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Ottawa Centre queer debate

Stances on gender identity and harm reduction show clear division between candidates

QUEER DEBATE. Will Murray (NDP), Yasir Naqvi (Liberal), and Trina Morissette (PC) answered questions from the audience during the three-hour debate. Credit: Xtra.ca photo

Ottawa Centre provincial election candidates debated queer issues at a forum on Sep 14 organized by Capital Xtra, Egale and Capital Pride.

Audience members and event organizers questioned the candidates on a variety of queer issues, including trans rights, harm reduction and funding of religious schools.

Trans activist Shannon Blatt asked the three candidates if they would sign a petition to add gender identity to the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Trina Morissette, the PC candidate, did not sign Blatt’s petition.

“I can’t sign something I don’t have all the information on. You come to my office — I will be more than happy to go over this with you,” she said.

Will Murray, the NDP candidate, had previously signed the petition. Yasir Naqvi, the Liberal candidate, signed the petition at the debate.

When asked for a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if they would support the provincial government in forcing Ontario’s largest cities to provide crack-pipe programs, both Murray and Naqvi said they would.

“This is not a crime prevention issue — this is a public health issue, this is a harm reduction issue. We need to make sure these kinds of programs continue,” said Naqvi.

Morissette said she could not say yes or no to the question. “I believe it’s a municipal issue,” she said.

“We have people walking around downtown Ottawa — either mental illness, prostitutes, drug addicts — we need to deal with that specific problem. It’s not an additional crack-pipe that’s going to get them off the drugs, it’s the treatment,” said Morissette.

Check out Xtra.ca’s video report below:
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Check out the Sep 27 issue of Capital Xtra for interviews with the Liberal, PC, NDP and Green candidates.