Trans Rights Passes but its Fate is Uncertain

Yesterday’s excellent news in Canada turns into today’s Tory horror show. The Globe and Mail predicts that the transgendered-rights bill is headed for defeat in the Tory-held Senate. Bill C-389 would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to protect the rights of transgendered or transsexual citizens. It would prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression” in the workplace or elsewhere, and would amend the Criminal Code to make crimes committed against people because they are transgendered or transsexual a hate crime.

Bill C-389 was a Private Member’s bill, sponsored by NDP MP Bill Siksay. Normally private members have little chance of passing but what was remarkable in this case that MPs from all parties, including several Conservatives, rallied behind the legislation. But Canada’s Conservatives, who have a majority in the Red Chamber, have adopted the tactic of using the Senate to block private-members’ bills passed by the House of Commons that don’t accord with the government’s agenda.

For example legislation to force the government to act on climate change was defeated last year, while bills requiring Supreme Court judges to be bilingual, providing tax credits for university graduates who work in certain regions and offering restitution for Italian Canadians interned during the Second World War, lie in limbo.

Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper does not support the transgendered-rights legislation, it will doubtless face similar purgatory when it arrives in the Senate.

Most of this story is from the Globe and Mail article. You can read more from The Globe and Mail, , including what the bill’s crazy critics have to say, here. A commentary supporting the bill was also published in the Globe and Mail.

7 thoughts on “Trans Rights Passes but its Fate is Uncertain

  1. Yeah, it’s just depressing. The only thing that alleviates my feelings is that when I told my partner critics call it “the bathroom bill,” he did that awesome disgusted-outrage thing he does, which is why I love him. Moral indignation is best when amplified by someone dishy.

  2. Like I said in the other thread, it boggles my mind that our (unelected) Senate somehow managed to steal for itself enough power to defeat bills passed by a plurality of our elected representatives. They’re only supposed to be able to delay implementation, not reject it outright. This is bullshit. I’ve had enough.

  3. I’m realising that I don’t know much about how Canada’s government works. How is the senate chosen?

  4. No. They have to retire at 75. Here’s the wikipedia blurb: “The governor general holds the power to appoint senators, although, in modern practice, he or she makes appointments only on the advice of the prime minister. Senators originally held their seats for life; however, under the British North America Act, 1965 (now known as the Constitution Act, 1965), members, save for those appointed prior to the change, may not sit in the Senate after reaching the age of 75. Prime ministers normally choose members of their own parties to be senators, though they sometimes nominate independents or members of opposing parties. In practice, a large number of the members of the Senate are ex-Cabinet ministers, ex-provincial premiers, and other eminent people.”

    A very helpful government website is here,

    37 out of 105 are women.

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