From the Winnipeg Free Press: Conservative MP Ted Falk said he is “deeply disappointed” that his party helped fast-track a bill that banned conversion therapy before hearing out “concerns” about the ban, the Winnipeg Free Press reported Tuesday.
- Conversion therapy is an abusive and scientifically discredited practice that seeks to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity.
On Dec. 1, the Conservative Party sought unanimous consent in the House of Commons to fast track Bill C-4, which outlawed the practice.
- That move was widely seen as a strategic play that allowed Conservatives to avoid further criticism for failing to support a ban on the abusive practice after dozens of Tory MPs objected to previous versions of the bill.
One (now former) Conservative MP, Tamara Jansen, sparked outrage after quoting a Bible passage that cited “unclean” people during a debate with a gay Liberal MP over a previous version of the bill back in April.
- Falk wrote this week he had concerns about the ban “going too far” and suggested it might impact “the religious freedom of Canadians.”
The Tory MP for Provencher was absent from Ottawa during the most recent parliamentary session because of a requirement that all those who enter the House of Commons be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with exceptions made for those with valid medical reasons for not getting the shot.
- Falk is the only MP not to have declared his vaccination status.
Read the Free Press’ full story here.
From The Maple, Sept. 2, 2021: During the fall federal election, The Maple noted that the prevailing influence of hardline social conservatives in the Tories’ ranks meant that Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s attempts to rebrand his party as more moderate failed to convince policy experts, journalists and, ultimately, the voting public.
- As noted by The Maple in September: “Back in June, social conservatives in O’Toole’s caucus … sparked outrage among LGBTQ+ people and their allies, as 62 Conservative MPs voted against a bill that would criminalize conversion therapy.”
Read The Maple’s full story from September here.
Advocates Express ‘Disappoint And Anger’ As Drug Poisoning Crisis Absent From Ministerial Letters
From CBC News: Advocates warn that the Liberal government’s failure to mention the illicit drug-poisoning crisis in ministerial mandate letters signals a lack of commitment from the feds to addressing the issue, CBC News reported Tuesday.
- Since 2016, almost 25,000 people have died of apparent opioid toxicity deaths in Canada.
Moms Stop The Harm co-founder Petra Shulz told CBC the reaction among members of her group to the Trudeau government’s omission ranged from "disappointment to anger."
- Schulz said: "We had some hope with this ministry. Once again, the real issues are being ignored … If you don't name the problem you can't find the solution."
Read CBC’s full story here.
From The Maple, Aug. 21, 2021: During the federal election, drug-user advocates expressed concern that the illicit drug poisoning crisis was not getting the attention it deserved, and said a nationwide safe drug supply program is urgently needed to stop the fatalities.
- Jeremy Kalicum, a member of the Drug User Liberation Front, told The Maple back in August: “You just need to get people a clean supply of drugs, and nobody's really making progress towards that.”
Kalicum added: “(The Liberal government) have everything within their means to be able to address the crisis, and it's kind of disgusting (for it) to be used as rhetoric instead of actually making change happen.”
- Garth Mullins, a member of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users told The Maple: “We need solutions that aren't like 10 years off of treatment, or attempts to go to recovery beds. We need solutions that will save somebody's life this afternoon.”
Read The Maple’s full story from August here.