On April 9th, Senator Serge Joyal introduced Bill S-260
, which would ban "conversion therapy". The Bill explains that this includes "any practice, treatment or service designed to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity or to eliminate or reduce sexual attraction or sexual behaviour between persons of the same sex"
. It does not matter if the practice, treatment, or service is provided by a professional counsellor for a fee, or by a church support group for free.
On August 15th, Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault, a special adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on LGBT Issues, confirmed that Justice Minister David Lametti has pledged to make "conversion therapy" a criminal offence. “Minister Monsef and I were with Minister Lametti at the roundtable earlier today, and he is committed to seeing us criminalize these behaviours.”
This is a very dangerous and totalitarian proposal, as it would remove the right of LGBT individuals to pursue change in terms of their lifestyle, behaviour, or identity. It would also remove the right of non-LGBT people to counsel or help them - including doctors, psychologists, pastors, spiritual counsellors, or lay people. It is an intrusive and unnecessary political interference in matters related to science, medicine, health, spirituality, and personal autonomy.
This enormous danger is highlighted in a statement by Kristopher Wells. Mr. Wells is the Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth at MacEwan University. He is advising the government on the "conversion therapy" ban. He said, “The federal government also spoke about the possibility of revoking charitable status...For example, churches [and] faith communities that continue to use or promote conversion therapy. I think all of these tools are really important... The ultimate goal is to ensure that conversion therapy is put into the Criminal Code of Canada, so no matter where you practise it, and if you are practising it, whether that’s in a basement or in a church, you’re going to go to jail because of this.”
To be fair, some of the practices used in "conversion therapy" in the past have been highly questionable. Some doctors have used electro-shock therapy or vomit-inducing chemicals to create a psychological aversion to homosexual impulses. Some have advocated forced "conversion therapy". We are not advocating any of these techniques or ideas, and would agree that they should be restricted.
However, we are advocating for the freedom of LGBT people who are struggling with unwanted desires, feelings, or behaviours to seek and receive the help they want and need. We are advocating for the freedom of doctors, counsellors, pastors, and lay people to help those in need.
We are advocating for the freedom to preach the Bible, which speaks about the reality that LGBT people can experience change: "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
This is very urgent, so please sign and pass along this petition. The "conversion therapy" ban is moving forward quickly.
Please also contact your representatives at all government levels and urge them to stop this loss of freedom for a very vulnerable group of people who are our friends, neighbours, and loved ones - those who seek change.