Senator Don Plett says he expect the new transgender law, which received royal assent June 19, to be challenged for violating religious freedom or freedom of expression. Photo courtesy of GAD, Wikimedia Commons

Senator warns transgender law will be challenged

By 
  • June 20, 2017

OTTAWA – Senator Don Plett expects the new transgender law will soon be challenged for violating religious freedom or freedom of expression.

The first time someone gets convicted of failing to use “any speech they are not comfortable with, this will be in the Supreme Court very quickly,” said Plett, who led the opposition to Bill C-16 in the Senate.

Bill C-16 received Royal Assent June 19, passing into law a little over a year after Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced it in the House of Commons.

“The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that everyone can live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose,” said Wilson-Raybould.

The law adds gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds in the Canadian Human Rights Act and amends the Criminal Code to protect transgender and “gender diverse” Canadians from hate speech.

Plett fought the legislation on libertarian freedom-of-speech grounds because he knew religious freedom arguments and safety concerns for women and girls would fall on deaf ears with this Liberal government.

While Platt’s strategy avoided religious freedom issues, several groups find the new law troubling.

“The problem with C-16 is that it could be used as a means of applying force of law against millions of Canadians who deplore discrimination against those experiencing gender dysphoria, but nonetheless believe that every person is born male or female,” said Christian Elia, executive director of the Catholic Civil Rights League. “C-16 will no doubt serve as guidance for human rights commissions and tribunals along with other governing bodies to decide against those who believe that the two genders are male and female.”

Campaign Life Coalition’s Johanne Brownrigg, who handles government relations, said the bill will have “lasting repercussions on how we relate to each other in this country.”

“Now someone can be punished for not conforming their speech to an imposed point of view.”

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