All Canadians deserve to feel safe and to have their most fundamental rights protected. But for decades, we failed countless individuals who had their lives and livelihoods shattered for simply being who they were or because of who they loved. That is why the Government of Canada is working to address systemic discrimination against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and two-spirit (LGBTQ2).
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a formal apology in the House of Commons to individuals harmed by federal legislation, policies and practices that led to the oppression of and discrimination against LGBTQ2 people in Canada.
Trudeau apologized specifically for the historical unjust treatment of LGBTQ2 federal public servants, including those in the Canadian Armed Forces and the RCMP, and of LGBTQ2 Indigenous Peoples. “It is our collective shame that Canadians who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or two-spirit were unjustly treated- fired from jobs, denied promotions, surveilled, arrested, convicted, and vindictively shamed because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” Trudeau said.
To address the wrongs experienced by those who were unfairly criminalized by unjust laws and actions, the Government of Canada today introduced legislation – Bill C-66, the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act – that would put into place a process to permanently destroy the records of convictions for offences involving consensual sexual activity between same-sex partners that would be lawful today.
The Government of Canada has also signed an Agreement-in-Principle to resolve the Todd Edward Ross, Martine Roy and Alida Satalic Class Action in a fair, compassionate, and respectful manner that promotes healing and reconciliation. The Agreement-in-Principle includes measures to support individual compensation and recognition, as well as additional initiatives to promote collective reconciliation and remembrance.
These are important steps to respond to the historical and ongoing inequality faced by Canada’s LGBTQ2 communities.
Scheer, Caron Respond to Trudeau Apology
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer responded to Trudeau’s statement. “In this country, we deplore and we condemn injustice towards the innocent, the oppressed and the persecuted,” Scheer said according to the Toronto Sun.
New Democratic Party (NDP) House Leader Guy Caron responded on behalf of his party. He promised his party would easy the passage of Bill C-66, and appealed for further action. “This apology should be the springboard for action… IT is our hope Mr. Speaker, that all Canadians take today as an opportunity to move forward & continue to build the inclusive, accepting country that we all know we can be,” he said.