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Why the NDP's trans rights bill is dead in the water

Why the NDP's trans rights bill is dead in the water

BY DALE SMITH – Bill C-389 – which would add gender identity and gender expression to the Canadian Human Rights Act and the hate crimes provisions of the Criminal Code – is about to die on the Senate Order Paper.

But another private member's bill – C-393, which would ease access to cheap AIDS drugs for developing countries – still has a chance of passing. Why is that?

For one, the drug bill had a sponsor lined up in the Senate before it arrived, so there was someone there to push the issue this week. As well, another almost identical bill, S-232, made it to the committee stage and got as far as clause-by-clause consideration before it died because of prorogation. And that means senators could speed it through committee this time around.

But Bill Siksay, C-389's author, never found a sponsor in the Senate, though it wasn't because there was no one willing to take it up. Liberal senators have said almost universally that they supported the bill. Conservative Senator Nancy Ruth was also in support but didn't sponsor it – or assume the role of government critic on the bill – because she planned to propose an amendment to further extend the Criminal Code protections to the category of "sex." 

Liberal senators I talked to said they hadn't been approached and they weren't about to jump up to support the bill unasked. Senators on both sides of the aisle resent being used as punching bags by the NDP; continually insulted for their appointed status, they have repeatedly cautioned MPs to be nice to senators if they want help shepherding their bills through the upper chamber.

For his part, Siksay didn't look for a sponsor before the bill passed the Commons, focusing his attention on getting the bill passed first – even though some of his NDP colleagues expressed amazement at the lapse. Siksay told me earlier this week that while there were still discussions going on, he wasn't going to make a push unless an election were ruled out.

Liberal Senator Claudette Tardif, the deputy opposition leader in the Senate, whose job it is to negotiate the progress of bills with the government side, expressed frustration with Siksay's failure to find a sponsor in a timely manner.

We spoke on Tuesday morning, before it was determined that an election was inevitable.

"I would think that with that case, the government should at least bring it up for second reading, whether they like it or not, because they are the ones that have the control," Tardif said. "We'll have to see with C-389 what's going to happen. I'm not going to let it sit there if no one comes through, and if there's no one that's been identified on the NDP side, and if the government doesn't put up someone to speak to it, we won't leave it lay there in limbo. We'll figure out something, so that at least it can hopefully on our side get it spoken to, and then we'll have to see what they do. But at this time, no one has spoken to it until that happens." 

There was the additional issue that C-389 would have gone before the Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee because of its Criminal Code provisions. That's a committee already loaded with government tough-on-crime bills that take precedence over private member's bills. That would have been a hurdle nearly impossible to clear before the election, even if the bill had a sponsor.  

There has been a commitment from both the NDP and the Liberals to revisit the bill in the next parliament, but with Siksay's retirement, advocates will have to find a new champion.

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NATO this weekend is expected
NATO this weekend is expected to take over control of the no-fly zone from the United States.
Nice derail attempt Ron. How
Nice derail attempt Ron. How about addressing the issue instead? Have you looked at that list I posted?
"Perverts tend more to be
"Perverts tend more to be straight white men, like you"

Nice racist jab from the "progressives" of the left. No wonder Canada hates you. P.S. Don't tell my boyfriend I'm straight.
Ron, take a look at this list
Ron, take a look at this list: http://www.transgenderlaw.org/ndlaws/index.htm Those jurisdictions have had protections similar to C-389 in place, some of them since the 1970s. In all those years, not one person has tried to claim protection from prosecution in the way you claim. Also Bolivia, Croatia, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, each of Australia’s states and territories, Spain, and parts of Peru and Argentina offer similar protections. I defy you to find even one case in any of those places where such an incident has taken place. Next I invite you to research the numbers of trans people who have been assaulted, in washrooms and out. I think you'll find a huge difference.

Your bathroom myth has been disproven for years, Ron. Give it a rest.
"No, trannies are not
"No, trannies are not perverts. The problem is the straight male perverts who would easily exploit this ill-conceived bill."

You're right ronnie, car and truck transmissions are not perverts.
Perverts tend more to be straight white men, like you.
One step forward one step
One step forward one step back. It seem we are in limbo again. Roxanne mentioned in her response above that we are 20 years behind Gay/Lesbian rights. So how do we stop being in limbo 20 years behind. So I ask what did these other groups do different from us. Perhaps we are too polite by working within the system and instead we need to get into the faces of our MP's and demand action on this!! After all this would only be a decent human thing to do..... This would be the prpoer Christian reponse " To help people not stop them from basic rights"
No, trannies are not perverts
No, trannies are not perverts. The problem is the straight male perverts who would easily exploit this ill-conceived bill.
Ron, like so many misinformed
Ron, like so many misinformed people, you have obviously had no or little experience with trans people and have accepted the myth perpetuated by the Christian right(most of whom have also never actually known a trans person either).
If you had, you would know A) 50% of trans people are female-to-males (FTM)& so don't fall under the misconception of the so-called pervert men in dresses in woman's washrooms, and B) that for a male-to female (MTF)to publicly live in a dress in this patriarchal society, demands far more courage than what a voyeur or a child molester have, especially when they have far simpler routes to their nefarious goals.
You would also know that the bill was for 'protection of gender identity & gender expression' which includes for example, manly women. Just because a woman dresses and acts in a masculine way, is that reason enough for her to be assaulted because some redneck assumes she is a lesbian? This is a real life example that could be avoided with the recognition of gender rights.
You comment reflects your obvious ignorance of the real issues & prejudices that trans people experience on a daily basis.
You should learn something about the topic before you regurgitate the ignorant opinions of others. Your sad viewpoint reflects why Trans rights are 20 years behind gay/ lesbian rights.
Poor "ron" I'm in his
Poor "ron" I'm in his bathroom taking a leak. Little does he know I've been there a long time and I am not alone (in the sense that trans folk pee too).

I met Bill Siksay last November, he's a great guy (lots of hugs and restored my faith in politics a good bit) and I hope he finds someone to make a fourth run with this bill before he leaves office (which is pretty soon if I recall).

Don't let the protection die folks, the world will be a little bit safer for all of us with education, communication, and resolving the grey area in the criminal code and charter of human rights.
Saying something like : Well
Saying something like : Well thank god the election has started and the demented pervert-in-the-bathroom rights bill is dead.

There's a good example of transphobia and ignorance.

I'm transsexual and I never attacked anybody in the bathroom, but I know some trans folk who's been rape by cisgender person in the bathroom.

So who's more dangerous?


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