MP Bob Zimmer says he is opposed to conversion therapy, even though he voted against a bill in the House of Commons criminalizing the practice.
“Make no mistake, I am opposed to the practice of conversion therapy,” the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP said in a statement issued following the vote. “However, I am concerned that the current wording of Bill C-6 leaves open the possibility that voluntary conversations between individuals and their parents, family members, pastors, teachers, or their counsellors may be criminalized.”
The preamble to the bill states “conversion therapy causes harm to society because, among other things, it is based on and propagates myths and stereotypes about sexual orientation and gender identity, including the myth that a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity can and ought to be changed.”
Zimmer was one of seven MPs who voted against the bill which creates the following Criminal Code offences:
- causing a person to undergo conversion therapy against the person’s will;
- causing a child to undergo conversion therapy;
- doing anything for the purpose of removing a child from Canada with the intention that the child undergo conversion therapy outside Canada;
- advertising an offer to provide conversion therapy; and
- receiving a financial or other material benefit from the provision of conversion therapy.
“Freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom of association are fundamental in our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and I believe the current language of this legislation is an encroachment on those foundational principles,” he said. “I will be watching to see if this language is changed when the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights reviews the legislation before it comes back to the House of Commons for a third and final vote.”
Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty voted in support of the bill.