As our final roundup of the 40th Parliament continues, I spoke to Bill Siksay about his final days in Parliament yesterday after question period.
Q: I would ask if you were ready to go, but I guess I’ll ask if you’re ready to leave?
A: I have to say I have mixed feelings about it all. It’s been a real privilege to be here; it’s been a real privilege to be the representative of my home community, Burnaby-Douglas, but also the queer community in the House. There’s lots of work still to be done. We’re not done yet in terms of that, so it feels like there’s unfinished stuff, but at the same time it’s been a long career for me, so I am looking forward to a change at the same time. So I’ve got mixed feelings.
Q: In terms of unfinished business, I guess C-389 would be your biggest one?
A: That’s a pretty key one, and it’s been a long project. It would have been nice to see it make it all the way through both Houses, but unfortunately it looks like that’s not going to happen. But it’s still significant that it passed in the House. That has real value to people in the community who know there are a majority of elected representatives who appreciate their circumstances and agree that explicit protection under human rights law is necessary for transsexual and transgendered Canadians. Hopefully that will be of use in other places; hopefully it’ll be of use in commissions and tribunals and maybe in the court system, that the House of Commons did support that change. I’m hopeful that in a new Parliament, maybe with a different government, a government will sponsor that change and get it through both places. I have to say, as a New Democrat, it does raise feelings for me about an unelected House of Parliament having the ability to stop the process. It didn’t get through there, but it should be law because it was passed by the elected representatives of the Canadian people.
Q: Any other things that you would have liked to have done before you’d gone?
A: I had an interest in peace issues, in nuclear disarmament. It would have been nice to follow up on the unanimous motion that went through the House on nuclear disarmament and push Canada further toward participating in negotiations on a nuclear weapons convention. I had an interest in the security certificate process – it would have been great to pursue the abolition of the security certificate provisions of the Immigration Act. There are lots of specific issues related to immigration policy that I’m interested in. The work that I’m doing at the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics on open government and open data I would love to be able to finish up on and pursue further, so there are all kinds of specific issues.
Here’s a video of Siksay’s farewell speech in the House.