Now that Canada’s Senate has adjourned for the summer break without passing Bill C-279, there is virtually no hope of it being addressed in the autumn before Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls a federal election — at which point, all bills before the House and the Senate die.
I asked a Senate insider recently about the prospects for another federal transgender rights bill. Will it be delayed to the point of death again, like the two previous trans rights bills that came before the Senate?
His reply: If Canadians elect a Liberal or NDP government, a trans rights bill will have a much better chance of passing through the Senate, which is currently dominated by Conservatives. But that domination would change if the Liberals or NDP are in power in the House, because there will be several vacant seats in the Senate that the new prime minister can — and no doubt will — fill as soon as possible to break the Conservative hold there.
But if Harper and company win the next election, then transgender Canadians can probably forget about a federal trans rights bill for the next term.
The insider didn’t for a moment buy Senator Plett’s reasons for his controversial amendment to Bill C-279, which was widely viewed as designed to derail the bill — even though Senator Plett adamantly denied that.
The insider’s view was that Mr. Plett was following orders, and that the Conservatives are a pretty transphobic lot, with some exceptions.
Of course, the insider is not a Conservative, so given the political power struggles that exist in the Senate, it is no surprise that he would dump on the Conservatives.
Objectively speaking, though, the future of a federal trans rights bill really depends on whether Harper and company win the next election.
No doubt, few if any transgender Canadians will be voting for them.
— Jillian Page, LGBT Perspectives editor
“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey