Citing the need to make transgender people “feel safe and secure in who they are,” Canada’s Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced legislation Tuesday that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression” and make anti-transgender “hate propaganda” punishable by up to two years in prison.
The proposed legislation — which was unveiled on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia — would amend the Canadian Criminal Code to expand existing “hate speech” prohibitions to include any public speech or communication that “promotes hatred” on the basis of “gender identity” or “gender expression.”
An identical ban on anti-gay “hate propaganda” has been in place for several years and has caused problems for Christians who oppose gay marriage. In 2013, the Canadian Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a Christian street preacher for distributing fliers denouncing homosexual behavior.
The court justified the preacher’s conviction on the grounds that he used “vilifying and derogatory representations to create a tone of hatred” against homosexuals. The court held that the pastor’s religious freedom did not excuse him from violating “hate propaganda” laws.
Canadian media outlets are reporting that Bill C-16 is expected to pass, especially now that Conservative leaders in Parliament look likely to support the bill, despite opposing similar legislation in years past.
In a video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose said that “who you love, or how you identify, should never be cause for fear or anxiety.”
The Daily Caller reached out to Ambrose to ask if she would say that pedophilia “should never be cause for fear or anxiety.” She did not reply by press time.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who ideologically leans far to the left — championed the bill as a much-needed step for transgender rights in Canada. “We must continue to demand true equality,” he said at a news conference.
Wilson-Raybould was similarly enthusiastic about the bill. “We live in a time when discrimination in any form is completely unacceptable,” she said.
“This is a message of hope to ensure that we recognize gender identity and gender expression and provide the ability in our country for people to feel safe and secure in who they are.”
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