Wednesday, June 12, 2013

World News

Federal transgender bill passes Senate committee
OTTAWA -- A bill that would add gender identity to the list of classes protected from discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act- Federal transgender rights bill C-279- was adopted unamended at a Senate committee on human rights Monday.
The measure will now head to the Senate for a third reading, and should it gain passage, it will require royal assent before becoming law. The granting of royal assent is the method by which Her Majesty, Elizabeth II, formally approves an act of Canada's Parliament. This is granted less ceremonially by a letter of patent to the Governor-General who merely signs the bill.
The bill's Senate sponsor, Senator Grant Mitchell, is hopeful the bill will pass third reading. He told Canadian Media outlet Xtra last month that he has confirmation from 16 Conservative senators that they will vote in favour of the bill. 
“But you don’t know until you actually get there. If all 16 voted with us, then it would pass. It would be a little bit close, but it would pass,” Mitchell said.
The bill had earlier passed the House of Commons March 20 on a third reading by a vote of 149 to 137. Prime Minister Stephen Harper had voted against the bill, which received the support of 18 Tories — four more than the expected 14 — who said they would vote in favour of the bill only if gender expression were removed.
Before the Commons vote, Conservative MP Rob Anders presented a petition from his constituents who he claimed were concerned that the bill will allow sexual predators access to women’s washrooms.
Amanda Ryan, of Ottawa-based transgender support group Gender Mosaic, remarked at the time,
“I think the extreme views expressed by a lot of groups have actually worked in our favour, because it drew attention to the trans community, and we were able to talk to people and say, ‘No, this is not the case,’” she says. “When we go to the bathroom, we go to pee.”