Canadian MPs – both Liberal and Conservative – have voted unanimously to ban discredited conversion practices that seek to change a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to the Guardian, there was a “surprise motion on Wednesday by the Conservatives to fast-track the legislation.”

The choice to fast-track the bill meant lawmakers didn’t need to record their votes, avoiding the routine legislative debate.

Rare Display Of Unanimity In Parliament

The decision was met with applause from both sides of politics in the House of Commons. In a rare display of unanimity, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other Liberal ministers crossed the aisle to hug and shake hands with their Conservative counterparts. 

David Lametti, the Canadian Justice Minister, praised the Conservatives for fast-tracking the bill. 

“There are clearly people in the Conservative caucus who exercised a great deal of leadership on the issue, and I thank them,” he said. “This is what we can do when Parliament works together.”

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole is pro-LGBTQI rights and has influenced a progressive stance on issues since assuming leadership.

According to a Deutsche Welte news report, “a recent survey revealed that 47,000 Canadian men who identify as part of a minority sexuality group had been subjected to conversion therapy.”

Protecting The Dignity Of LGBTQI People

Justice Lametti tweeted that the bill was “about protecting the dignity and equality rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit individuals, by criminalizing conversion therapy-related conduct. If passed, #BillC6 will make Canada’s criminal laws on the so-called conversion therapy the most progressive and comprehensive in the world.”

The bill will be passed onto Canada’s Senate for a separate vote prior to it officially becoming law.

“I dream of the day when LGBTQI issues are no longer political footballs. And we are one day closer to that future,” said gay Liberal MP Randy Boissonnault. 

One of the Liberal Party’s main 2019 election pledges was to criminalise conversion practices. 

In March 2020, a version of the bill was introduced and supported by most lawmakers. Despite its support, the bill was shortly derailed as Parliament dissolved for summer break and the COVID-19 pandemic started.

A second version was passed in June this year by a vote of 263 to 63 in Parliament’s lower house. However, it failed to pass the Senate before Trudeau called an election and cleared the legislative agenda. 

Brazil, Ecuador, Malta and Germany are the only other countries in the world to have criminalised conversion therapy practice.  In Australia, conversion practices have been banned in Victoria, Queensland and the ACT. 


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