1 min

Justin Trudeau chats with Xtra ahead of Toronto Centre by-election

Liberal leader talks about LGBT issues in Canada and abroad

In our exclusive interview, Justin Trudeau talks about HIV/AIDS criminalization, LGBT refugees and his failure to vote on Bill C-279.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he missed the vote on the gender identity bill, C-279, because he was in the middle of a leadership campaign.

“Yes, I missed a few votes, including some that were important, but my stance on support of trans issues and LGBTQ issues in general is unflinching,” Trudeau says.

It’s the same reason he missed the vote about sending generic HIV medications to Africa last year.

“I have long supported the CAMR bill; I believe in our responsibility to be fighting disease around the world . . . but obviously, my job is to try and connect with Canadians and talk about these issues out across the country.”

Bill C-398, an NDP private member’s bill that would have reformed Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR) to make it easier to get Canadian generic medicines to developing countries, was defeated in the House of Commons last year.

In April, Trudeau told Xtra that he looked at the votes and decided to skip them only after he was certain that they would pass by sizable margins.

Both votes ended up coming down to nail-biting conclusions, although the margins were larger than one vote. The trans-rights bill passed 149 to 137, while the drugs-to-Africa bill failed, with 141 in favour and 148 opposed.

Xtra chatted with Trudeau Nov 18 while he was in Toronto campaigning with Chrystia Freeland, the Liberal candidate in the Toronto Centre by-election, which will be held Mon, Nov 25.

The candidates will participate in a debate on Wednesday, Nov 20 at Jarvis Collegiate.