Gay Rights Back in the Citizenship Guide…Sorta

by | March 17, 2011
filed under Can-Con, Feminism, Politics

Some of you might remember the controversy that arose over last year’s release of Discover Canada, the citizenship study guide produced by the federal government. There was an outcry when it was revealed that the Harper Conservatives had omitted all mention of gay rights in the study guide, despite senior department officials’ pleas to keep the information in.

Internal documents released to the media showed Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had ordered the omission of gay rights information, which included milestones in gay rights, the decriminalization of homosexuality, the legalization of same-sex marriage, and the fact that discrimination against people based on sexual orientation is illegal under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Well there really must be an election in the air because Kenney was in Vancouver this week showing off the new guide, which now includes one whole sentence, whereas all the old version had was a captioned photo of Olympic athlete Mark Tewksbury.

The guide now includes the line: “Canada’s diversity includes gay and lesbian Canadians, who enjoy the full protection of and equal treatment under the law, including access to civil marriage.”

Egale Canada is right that it’s better than no mention at all, but they point out trans rights weren’t included, despite the NDP passing its recent bill to guarantee those rights (the bill is waiting for Senate approval). I think it’s unfortunate that this government’s abysmal gay rights record has lowered our expectations so much that they can do the bare minimum on the issue and we’re still forced to congratulate them on it.


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