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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 1, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 48

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Trudeau apologizes to the Canadian LGBT community
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Trudeau apologizes to the Canadian LGBT community

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized to his country's LGBT community in an emotional speech to parliament on November 28.

'Today, we offer a long overdue apology to all those whom we, the Government of Canada, wronged,' the prime minister said.

'We are sorry. We hope by acknowledging our failings we can make the crucial progress LGBTQ2 people in Canada deserve. We will continue to support each other in our fight for equality because we know that Canada gets stronger every single day that we choose to embrace diversity.'

Trudeau's official apology included 'state-sponsored, systemic oppression and rejection' of LGBT Canadians, as well as the suppression of 'two-spirit Indigenous values and beliefs' and 'abusing the power of the law, and making criminals of citizens.'

Trudeau's government also introduced legislation to expunge the criminal records of Canadians previously convicted of having consensual same-sex activity.

Canada decriminalized homosexuality in 1969, but records of prior convictions still remain on the books. The bill earmarks $4 million Canadian ($3.11 million US) over the next two fiscal years to carry out the destruction of these criminal records.

Trudeau also announced that an agreement had been reached in a class-action lawsuit for $110 million Canadian ($85.80 million US) to be paid out to former civil servants and members of the military who lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation. A ban on Lesbian and Gay military service persisted until 1992.

The text of Trudeau's statement was crafted by an advisory committee of representatives from the Canadian government and LGBT rights organizations, including Egale Canada Human Rights Trust Executive Director Helen Kennedy, who said the apology has 'been a long time coming.'

Kennedy said Tuesday's apology was an important 'acknowledgement of LGBTQ2 identities and LGBTQ2 lives,' but, she added, 'there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of the systemic changes.'

'We have huge amounts of work still do here in Canada. We have very high rates of LGBTQ2 youth homelessness, housing is a big issue, unemployment, access to health care& We have a blood ban in effect for men who have sex with men,' she explained.

Leaders of Canada's main opposition parties echoed Trudeau's sentiments.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer condemned past policies for failing to protect citizens and public employees from 'overreaching governments.'

Guy Caron, the New Democratic Party's parliamentary leader in the House, praised NDP member Svend Robinson, the first openly Gay member of Parliament and an activist on LGBT rights issues. Robinson, now retired from politics, traveled to Ottawa and sat in the gallery for the historic apology.



Perhaps the most "historic" speech todate about LGBTQ2?

Watch Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a historic apology to LGBT Canadians in the House of Commons, saying sorry for decades of "state-sponsored, systematic oppression and rejection."

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Trudeau apologizes to the Canadian LGBT community
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And block anti-immigrant/anti-sanctuary city law in Texas

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Trans people of color speak out for World AIDS Day

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Enough is enough: Lambda Legal condemns U.S. Senate for handing architect of Trump administration's anti-LGBT agenda lifetime appointment on powerful DC Circuit Court
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Updated International Human Rights Principles for the Treatment of LGBTI People released
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