Citizenship Guide Finally Acknowledges Gay Canadians

March 16th, 2011

A man with a magnifying glass announced "I think I just got a shout-out. Woo!"

Canada’s immigration guide for newcomers, as you may remember, has been a little sparse when it comes to any mention of equal rights for GLBT citizens. In fact, the guide didn’t contain a single mention of these rights; that information was deliberately nixed in 2009 by the office of Jason Kenny, the Conservative minister for Immigration and Citizenship.

The omission was surprising, as many countries still harm people simply for having a different sexual orientation. It’s important that new Canadians are under no impression that Canada will tolerate the importation of that sort of prejudice.

It comes as welcome news, then, that the latest edition of the new citizenship guide includes a new, single sentence about the equal rights of gay and lesbian Canadians. “Canada’s diversity,” the guide notes, “includes gay and lesbian Canadians, who enjoy the full protection of and equal treatment under the law, including access to civil marriage.”

OK, so it’s a far cry from the entire section that was eliminated two years back, which reportedly included a history of these rights and acknowledgements of the struggles of GLBT Canadians, and there’s still no mention of Canada’s trans population. Still, it’s clearly better than the old guide, and considering that Jason Kenney has voted against equal rights on multiple occasions, getting any mention at all is more than I would have assumed.

(Thanks to Slap readers Viki and Premee for the story!)