Press Release: C-4 will hurt the people it promises to help
November 29, 2021
For immediate release
Ottawa, ON – Earlier today, Justice Minister David Lametti tabled Bill C-4, an act to criminally ban the practice of conversion therapy. The bill will criminalize counselling for LGBTQ+ Canadians who want to reduce unwanted “non-heterosexual behaviour.”
“This law will hurt LGBTQ+ Canadians as well as those questioning their gender identity,” said André Schutten, director of law and policy with ARPA Canada. “It will deny them the broad range of choices for counselling and spiritual support that are freely available to all other Canadians. In a word, this bill is discriminatory.”
During debate on this bill’s predecessor, many legal and religious organizations urged MPs to be mindful of the lack of consensus in Canada on how best to treat gender dysphoria, to not criminalize body affirming counseling, to clearly define the term “conversion therapy,” to listen to those who have de-transitioned or desisted from a transgender identity, and to encourage a full exploration of comorbid conditions underlying a patient’s gender dysphoria before initiating invasive medical treatments.
Bill C-4 goes even further than the Liberals’ previous attempts to pass a conversion therapy ban. The previous bill would have allowed a heterosexual teen to get help reducing their unwanted sexual impulses (a porn addiction, for example) but would have criminalized a gay or lesbian teen for pursuing similar help. Bill C-4 proposes that this now be extended beyond children and minors so that even adults in the LGBTQ+ community will not be allowed to pursue counselling they desire.
Schutten expects Bill C-4 to receive vigorous debate as it makes its way through the House of Commons. “Bill C-4 defines conversion therapy so broadly that I expect members of the LGBTQ+ community, religious groups, medical professionals, and feminists will unite as unlikely cobelligerents in urging amendments to this bill.”
In the last Parliament, the Justice Minister refused to make common-sense amendments that would have clarified the law, made the bill constitutionally sound, and satisfied the concerns expressed by a diversity of groups, while still prohibiting conversion therapy. “Minister Lametti insisted on putting partisan politics ahead of good law by keeping the definition overly broad and vague,” said Schutten. “It is up to this Parliament to fix that and turn this poorly drafted bill into a strong piece of legislation that a wide spectrum of Canadians can support.”
ARPA Canada will be working with MPs, including the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, to urge amendments that will improve and clarify this bill.
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ARPA (Association for Reformed Political Action) Canada has a mission to educate, equip, and encourage Reformed Christians to political action. We also take a biblical perspective directly to our elected leaders and the courts.
ARPA is non-partisan and does not promote or oppose any party.
André Schutten is available for further comment. He can be contacted at [email protected] or 1-866-691-2772