It’s about the work we’re doing in the nation’s capital to make sure all Canadians are free to identify themselves and express their gender as they wish, without fear of discrimination and hate. With having Pride this September, it’s both topical and relevant. Calgary Centre is a Pride community – in the heart of its downtown core, we have one of the most vibrant LGBTQ2 communities in North America.
I have had the pleasure of working with advocates – like my colleague and special advisor to the Prime Minister on LGBTQ2 issues, MP Randy Boissonnault – and others across my involvement. At each place and stage, my efforts were to make sure that no one be refused a job, be disadvantaged in the workplace, be unable to access services, or be the target of harassment and violence because of their gender identity or gender expression.
One part of this was with Gay Straight Alliances being supported in every school across Alberta where and when students want them: first with my motion (Motion 503), which with community supporters, students, parents, and staff, ultimately making it the law of the land. The research shows that students have a reduced rate of suicide – across the entire population of students, not just LGBTQ2 students – with policies that encourage and allow students to support one another.
Since moving federally, this work has not stopped or stalled. Our government has moved full-steam ahead with:
• Passing C-16, a bill that ensures the full protection of transgender people across Canada,
• Announced a strategy to prevent and address gender-based violence,
• Introduced legislation to remove section 159 of the Criminal Code – ensuring Canadians are not unfairly criminalized for consensual activities,
• Flying the pride, transgender, and bi flags on Parliament Hill for the first time,
• Beginning the process of an apology to the entirety of the LGBTQ2 community for previous governments’ failings to defend their rights and freedoms.
I am proud to be able to be an ally to the community and work with Canadians as your Member of Parliament in supporting good public policy. As always, my door is open to you. You can subscribe to e-updates online through my website at www.KentHehrMP.ca/email-updates, come by my office at 950-6 Ave SW, call at 403.244.1880, or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.