Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Canada rose in the House of Commons to apologize to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2) Canadians.
This apology recognized the Government’s role in the persecution and mistreatment of our communities through laws, policies, and other methods such as intimidation and fear. In summary the statement specifically apologized to those who were unjustly fired and mistreated in the civil service, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and military; those who were subject to Canada’s “buggery”, “gross indecency”, and bawdy house laws, and; Indigenous LGBTQ and two-spirit people being persecuted and silenced as a result of rigid colonial norms. The apology also touched on many important themes and issues of the past, and ongoing ones.
In connection with this apology, the Government has moved on two specific actions. First, legislation has been introduced to expunge all historically unjust convictions. This allows for survivors, as well as surviving spouses, parents, siblings, children or legal representatives to apply for expungement. Second, a $145-million compensation fund has been created. This fund will be used to compensate those “purged” from the public service and will also have a portion dedicated to creating memorials and education.
These are vital to achieving justice for LGBTQ2 Canadians, however, we would be remised if we did not acknowledge other steps we must take. Actions include fully lifting the blood ban, protecting Intersex (I) people from non-consensual and medically unnecessary operations, changing laws that criminalize HIV non-disclosure, greater funding for LGBTQI2 initiatives, and more.
Fierté Simcoe Pride welcomes this long-awaited apology. We hope that it will shed light on Canada’s history and serve as a reminder of the work left ahead.
We thank the We Demand an Apology Network, Egale Canada (authors of The Just Society Report), and the countless organizations and activists who made this possible. It is because of their tireless research. advocacy and work that we have come this far.
Finally, we want to thank John Brassard, Member of Parliament for Barrie—Innisfil, and colleagues for welcoming us to Parliament to witness this historic event. It is through continued collaboration with leaders at all levels of government that we will continue to make our communities safer and more inclusive.
Apology Text (Prime Minister only): https://goo.gl/sKgGi3
Apology Video (Prime Minister and party leaders): youtube.com/watch?v=wM0yZP-g3a4
Pour cette déclaration en français: Excuses envers les canadien.ne.s LGBTQ2
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