, there is a conversation going on globally right now that we are missing in this debate on Bill C-6.
In the U.K., the Government Equalities Office for example, is looking into whether the influence of social media and the discussion of gender identity with young people have contributed to the striking increase in referrals. When I get into some of the data here on the striking increase, I think we could all agree that there is something here that needs to be looked at. In the last 10 years, in the United Kingdom, which mirrors data from other countries, we have seen referrals to these gender clinics skyrocket. We have seen them increase by about 1,000% for boys and 4,400% for biological females.
These exponential rises, as I have said, are increasing in other western nations as well. We heard one of the members earlier speak about the United Kingdom High Court ruling with respect to Keira Bell. Keira Bell is one of the young women who was referred to the Tavistock institute, which is the clinic there that deals with gender referrals for gender identity. She was told that, if she went through the process, she would feel better about herself, so she went on to hormone blockers. She had a double mastectomy. She spent several years living, outwardly looking like a man, and she came to regret it. She was in her early twenties. She took the Tavistock institute to court saying she was not in a position where she could consent to this treatment, but was basically told that this would be the answer she needed to her life. It did not make anything better and, in fact, it made a lot of things worse.
The court ruled that people under 16 could likely not consent to puberty-blocking treatments. This bill does the opposite. This bill says that if someone wants to put their child on hormone blockers or if they want to basically put them on the road to surgery, that is totally fine, but to give them the wrong type of counselling could get them in trouble.
Some people would say that there is a clause in the bill that allows people to explore. However, the fact is we heard from very competent professionals in committee that this clause would not be enough, when there is potentially a five-year jail term hanging over people's head.
We heard from Ken Zucker, an internationally renowned expert in gender identity. He was basically working with our clinic here, CAMH, for decades. He is internationally renowned in this field. He has literally written the book on how to treat gender identity in children. He was accused of conversion therapy a few years ago. He was fired from his position, summarily. He had the wherewithal and the resources to take his employer to court. He won a substantial settlement. He cleared his name.
This is the type of thing that we are seeing, before Bill C-6. If this is the sort of witch hunt environment we are seeing before Bill C-6, it is going to increase significantly with Bill C-6.
Other than the U.K., we are seeing other countries in Europe, Sweden and Finland, have gone even a step further. They are moving away from what is called affirmation-only models of care, which I suggest is what Bill C-6 is, this is what other professionals in committee said about this bill. In Sweden and Finland, they are saying there must be a sober second look when a child identifies as transgender. A sober second look is the very thing that I believe Bill would criminalize.
Bill C-6 would criminalize parents who want to discourage their young child from transitioning, who would not be making life-altering decisions. I do not believe it is hateful for a parent to make a decision based on accurate medical facts.
When it comes to transgender identification in children, reliable data indicates the vast majority of kids who identify as another gender would grow out of it, meaning by the time they become an adult, many of up them, up to 80% according to some studies, will identify or accept the body they were born with. I think that given data like that, we really need to give a lot of room here for kids to explore but not to push them on this one-track mode of puberty blockers and eventually surgery. This is what is being criticized by people like Keira Bell.
I read an article in the National Post a year or so ago by Barbara Kay that highlighted the story of a young girl, JB is the acronym used, a child who is currently involved in an application in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. This involves a teacher in an Ottawa area school who told this six year-old that girls do not exist. This six-year-old was a happy, loving young girl. I have a seven-year-old, a six-year-old and a five-year-old. The seven- and five-year-olds are girls.
This six-year-old became distraught, withdrawn and depressed. She did not understand what it meant. The parents asked the teacher if she could just cool it on some of these ethereal gender theory comments. The teacher and administration refused to do this, and the parents had to take that girl out of that school. They moved her to a different school, and have taken this particular school board to court.
The girl is once again a happy, well-adjusted young girl. It just goes to show that we have to be careful what we are putting into the minds of our young children. What the U.K. high court case found is that once these kids were put onto these drugs, the hormone blockers, it pretty much puts them on the road to surgery. It is kind of like a one-track street.
We need to be very careful. We need to have a sober second look in this country.
There are in fact many people, even in LGB communities, who are against this bill. I will read an email I received. It said:
Dear Mr. Derek Sloan,
As a Lesbian, I am asking you to investigate the use of gender identity in bill C-6. Approximately 75% of trans identifying youth will grow up to be gay or lesbian, if not affirmed and medically transitioned. This bill, as written, ensures that these gay and lesbian youth will be medically transitioned into straight adults.
She goes on to say:
Please protect vulnerable Gay and Lesbian youth from being told that they are“born in the wrong body” and told they should transition to feel “right” and to “fit in”. Sincerely...
View Derek Sloan Profile
Ind. (ON)
Madam Speaker, I noted that as well. I also noted some members of the other parties, I believe a member from the Bloc Québécois, also said that we should spend a little time on them, even just out of respect for the people who submitted these briefs.
The member is right, and I think there were about 300 or so that came in. They came in at the last minute and there was not enough time to have them translated, so the committee finished its work on this bill without even looking at those briefs. That is problematic. It shows there was a lot of interest in this bill, and we owe it to Canadians to have spent the time to look at it.
View Derek Sloan Profile
Ind. (ON)
Madam Speaker, one thing that struck me about the debate on this bill, and of course this was not reflected in committee, although I think in committee there was a balanced discussion on many of the issues, was that right now there is a conversation going on around the world with respect to transgender identification in children. I heard some members talk about the fact that a small percentage of the people who transition have regrets.
We are on the tipping point of a big iceberg of regret, because back 10 years or 20 years ago, the funnel for who experienced surgery with respect to transgender changes was a lot narrower. We are seeing, as I said earlier, this meteoric rise in identification. We are seeing an increase of 1,000% for men and 4,400% for young girls. We are seeing a U.K. government office do research into why we are seeing this, so I think the tip of the iceberg of regret is just on the horizon.
View Derek Sloan Profile
Ind. (ON)
Madam Speaker, that question brings up the issue of what exactly our definition covers. With respect to that particular situation, I have personally spoken to the man who underwent what happened in Kingston. I am not aware of the other cases, but I am talking about the main person who was testifying at city council.
With his particular situation, he was basically prayed over in a very public manner and advised to take a three-day fast. These are things none of us would maybe agree to or advise, but when we take a look at what happened to this person, do we believe the religious leaders of this church should go to jail for five years? They prayed over an 18-year-old who was requesting prayer at the time. Now, apparently they embarrassed him, and of course I do not agree with that, but is it worth a five-year jail sentence?
These are the questions we need to answer. When I was speaking to the minister earlier in this session, I said that the Canadian Psychological Association has prayer in its definition and asked if this would ban prayer. I was told it would not.
View Jody Wilson-Raybould Profile
Ind. (BC)
Mr. Speaker, I had my hand up for the previous vote and I was not acknowledged by the Speaker.
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