The federal government tabled a new, tougher bill to ban conversion therapy in Canada on Monday, Nov. 29, with Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison saying he’s pleased with how the proposed bill tightens up the legal side of the ban, making it easier to convict people who are involved in the practice.
“In my opinion, it’s way better than bill C-6,” said Morrison.
However, Morrison says that he does not support the practice, pointing out that he did vote to pass the initial bill C-6 on first and second readings, but that he felt the bill lacked clarity and that it was needlessly politicized.
“I 100 per cent support the community, I am 100 per cent against conversion therapy and I will be voting for banning conversion therapy,” he said.
Bill C-4 seeks to amend the Criminal Code to ban conversion therapy for all ages across the country. Conversion therapy is an umbrella term for harmful practices seeking to change someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation. The new bill replaces Bill C-6, which died on the table when Parliament was prorogued on Aug. 15.
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, the House of Commons unanimously agreed to pass Bill C-4 and fast-track the process after a Conservative motion, meaning it would by-pass all usual stages without study or amendment and proceed straight to senate.
The motion means that Bill C-4 is the first bill to pass the House in the 44th parliament.
“In my opinion, [with bill C-6], it was gonna be really hard to convict anyone, and I’m of the opinion that anybody involved in conversion therapy should be in prison,” said Morrison.
“I’m very pleased to say that what I’ve read through, it seems to be addressing my concerns that I had before.”
The new bill adds to the previous bill, which only banned conversion therapy for children and unconsenting adults.
“It’s not just under-18 and young adults that can be involved in conversion therapy,” he added.
He believes the new bill targets the right people and that voluntary conversation that parents have with their kids are still able to happen. Morrison said back in June that he felt “voluntary conversations between individuals and their teachers, school counsellors, pastoral counsellors, faith leaders, doctors, mental-health professionals, friends or family members” should not be criminalized.
Morrison says that he welcomes comments and concerns from his constituents and that anyone who wishes to reach out to him can do so by calling his office at 250-417-2250 or toll free at 800-668-552, or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is the third time the federal government has attempted to ban conversion therapy. Bill C-4 is the most comprehensive bill the Liberals have tabled on conversion therapy to date.
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has said that he will once again allow his caucus to have a free vote on a government bill seeking to ban conversion therapy.