Toronto Diary
1 min

Canadian trans rights bill stalled in Senate

At this point, many assume that the inclusion of transgender rights under Canadian anti-discrimination laws is going to happen. The big question now, however, is when exactly the hell they're going to get around to it.

Despite the fact that the proposed legislation has enough backers to pass the Senate, The Globe and Mail reports that the bill will probably be held back for another couple of months due to a possible speech from the throne from Stephen Harper and a proposed amendment specifically for women.

If Prime Minister Stephen Harper prorogues Parliament to deliver a new Speech from the Throne as expected in the fall, the bill will get rolled back to first-reading in the Senate again.

“The Senate should have passed this, and it’s disappointing that the transgender community is going to have to wait months again now unnecessarily for them to do this, but I still expect them to pass the bill,” said the bill’s sponsor, New Democrat MP Randall Garrison.

[…] Complicating matters even more is an amendment to the bill proposed by Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth. She complained that gender alone was not included in the Criminal Code section on hate, and she wants women to be specifically protected too.

Should Nancy Ruth’s amendment pass, the bill would have to go back to the Commons for a vote on the altered version.

I understand that bureaucracy demands that everything be put through the most anal-retentive gauntlet imaginable, but fuck the what here? It's one thing to be fastidious — and you need to be when you're dealing with federal legislature and such — but the language of the bill prohibits "promotion of hatred or the incitement of genocide" against someone based on gender identity. Genocide. If there's one word that should make senators' robot brains shriek "ERROR! ERROR!" it's genocide. Let's get on that one soon, shall we?

In all fairness, an effective system of checks and balances is put into place to keep us from acting out of emotion, which has a habit of justifying things we'd otherwise disagree with, and it ensures that all the possible loose ends and loopholes are sealed shut. That being said, it really wouldn't kill you to expediate things here just a touch.