OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Bill Siksay

Election Kills Trans Rights Bill

March 30th, 2011

A School House Rock bill gets trampled by election-happy politicians.

Canada will be heading to the polls on May 2nd to hopefully vote out a government that has made repeated attempts to deny equal rights to GLBT Canadians.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, though, it has a disappointing side effect: Bill C-389, NDP MP Bill Siksay’s private member’s bill that would guarantee the equal rights of trans Canadians, has been killed on the table. The bill, which previously passed all three readings in the House of Commons (despite near-unanimous opposition from Stephen Harper’s Conservatives), had not yet passed the Senate when this spring’s election was called.

It’s a little sad, particularly since this was Siksay’s last term as an MP, so he won’t be around to personally re-introduce the bill in the next parliament or see it passed on his watch. There is a good chance it will be re-introduced, though—and private member’s bills often resume where they left off after an election, so it’s basically just a question of who’s going to sponsor the bill.

To make it fun, I’ll be accepting Vegas odds on Stephen Harper. Takers?

Harper Votes Against Trans Rights Bill

February 11th, 2011

Canada’s historic trans rights bill, C-389, passed its third and final reading in the House of Commons on Wednesday.

The bill, sponsored by NDP MP Bill Siksay, explicitly adds gender identity to the list of identifiable groups protected against discrimination in housing, employment, and services in the Canadian Human Rights Act. While that’s excellent news, what’s not so excellent was the bill’s narrow vote margin: 143 to 135 against.

So, which party had the most Nay votes, I ask uselessly?

Why, it’s the Conservatives. In fact, only six Tory MPs present on Wednesday voted in favour of the bill, with the rest voting against it (either explicitly or through pairing). The Nay votes included Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who until Wednesday hadn’t previously voted on the bill.

I guess that means we shouldn’t be holding our breath for his It Gets Better video.

The bill now moves on to the Conservative-controlled senate, where it’s future is a tad uncertain. Nonetheless, trans Canadians have a reason to celebrate this week. Enjoy the victory; finally the missing T is well on its way to be added to the existing equal rights protections for GLB Canadians!

Olivia Chow Trades Spots To Get Trans Rights Bill Ahead

February 4th, 2011

Olivia Chow holds back a raging lobbyist, urging Bill Siksay to go on ahead.

Bill C-389, which would add protections for gender identity in Canada’s human rights laws, is being given a stronger chance of passing thanks to NDP MP, Olivia Chow.

Chow has traded debating spots with the bill’s sponsor, NDP MP Bill Siksay, pushing the bill’s third reading vote to this Wednesday instead of much later. Talk of a spring election previously put the bill in jeopardy, since an election would effectively kill all unfinished bills on the table.

“[It’s] important to get the trans bill voted on at third reading and have it done just in case…” Chow told Xtra this week. “Also, Bill is not running again, and I want to make sure that the trans bill becomes law, and that will be part of his legacy.”

The bill had been aggressively attacked by anti-gay lobbyists, with one even suggesting that it would lead to cross-dressing serial killers showering next to young girls in public pools. In reality, the bill simply affords equal rights protections with respect to housing, employment, and services for trans Canadians.

The bill has previously passed two readings, but still faces a third before it’s sent to the Senate. Here’s hoping for a speedy passage!

Charles McVety Throws Fits Over Gender Rights Bill

November 19th, 2010

Charles McVety stands in the middle of a ladies locker room, announcing he's there to protect ladies from creeps.

Charles McVety, the president of Canada Family Action Coalition, Canada’s largest anti-gay lobby group, has ramped up his opposition to Bill C-389. The bill, if passed, will prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, giving transgendered men and women equal rights in housing, employment, and public services.

This, of course, has thrown McVety into utter fits, conjuring some pretty bizarre ideas. “As adults,” he told the media, “we can handle these things, but my daughter turned 13 on Saturday, and I don’t want some guy showering beside her at the local swimming pool.”

McVety continued, saying that the bill would allow people like convicted killer Russell Willams, who was photographed wearing women’s lingerie, to enter gender-restricted spaces.

Well, I hate to alarm McVety, but convicted killers can already enter locker rooms in public pools. Karla Homolka could be in his daughter’s locker room right now. Heck, there could be murderers in the men’s locker room too. Who knows who’s waiting to jump out from behind the shower curtains? No one is safe from the these maniac killers—no one! What was that sound?! AAAAAH!

Bill Siksay, the Bill’s sponsor, put it eloquently: “I think this is Mr. McVety being his alarmist best, once again, when it comes to an issue of human rights, equal rights, for minorities in Canada.” Clarifying the obvious, Siksay continued: “There is nothing in this bill that will change our understanding of appropriate behaviour in public washrooms or in gendered spaces.”

Indeed, transgendered people can largely already use the gendered spaces with which they identify, and it hasn’t even entered my mind that they’d somehow be any more likely to be voyeurs or act inappropriately than anyone else. Bill C-389 is simply about ending discrimination, particularly with regards to employment and other standard rights. And as it enters its third and final reading, things are looking promising, regardless of whatever paranoia McVety is content on spreading.

Third Time’s A Charm For Transgender Rights Bill?

June 21st, 2010

An unstoppable trans machine: a cybernetic transbotA private member’s bill that would explicitly add human rights protections for transgender and transsexual persons has made it past second reading in the House of Commons this month.

This is the third time that Bill Siksay has attempted to add these protections into Canada’s Human Rights Act and Criminal Code. The previous attempts had been thwarted when parliament was strategically suspended by the Conservative Party, once for an election, and again when parliament was prorogued in January.

The bill has support from every party, except the Conservatives, who are arguing that protections for trans people are already covered by existing clauses preventing discrimination based on sex and disability. Siksay, as well as I, believe that these protections need to be explicit. This will not only remove any doubt for interpretation, should these protections ever be brought before a judge, but also sends a message to trans people that they are recognized and valued in Canada. But something tells me that the Conservatives aren’t really against what they perceive as redundancies; they just don’t typically like to be seen supporting rights for GLBT Canadians.

Having passed second reading is a really encouraging milestone, and a good indication that this bill might actually make it all the way through this time. Best of luck with the bill, Bill!

A very special hat tip goes to Slap reader Melanie for the story.

MP Introduces Sex Reassignment Bill

June 10th, 2009

Or, if you prefer the non-technical term, "moving."

NDP MP Bill Siksay, fresh off of introducing the trans-friendly Bill C-389, has introduced a new bill that would ensure gender reassignment surgery is available and covered by our health care system.

Gender reassignment, though poorly understood by the general population, can radically improve the lives of transgendered individuals at a negligible cost to the health care system.

This bill would have been unnecessary, except that Alberta delisted sex reassignment surgery from public health coverage in April, claiming that it was necessary to help save the economy. Alberta officials supposedly wrote a report containing all the facts to back this claim up, but the dog ate it. Plus, there weren’t any working pens or pencils in their house. And they didn’t know it was due today, anyway.

MP Keeps On Trying For Transgender Rights Bill

May 20th, 2009

I took a brief vacation in the future to research this illustration.

NDP MP Bill Siksay, one of Canada’s first openly gay MPs, is once again introducing a private member’s bill to add transsexual and transgendered people to the list of minorities protected from hate crimes.

This is the third time the bill has been tabled, and Mr. Siksay has high hopes that it will actually be debated this time. The bill had been killed twice before it had an opportunity to be debated due to the dissolution and prorogation of parliament in previous sessions.

Persistence is key! Here’s hoping it gets some attention this time around.

LifeSite Hearts Scare Quotes

January 2nd, 2008

Sneer Quotes

Bill Siksay, the New Democratic Party MP for Burnaby-Douglas, has introduced a bill that would explicitly add transgendered people to the list of identifiable minorities protected from violent hate crimes.

This is fantastic news, if a tad later than desirable. And, for the most part, the press has reported this story with professional neutrality.

Say, let’s see how those amusingly partisan scribes at LifeSite are reporting this:

Now its the “transgendered” who are being presented as an “identifiable group” against whom it would be a criminal offence to “discriminate.” […]

The “transgender” phenomenon, it is said, occurs when a person’s personal “gender identity” does not match that “assigned” by biology, their parents, or society’s expectations. […]

While those who consider themselves “transgendered” usually claim they were “wrongly” “born into the body” of the opposite sex and that this can be “corrected” with a combination of surgery and hormone treatments, the biological sex of an individual is genetically determined from the first instant of the fusion of ovum and sperm.

Ten pairs of quotation marks used inside three sentences? Why, I believe we have a new scare quote record! I can actually taste the sneers—the contempt! Why, they even incorporated one in the article’s title: Canadian MP Introduces “Transgender” to the Hate Crimes Act.

Kudos, LifeSite. “Kudos.”

By the way, Happy New Year, kids! I’m back from my little break and I hope you all had a fantastically amazing holiday. Here’s to another great year!

NDP Boycotts Homophobic Artists

October 3rd, 2007

Elephant Man Performance

The federal New Democrats have called for a boycott of Jamaican musicians Elephant Man and Sizzla. Both are currently touring in Canada, though several venues have canceled performances and refunded tickets after the nature of their lyrics, which calls for the murder of gays, was brought to their attention.

NDP MP Bill Siksay said that these sort of performances have no place in Canada:

I hope that fans of Jamaican dancehall music will appreciate that a vibrant musical tradition should not be used as a cover for the promotion of hatred. I hope that they will choose to boycott performances.

A spokesperson for Elephant Man offered a signed declaration stating that anti-gay songs would not be performed, but Stop Murder Music, a Jamaican activist group, said that past declarations aren’t “worth the paper [they’re] printed on,” once the artist returns to Jamaica, where anti-gay violence is rampant.

The Yogyakarta Principles

April 23rd, 2007

Yogyakarta Principles

Bill Siksay, the openly gay NDP MP for Burnaby–Douglas, has tabled a motion calling on the government to recognise the Yogyakarta Principles.

The Yogyakarta Principles, as you know, is a three-week breakfast challenge designed to keep you regular through a scientifically formulated probiotic culture.

Wait, wait. No, sorry; it’s a four week challenge. And I might be confusing it with a set of international standards affirming rights for gay and lesbian people everywhere.

The principles, which were affirmed at a human rights convention in Geneva last month, apply existing international declarations and legal precedent to ensure governments extend equal treatment to their people. Specifically, they aim to end violence, abuse, and discriminatory laws for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people everywhere.

While Canada seems to be making OK progress in this respect on its own, it really wouldn’t hurt if the current government did something to affirm these standards. You know, something other than—oh, I don’t know—hiring anti-gay lobbyists to prominent government positions, appointing judges with a legally unsound anti-gay bias, scrapping programs designed to help keep unconstitutional laws in check, attempting to overturn 8 consecutive court decisions affirming equal marriage, drafting bills to legitimize discrimination for civil servants, and so forth.

So, will the NDP motion pass? That depends. Shall you commence the breath-holding, or shall I?

Tories Quietly Reverse Discriminatory Law

February 2nd, 2007

Tory initiative

A discriminatory law from 2004 that disallowed same-sex spouses from sponsoring their partner for Canadian citizenship was quietly overturned by the Conservative government last week. In fact, the law was reversed so quietly, that it was announced by none other than NDP MP, Bill Siksay.

“Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley has informed the Standing Committee of Citizenship and Immigration that her department’s interim policy on same sex marriage […] has been annulled,” Siksay said in a press release, adding: “This is another important victory towards full equality of gay and lesbian Canadians.”

Now, there’s no word on why the Conservatives didn’t announce this change themselves, although I guess I could try to share some insight. Let’s see… They, uh, outsourced their policy announcements to the NDP?

No?

Well, perhaps Siksay’s voice resounds with Canadians more. Or—Oh! I know! The parties are merging! The New Canadian Democratic Conservative Reform Alliance. Yes, that sounds about right to me.