The Williams Lake Pride Society participated in the 2019 Williams Lake Stampede Parade. (Photo submitted)

The Williams Lake Pride Society participated in the 2019 Williams Lake Stampede Parade. (Photo submitted)

Williams Lake Pride Society and MP support new law banning conversion therapy

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty and Williams Lake Pride Society agree Canadians need dignity

Williams Lake Pride Society and Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty are on the same page regarding the federal ban on conversion therapy which attained royal assent Dec. 8.

“Conservatives agree that conversion therapy is wrong and should be banned,” noted Doherty in a statement to the Williams Lake Tribune.

The bill amends the Criminal Code to ban the practice of conversion therapy, which attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual or to change a person’s gender identity to match the sex they were assigned at birth, also called cisgender. It expands on a previously proposed bill and provides protection to Canadians of all ages, according to the Government of Canada’s website.

The bill was passed unanimously in the House of Commons on Dec. 1, with cheers from MPs across the House of Commons, and was helped along by a Conservative motion to fast-track the bill, skipping debate in the legislature. It was then passed in the Senate a week later. The law will go into effect in January of 2022.

“All children, regardless of race, sexual orientation, or economic station deserve a life free of discrimination and fear. Nobody should be forced to change who they are; everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. God loves us all,” noted Doherty.

The Williams Lake Pride Society agreed the bill protects dignity for individuals but calls for more support.

“At Williams Lake Pride, we are encouraged to see our federal government come together to work for a brighter and equal future in which all individuals are able to shape decisions that impact their lives, enjoy freedoms, and navigate a world free from discrimination,” stated the society.

“That said, we celebrate last week’s momentous news with the acknowledgment that more needs to be done to protect, support, and celebrate LGBTQIA2S+ communities and individuals in Canada.”

The group calls for additional funding, recognition, and support across all levels of government.

The Government of Canada’s website cites professional associations which denounce the practice of conversion therapy, including the Canadian Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Paediatric Society.

They also cite a 2019-20 survey which showed lower income and minority groups are more likely to be subjected to conversion therapy. The same study also indicated exposure to conversion therapy can result in serious negative psychological consequences, including addiction and suicidal thoughts.

The legislation proposes four new Criminal Code offences; prohibiting causing another person to undergo conversion therapy, removing a minor from Canada to subject them to conversion therapy abroad, profiting from providing conversion therapy, and advertising or promoting conversion therapy.

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