On March 9, 2020, the federal Liberal Government introduced Bill C-8, which places severe restrictions on conversion therapy. It is the most aggressive bill introduced in Canada in peace time, as it attempts to fundamentally and definitively change Canadian society and its values and perspectives. Bill C-8 does so by way of criminalizing medical treatment and ignoring parental rights and religious beliefs on the controversial issue of homosexuality and transgenderism. This bill will bring criminal sanctions against anyone opposing the homosexual orthodoxy as determined by LGBTQ activists. It is a power grab by Trudeau and his government to determine and control what information on homosexuality is permissible in Canada and thereby undermines the family and those who seek to uphold traditional sexual morality. What is even more disquieting is that Bill C-8 targets children as a means of furthering the LGBTQ’s progressive agenda.
This bill amends the Criminal Code so that its provisions will apply nationally, even though conversion therapy and the regulation of the health care professions (which includes psychologists) are matters under the jurisdiction of the provinces in accordance with section 92 of Canada’s foundational constitutional document, the 1867 BNA Act. The BNA Act sets out the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments. To avoid this jurisdictional reality, the Liberal government has placed its legislation on conversion therapy within the Criminal Code, which falls within federal jurisdiction. As a result, the provinces are required to enforce the federal law and cannot make any changes to it, even though the regulation of health care professionals is under provincial authority.
What is the Draconian Legislation on Conversion Therapy?
Bill C-8 defines conversion therapy as a practice, treatment or service designed to change a person’s sexual orientation to heterosexual, or gender identity to correspond to their birth sex, or to repress or reduce homosexual attraction or homosexual behaviour. The definition goes on to state that for greater certainty, this definition does not prevent changing a person from their birth sex to another sex.
This broad and vague definition has troubling implications that will allow the tentacles of the federal government to interfere directly with medical care and treatment of an individual who may want to be whole, normal and healthy in regard to his/her sexuality.
Bill C-8 Creates New Offences under the Criminal Code
This bill creates new offences under the Criminal Code, which are as follows:
- The only legal treatment that will be available to any Canadian under 18 years of age who struggles with his/her gender identity is to be transitioned to the opposite sex by way of surgery and sex hormones. This will result in lifelong hormone injections and permanent sterility. Parents will be criminalized if they have their child counselled to overcome gender problems and same-sex attractions. If a parent does so, he or she may be imprisoned for up to five years.
Thus, the only medical procedure mandated for gender dysphoria is the dubious, unreliable transgender procedures which have questionable validity.
As a result, under Bill C-8 it will be acceptable to amputate healthy body parts in order to affirm a transgender or transabled person’s illusion, but it will be unacceptable to assist a confused youth to accept the body in which he/she was born.
Furthermore, Bill C-8 arbitrarily allows conversion therapy for those who are 18 years and older and who consent, but denies it for those under 18 years who may be able to consent, refuse this treatment. This is barbaric and child abuse. Moreover, it lacks all logic—if the age of consent to sexual activity is 16, then why can’t a 16-year-old consent and refuse transgender treatment? In addition, an arbitrary age of 18 years contradicts, in some cases, the provincial age of majority and the age permitted to give medical consent, which varies from province to province.
- Removing a minor from Canada to undergo conversion therapy abroad can result in up to five years’ imprisonment.
- No adult may be subject to conversion therapy without his/her consent. Anyone who carries out this procedure without consent may be guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for up to five years.
- No one may receive financial reimbursement (i.e. be paid) for providing conversion therapy to a child under 18. To do so may result in imprisonment for up to two years.
- Advertising to promote conversion therapy to anyone is prohibited and may result in two years’ imprisonment.
Defence of this Bill C-8 by Justice Minister David Lametti
When Minister of Justice David Lametti introduced this bill, he defended it by claiming that conversion therapy was a “discredited and coercive practice” which was premised on the lie that homosexuality can be changed. He also said that treatment of homosexuals to change their orientation was “demeaning and degrading” to homosexuals and lesbians and undermined their dignity.
No one wishes people to be harmed by any medical treatment. Over half a century ago this did occur when trying to change same-sex attraction, for example, by electro-shock treatment and drugs. This does not occur today because of the development of extensive knowledge and understanding of the human body and mind. To claim that present-day conversion therapy is harmful is to deliberately mislead the public.
The Bill is Malicious
This bill is not a simple bill to protect homosexuals from alleged harmful treatment. Instead, this bill appears to have been deliberately and maliciously drafted. Justice Minister David Lametti, a former Professor of Law at McGill University, who received a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Law from Oxford University, must obviously have known exactly what he was doing when drafting this bill. It can be no accident that:
- The provision prohibiting advertising for conversion therapy gives authority for the government to seize and delete such advertising. The bill defines an advertisement for conversion therapy as meaning “any material – including a photographic, film, video, audio or other recording, made by any means, a visual representation or any written material – that is used to advertise an offer to provide conversion therapy.” That is, this definition is so broad, it can include virtually any material critical of homosexuality or transgenderism that is publicly available which promotes or condones conversion therapy. This broad definition could include an offer for prayers, spiritual counselling, or even an advertisement announcing a sermon supporting a faith-based understanding of men and women. This provision therefore has serious implications to faith communities.
- Justice Minister Lametti has included the seizure of an advertisement for conversion therapy in the same section of the Criminal Code dealing with the removal of obscenity, child pornography, voyeurism and advertising for sexual services (prostitution). That is, he has equated the advertising for conversion therapy (a practice, treatment or service) in the same section of the Criminal Code dealing with sex offenses which are disreputable, and disgusting material that is damaging to society.
- Lametti has placed the conversion therapy bill in the Hate Propaganda section of the Criminal Code. The latter includes section 318(1) which prohibits any advocating or promoting of “genocide”. Genocide is defined in section 318(2) as meaning “acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part any identifiable group”. An identifiable group includes those identified by their sexual orientation. Section 318(2)(b) prohibits “deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction”. This seems to be the core objective of Lametti’s Bill C-8. This provision may be interpreted as including faith-based beliefs on homosexuality as unacceptable and being similar to racial hatred (genocide).
It is noted however, that section 319(3)(b), which prohibits the public incitement of hatred, states that no person shall be convicted of this offense if he/she acted in “good faith…to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text.” Also, section 319(3)(c) provides the defense that there would be no conviction if the statement was relevant to any subject of public interest which is for the public benefit. These defenses, however, do not apply to section 318 which deals with hate advocating/promotion of genocide. The provision against conversion therapy is bound to have a chilling effect for those providing an opinion on homosexuality based on their faith.
The above indicates that the Liberal government has followed the wishes of extremist LBGTQ activists to censor and eradicate opposing viewpoints and any dissent on the homosexual/transgender issue. Homosexual advocates argue that people are born homosexual and can’t change, thus, promoting the idea that they should be treated under human rights law the same as race, that is, they are born homosexual and can’t change. Activists are also offended by the notion that there are some people who experience same-sex attraction who don’t want to continue this orientation.
Bill C-8 is a direct attack on freedom of speech and on freedom of thought and belief for the Christian, Orthodox Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths and others. At the very least, it imposes a concern for those expressing a faith-based belief that opposes homosexuality or transgenderism, even within a church setting. That is, it may no longer be permitted to practise or promote a religious belief on these issues if it conflicts with current state-defined sexual orthodoxy. Homosexual advocates have stated that churches should lose their charitable status if they violate the Criminal Code provisions on conversion therapy. This is a reality that must be considered.
THIS BILL MUST BE STOPPED. It is a power grab by the Trudeau government to control the homosexual issue in Canada.
Each of us has a responsibility to object to this frightening bill, with all its far-reaching and sinister implications, for the health of children, parental rights and religious belief in Canada.
Please write immediately to your Member of Parliament demanding this bill be withdrawn.
C/O House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6