Tuesday, February 17, 2015

OPEN LETTER to Senator Don Plett re: Bill C-279, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Gender Identity)

OPEN LETTER to Senator Don Plett,

I understand from this Hill Times article that you are planning to introduce amendments in the Canadian Senate to this democratically-passed private member's bill, Bill C-279, An Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Gender Identity).  

To date, you haven't specified what those amendments might be or why they are necessary, except only to make public comments at a committee meeting last fall that exposed your thinking on human rights and transsexuals:

"Sen. Plett said the bill in its current form has the potential to be abused by sexual predators and pedophiles as they would be able to access women’s public washrooms. 

“If my five-year-old granddaughter doesn’t want to be in a bathroom with a biological male. … What is her option? She doesn’t want to be there. What’s her option?” said Sen. Plett in October in the Committee meeting."

Can you please provide verifiable links to the legal studies and police reports or anything else valid that have caused you to hold this concern?   I highly doubt it. 

I strongly suspect that you have no valid cause to hold these concerns.  Instead, your comments are simply reflective of the same old bigoted stuff inspired by fictional stories of yesteryear when transsexuals and homosexuals were considered nothing more than perverts hiding in dark places trying to rape little children.  

Were this the 1950s or 1960s and you were in the southern United States serving as a Senator, I'm sure you'd express similar concerns about desegregated bathrooms like this:

“If my five-year-old grandson doesn’t want to be in a bathroom with a Negro male. … What is his option? He doesn’t want to be there. What’s his option?”

Can you deduce the inherent injustice in your comment when you simply replace one minority group with another?  That somehow the rights of transsexuals or anyone else must be suppressed in order to accommodate the bigotries of the majority?

I would argue that maybe your granddaughter's option is to understand and accept that transsexual people, who are no threat to her, exist in this world and have a right to use public restrooms too.   And perhaps she should also stop listening to her grandfather on these issues.

Your arguments are on par with those of Rob Anders and other bigots in your party.  You should be ashamed of yourself! 

I understand that if you succeed in proposing unnecessary amendments to this Bill, it will once again delay passage of protecting the human rights of a very vulnerable group in our society.   Human Rights laws exist to protect such vulnerable communities who are frequently the victims of crime like discrimination.  I thought Conservatives were supposed to be on the side of victims?   But sadly I've learned from the collective records of Conservatives that they are merely only concerned with victims' rights as long as those victims look, live and love just like them. 

In the interests of justice and fairness, I implore to put aside your groundless fears and focus on what's right for Canadians! 

The transgendered and transsexual community, very vulnerable to discrimination in our society, has been waiting for protections such as these at the federal level for decades.  An equivalent bill protecting gays and lesbians was passed in Ottawa almost 20 years ago.

Bill C-279 was passed by a clear majority vote in the House of Commons in March 2013 with unanimous opposition support, plus 18 Conservative MPs.   Trying to amend the bill now would force the bill to return to the House of Commons for another vote, something apparently unlikely to happen in time before this October's federal election, which would kill the bill altogether.   A similar bill would have to be introduced again in the next parliament. 

We know how many years we've waited to see something like this bill passed into law.   The time for amendments is over.  Your fears are groundless.   Please don't put up further impediments to passing these important protections for a very vulnerable community. 

Matt Guerin,
A concerned Ontario voter


I encourage all readers to contact Senator Plett to voice your concerns over his attempts to kibosh much-needed protections for the trans community in federal law.  

613-992-0180  or 1-800-267-7362


Pamela Mac Neil said...

Thankyou for bringing this to peoples attention. I, myself was not aware of Plett's desire to amend bill C-279. I will email him and register my disagreement. His motives are very questionable to me.

Morgane O said...

Well, Don Plett has now sent his amendments through and one of them, in fact, really is abusive and disturbing.

Here is an analysis by Vancouver's Trans Alliance Society of Senator Plett's claims when he made the amendments.