Transgender bill a betrayal by Tories - Concerned Christians of Canada
Article Link: - Calgary Beacon
Transgender bill would make violence against transgendered people a hate crime
Stephen Harper's Conservative Party of Canada has betrayed its base of supporters by passing the transgender bill in the House of Commons, say the Concerned Christians of Canada.
Jim Blake, national chairman with the Calgary-based group, says the federal Conservative Party should never have supported the bill that will add transgendered people as a protected group under federal anti-hate and anti-discrimination legislation.
"They seem to have deserted a segment of their voting population - which is social conservatives - by supporting the bill," Blake said in an interview.
The private member's bill brought forward by the NDP, passed a vote Wednesday night, with help from 18 Conservative members who voted in favour - including four cabinet ministers.
"I think there is a sort of betrayal of social conservative values with this trend," Blake said, adding that the Conservative Party of Canada is moving too centrist on some issues.
"I think we crossed over lines here. It all comes down to society just not wanting to take a stand on anything because of the fear of looking somehow prejudice.
"We've really gone too far with this hate speech."
Blake says the consequences of adding gender identity as a protected entity under the Canadian Human Rights Act would not be fully realized until years down the road and could complicate human rights tribunals and open the door to petty hate-crime complaints.
"Why don't we just say everybody has the right to be treated well?" he said. "They should not have threats against their lives because of choices that they are making that are legal and legitimate. But do we have to keep carving up the legislation and making these special groups of people. Or can we just say that people are human beings and worthy of dignity and respect?"
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird voted in favour of the bill, as did Jim Flaherty, Lisa Raitt and James Moore. Prime Minister Stephen Harper opposed it.
Calgary MP Rob Anders vehemently opposed the bill, calling it the "bathroom bill" and suggested passing the legislation would permit pedophiles into public bathrooms and allow men to use female washrooms.
Opposition parties all voted in favour of the bill. NDP MP Randall Garrison called the bill a step forward in protecting transgendered people "from discrimination and hatred based on gender identity."
"Transgendered and transsexual citizens are among the most marginalized and are too often victims of harassment and acts of violence," Garrison said in a release.
Blake says he and the Concerned Christians of Canada are disappointed members of the Conservative Party of Canada would vote in favour of the bill, turning their backs on the core supporters who helped make the party what it is today.
"It is one of the main reasons the Conservative Party exists today," Blake said. "Certainly, there is a fair chunk of social conservatives who continue to vote for and support the Conservative Party of Canada on the basis they believe social conservatism would be represented.
"We're just really tired of social issues being skirted off to the side and not even really being given fair debate."
Bill 279 still has to be approved by the Senate.