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Liberals poised to legislate a ban on conversion therapy

Last Updated Mar 9, 2020 at 8:20 pm PDT

Summary

The federal government is set to introduce a bill that will ban conversion therapy

Critics say the controversial practice is little more than homophobia at work

The federal legislation would override all municipal bans that have been introduced across the country in recent months

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is poised to introduce a bill that would outlaw therapy intended to alter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Justice Minister David Lametti and Diversity Minister Bardish Chagger plan to discuss the proposed amendment to the Criminal Code at a news conference on Monday.

Mandate letters issued in December directed the ministers to table legislation to ban conversion therapy and take needed steps with the provinces and territories.

“Criminalizing conversion therapy is one of the strongest steps that any nation can take and it’s great to see Canada showing this leadership,” said Dr. Kristopher Wells at MacEwan University.

He added this is a good sign to the world that this practice is not okay.

“We have to remember that conversion therapy is not therapy at all but it’s tantamount to abuse and torture.”

In their election platform, the Liberals called conversion therapy a scientifically discredited practice that targets vulnerable Canadians.

The party added there is international consensus in the medical community the practice does not work.

Wells noted this ban would apply to communities which chose not to put in any kind of legislation, like Red Deer did last week.

Communities like Calgary and Edmonton have already moved to ban the practice.

“It really sets the tone for what the federal government will do. We’re hoping that legislation will be as strong as what’s been introduced in some of the municipalities, of course some of the tools are different at the federal government.”

While promising legislation, the Liberals have also emphasized the issue involves regulation of the health profession, a provincial and territorial responsibility.