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REFOCUS: Return of the Trudeau government assures LGBTQ+ rights

Gerard Veldhoven
Gerard Veldhoven - SaltWire File Photo

By Gerard Veldhoven

Justin Trudeau was successful in forming a new government after a contentious election battle that contained much animosity among candidates and the reality of a minority. 

Nevertheless, the positive result promises a continuation of the Liberal government’s protection of equal rights and the upcoming ban on gay conversion therapy. Those of us who view this of great importance are celebrating this win, and the fact the people of this great country choose wisely, will assure us that the work started four years ago to attain equality, is expected to lead us into four more years of support. 

Andrew Scheer had already pointed out that he would have to see the wording of the proposed ban in order to support its passing. The wording is clear, as is the total rejection by medical experts and researchers that GCT jeopardizes mental health and many times leads to suicides. Scheer, however, according to his religious beliefs, has pointed out that a person should be heterosexual. In other words, let’s continue the horrific consequences of these actions. 

In recent statements, he only believes an apology from some of his outspoken MPs who openly and maliciously about LGBTQ+ citizens, is acceptable and not a retraction. This is not the first time Mr. Scheer has admitted to prejudicial thinking by voting against same-sex marriage, rejects transgender protection. And now he opposes a ban on gay conversion therapy. The Conservative leader has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the LGBTQ+ citizens of Canada must follow ‘heterosexual’ behavior, because the Bible tells him so. The followers of that belief have no intention of changing the ideological teachings that are ingrained from childhood. Unfortunately, that is the way it will be well into the future.

Mr. Trudeau, from the beginning of his mandate in 2015, revealed to us his intention to continue the journey that is necessary to gain equality for all. I am certain Mr. Trudeau has regrets about the part he had in a play in 2004, and has apologized profusely. Mr. Scheer has yet to apologize for his comments on same sex marriage. For the Conservative leader this is normal thinking and he will continue to do so. Now, the positive action that Trudeau initiated four years ago will produce more positivity for the LGBTQ+ citizens by banning gay conversion therapy as a criminal offence. 

As well, thousands of dollars will be distributed to LGBTQ+ groups across the country to fight discrimination. 

To be sure, history has taught us that we come in all shapes, sizes, colours, sexual orientation, gender identities and beliefs. The Liberal government recognizes this fact and acts accordingly. 

As the election results became clear, Randy Boissonnault, the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ+ issues, could not hold on to his seat. Hopefully, he will be replaced by someone who will carry the mantel of this extremely important position. Our LGBTQ+ Canadians remain confident that Prime Minister Trudeau will deliver and so continues the support we deserve in this great nation. 

The LGBTQ+ community has a great ally in the Liberal government and that cannot falter. If Scheer had been successful, the situation would have delivered dire consequences, as far as equal rights and treatment are concerned. Gay conversion therapy, equal marriage, transgender protection, to name just a few, would most certainly be negatively affected. Canada may stand proud to be a world leader in equal rights, and now we must work towards equal treatment and rid our country of discrimination in its many forms. 

More must be done to correct the situation by implementing programs that in still an order of embrace, regardless of who and what we are as human beings. It is a matter of human rights, and our country and government must continue on a path of positive thinking, work on ideas to end division. Each and every one of us are called on to participate as it will affect our children, grandchildren and all thereafter.

Gerard Veldhoven is a gay rights activist and resident of Pictou County. His column appears monthly in The News. Comments and information: lgbtconnectionsgv@gmail.com

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