A religious social conservative group is targeting 15 Conservative MPs who — at second reading — voted in favour of a controversial transgender rights Bill.
Canada Family Action (CFA), which claims to represent tens of thousands of Canadians, wants to stop Bill C-279, a private members bill introduced by NDP MP Randall Garrison, which would essentially protect gender rights via the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code.
Well that's an even handed news story. Here is an excerpt from the actual bill:
Subsection 3(1) of the Act [Canadian Human Rights Act) is replaced by the following:
3. (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for which a pardon has been granted.
The wording seems perfectly unobjectionable. Who could be opposed to banning discrimination on the grounds of gender identity and gender expression? No doubt only a craven bigot. As with Section 13 of the very same Canadian Human Rights Act, the devil is in the interpretive details. The law is not simply what is written down by government lawyers and passed by legislators, it is what judges on the bench say the law is in a particular circumstance.
At some point a judge is going to have to define what constitutes gender expression. Considering the products of modern Canadian law schools that's a thought that should fill ordinary people with fear. Keep in mind that Hugh Owens was charged with hate speech for quoting from the Bible. A Human Rights Tribunal decision that was initially upheld by the courts. People who can view quoting a foundational text of western civilization as a hate crime are quite capable of interpreting "gender expression" in a highly expansive manner.
Campaign Life Coalition has a pretty good run down on the potential fallout from this bill. If only a fraction of the potential harm they suggest comes through it is reason enough to oppose it. Government should not be in the business of telling private organizations who they can or cannot deal with. Every individual and every organization discriminates in someway. I discriminate by inviting only my friends to a party. An office building's management discriminates by allowing only people who work in the building, or those on business, to enter. When the government passes anti-discrimination laws it is dictating to private individuals how to run their private affairs. The state is deciding what motives and thoughts are legally worthy of respect.
If you regard an organization as being bigoted, then you have the peaceful tools of boycott and protest. To demand state intervention is to impose your views by force on others. It is social engineering passing itself off as compassion and enlightenment. It is also largely futile. Underpinning all anti-discrimination laws and tribunals is the notion that governments are wiser and more humane than the people. Such an argument is absurd in a democratic government where the legislators are drawn from the people. We get the governments we deserve.
In the case of C-279 it seems we are a nation of gullible fools. There are already protections in the Canadian Human Rights Act on the basis of sex. This amendment would allow protection on the basis of personal feelings. If a man feels like woman, then the courts must respect that belief and accord them equal rights. This may sound absurd, but again remember that we are dealing with Canadian courts, absurdity is their special gift to the nation.
Canada Family Action has a campaign to name and shame the 15 Tory MPs who voted for C-279. You may want to take a look and see if your local MP has backed this proposed amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act. These members should be reminded that key to being a conservative is to conserve certain values, among those oddly enough is the right of women not be followed into the bathroom. I never thought I'd have to write those words, but we live in very interesting times.
As long time readers will know I'm not much of a social conservative. I must, however, reproach my fellow free marketers and say that we are often remiss in fighting back on cultural matters. Culture is far more important than economics for it is culture that determines economic systems. You cannot have a strong and vibrant economy if the family life of the nation is in tatters, no matter how low the taxes and how light the regulation. The progressives have an agenda to destroy the family as it is the ultimate bulwark against an all encompassing state. An individual in a loving and supportive family is unlikely to go running to the state for assistance.
Aside from the immediate danger posed by C-279 there is also the long-term repercussions. Creating a legal regime where men can feel like women, with nothing more than their feelings as proof, is one more step in the de-normalizing family life. It is one more barrier the state has removed from peering into the private lives of Canadians.