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Statement by MP Viersen on the Bill C-6 Vote

October 29, 2020

For immediate release

Ottawa, ON – Peace River – Westlock MP Arnold Viersen issued the following statement on his decision to not support Bill C-6 as currently drafted:

“I want to be clear that I am opposed to the practice of conversion therapy and support efforts to eliminate it.

“Many of the conversion therapies used over the years were degrading, harmful and attack the very core of human dignity. No Canadian should be forced to change who they are.

“I also believe the legal definition of conversion therapy in Bill C-6 must be clear to ensure no one is denied the freedom of pursuing the help and counselling they choose and conversations with parents and counsellors are not criminalized.

“Rather than listening to concerns around the definition, the Liberals reintroduced the exact same Bill they did last year having totally ignored the drafting failures from their first attempt.

“That is why I cannot support this bill in its current form.

“A re-tabled Bill C-6 could have been strengthened by inserting the Justice Department’s own statement that conversion therapy does not in include

“private conversations in which personal views on sexual orientation, sexual feelings or gender identity are expressed such as where teachers, school counsellors, pastoral counsellors, faith leaders, doctors, mental health professionals, friends or family members provide support to persons struggling with their sexual orientation, sexual feelings, or gender identity.”

“If the Liberals propose or adopt amendments at Committee that ensure the legal definition says exactly what they claim it means, I would support this Bill at third reading.”

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