Canada’s Controversy: MP’s vote to ban Conversion Therapy.
Written by Gracie Ward.
Canada’s House of Commons have unanimously voted to ban the discredited practice known as, Conversion Therapy. Opposing MPs came together to vote on the long-awaited decision.
What is Conversion Therapy?
Conversion therapy is used to change a person’s sexual orientation or suppress a person’s gender identity. It can be practiced in many ways such as: Electric shock, nausea-inducing drugs, psychoanalysis, Reparative therapy, Lobotomy etc. Electric shock and nausea-inducing drugs were used before the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). It was practiced while showing individuals same-sex erotic images. The idea was to strengthen heterosexual feelings. Instead of ‘curing’ individuals it made them suppress their feelings. Psychoanalysis is long-term therapy which involves resolving the unconscious childhood trauma that they considered ‘responsible’ for homosexuality. Reparative therapy originates from Joseph Nicolosi’s opinion that same-sex attraction is an individual’s unconscious attempt to ‘self-repair’ feelings of inferiority. Lobotomy is a surgical operation in which you create an incision into the pre-frontal lobe of the brain, used to change ways of thinking and correct mental illness. Medical professionals have discredited the practice, stating it does not work and has harmful effects on those who undergo it. A UN report found that conversion therapy is still being performed in at least 68 countries (Algeria, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad etc) along with some form of aversion likely being practiced in all nations.
The Recent Bill.
Governing Liberals have made many attempts at passing the legislation, being first introduced in March 2020, however it died after the government prorogued parliament. Meaning, all bills that have not received royal assent are killed. Justin Trudeau’s party reintroduced the bill during the year, yet it once again died when parliament was suspended ahead of the September federal election. There was shock amongst the MPs as opposition conservatives voted to fast-track the legislation, gaining applause within in the House of Commons. Canada’s justice minister, David Lametti, thanked the conservatives for the unanimous vote stating: ‘There are clearly people in the conservative caucus who exercised and great deal of leadership on the issue, and I thank them. This is what we can do when parliament works together.’ CPS reports, Liberal and Conservative MPs crossed aisles to hug and shake hands in support of the bill being passed. Tourism MP Randy Boissonnault, who is a part of the LGBTQ+ community, also spoke out: ‘No one can consent to torture. It is a great day for survivors, to know that no-one else is going to go through what they went through. The legislation makes it illegal to have a person of any age, consenting or not, undergo the treatment. It has made it a crime to provide, promote, advertise, or profit from conversion therapy. In addition, the bill states you cannot remove a child from Canada in hopes they will undergo the treatment outside of the country. The Criminal code violations will go into full effects 30 days after the bill received royal assent on Wednesday 8th December 2021.
CPAC took to twitter on the day the unanimous vote happened, stating: “It’s overdue, it’s a great day for the house of commons that we did this today”, says New Democrat MP Randall Garrison after House agrees to pass bill banning the practice in Canada, “but there are still people who are being subjected to conversion therapy.”
Justin Trudeau also tweeted: ‘Good news! Today, Members of Parliament worked together to pass our government’s legislation banning conversion therapy – and it is now headed to the senate. We’ll keep working to make sure this abhorrent and unacceptable practice is prohibited in Canada.’ However, since then it was announced on Wednesday 8th December 2021 that the bill was granted by the Governor General of Canada – making it law.
Justin Trudeau took to twitter on the 8th announcing: ‘It’s official: Our government’s legislation banning the despicable and degrading practice of conversion therapy has received Royal Assent – meaning it is now law. LGTBQ2 Canadians, we’ll always stand up for you and your rights.’ Governor General of Canada shared the event on Twitter also: ‘Today is an important milestone in Governor General Mary Simon’s first year as #GG30: granting Royal Assent for the first time. #GGSimon granted Royal Assent to Bill C-4, banning the practice of conversion therapy in Canada.’
There are mixed responses on Twitter regarding the granted bill. One Twitter user stated: ‘This just proves how dumb Canada actually is. Conversion therapy is the future. People need to be rescued from the ailment that is being allowed to become gay.’ They then followed, ‘I don’t hate! I disagree, and that’s my right. I disagree with the immoral act of poop with penis etc… It is factually, downright gross. I don’t care if feelings get hurt by this, we need to face the situation head on, asap for the benefit of future generations of troubled ppl x’. However, another user commented on the legislation: ‘Canada makes a big step in the right direction with banning conversion therapy! I was so excited to see this on the news tonight with my cousin being a part of the LGBTQ community #loveislove.’
What are your opinions on conversion therapy? Let us know below!