Federal Liberals, NDP promise to ban conversion therapy if elected

by Alex Antoneshyn, Digital Journalist @AAntoneshyn

The federal Liberals’ campaign promise to make conversion therapy a Criminal Code offence is “positive news,” says an Edmonton gender and sexual minorities expert.

Among the election commitments made Sunday by the Liberal Party of Canada, Justin Trudeau’s party has said it would amend the Criminal Code to ban conversion therapy targeting LGBTQ2S+ people.

“I think it’s very positive news that the Liberal party has stepped forward to take action on conversion therapy,” said Kristopher Wells, Canada Research Chair in Sexual and Gender Minority Youth Issues.

Conversion therapy is a practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation.

“It’s a completely fraudulent practice. It’s not supported by any research that actually demonstrates that you can change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” Wells told CTV News Edmonton.

The topic has surfaced elsewhere on the campaign trail.

Speaking in Surrey, B.C., on Sunday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said, “Obviously, we would do the same thing. We’ve been talking about this for years.”

However, he questioned why the Liberals wouldn’t have already made the move while in power.

“This is Liberals trotting out promises, trotting out empty promises and pretty words during an election, which they could have done four years ago if they really cared.”

Without any provincial or federal laws offering guidance, several Alberta municipalities have taken it upon themselves to create bylaws to ban conversion therapy.

St. Albert was the first to do so, and Strathcona County the latest.

As well, the City of Edmonton and Spruce Grove have both started similar discussions.

Wells added he’d like to see the charitable status of organizations that promote, engage or support conversion therapy removed.



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