‘I’m scarred from it,’ Matt Ashcroft said. ‘I will never be able to forget what happened to me on that weekend, it’s still so hard to process.’
Ashcroft, talking to CBA, is referring to the first time he attended gay conversion therapy six years ago.
The experience he found traumatizing is a practise that Canada’s federal government in Ottawa, Ontario, rejected banning last week (23 March).
However, Ontario’s local government had no issue banning cell phones in school lessons earlier this month.
The federal government, based in Ottawa, Ontario, rejected the petitioned ban on conversion therapy.
But in the same Canadian province on a local government level, cell phones were banned in school classrooms during instructional lessons.
A petition circulated near the end of 2018 that pleaded the federal government to consider banning the practise, which went onto gain more than 18,000 signatures.
Alberta operator Devon Hargreaves, Hargreaves founded the petition.
He told CBA: ‘We are disappointed that we do not currently have legislation, but we will continue to advocate for those who have no voice.
Conversion therapy ‘should not be happening in Canada in 2018 or 2019,’ the 24-year-old said, ‘but we know it’s happening, and it happens to minors.’
NDP MP for Saskatoon West, Sheri Benson presented the petition at House of Commons on 1 February.
Furthermore, in a statement on 19 March, Ottawa’s federal government dubbed the practise ‘immoral’ and ‘painful,’ and does not ‘reflect the values of our government or those of Canadians.’
Why didn’t the federal government ban it?
However, the government added existing portions of the Criminal Code already addresses it. This is the law that codifies Canadian criminal offences.
The statement added: ‘Certain Criminal Code offences may apply to situations involving conversion therapy, depending upon the circumstances.
‘For example, Criminal Code offences such as kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault may apply where a person is forcibly compelled to undergo conversion therapy.
‘We continue to work with provincial and territorial governments to address these practices.’
Why is it happening?
Similarly, Hargreaves pointed to the patchwork of provincial therapy bans as problematic.
That is, while Ontario has banned the practise out-rightly, Vancouver has only prohibited businesses from offering it.
Moreover, Manitoba has only banned health professionals from offering it.
Similarly, Nova Scotia has made it unlawful for health professionals to provide transition therapy to minors.
As a result, Canada has clashing legislation. As Hargreaves said: ‘If there is no federal ban, we have a track time where this is still happening.
‘It shouldn’t be happening anywhere … We will continue to push for that legislation.’
LGBTI rights in Canada
Overall, Canada is exemplary when it comes to LGBTI rights.
Since 1969, homosexuality has been legal, and acceptance of LGBTI has increased over the years.
Everything from queer movies to astrology sessions were held last year in Ottawa’s Capital Pride.