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Justin Trudeau says banning traumatising conversion therapy is ‘top priority’ and you just love to see it

Emma Powys Maurice December 16, 2019
Justin Trudeau

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, pictured in 2018. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Media/Getty)

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has made a nationwide ban on the controversial practise of conversion therapy a “top priority” for his new government.

In a letter to the country’s justice secretary on Friday, Trudeau listed a number of priorities he expects government officials to deliver on. It includes amending the Criminal Code to ban conversion therapy, and taking steps to definitively end the practise across all of Canada’s provinces and territories.

Medical experts consider interventions to change someone’s sexual orientation to be pseudo-scientific and ineffective, and often incredibly harmful to the individual undergoing the ‘therapy’.

Several Canadian provinces have restrictions on forms of conversion therapy but the country does not yet have an outright ban. Last year 70,0000 Canadians signed a petition calling for the government to outlaw it, but it was rejected by the federal government which argued that it was largely a provincial and territorial issue.

Trudeau’s latest decision to push ahead with a nationwide ban was welcomed by the country’s LGBT+ activists and allies.

“This is a real opportunity for Canada to show leadership on the world stage when it comes to passing the strongest legislation in the world. To clearly demonstrate that conversion therapy has no place in our society or civilisation,” said longtime anti-conversion therapy advocate, professor Kristopher Wells.

Canadian politician S Chandra Herbert tweeted: “Great to see the federal government has heard the loud request from LGBTQ Canadians, and many allies to ban conversion therapy in all provinces and territories across Canada.

“I will work with the Minister, and anyone else to see this horrible practice ended everywhere.”

Justin Trudeau has also urged the justice secretary to develop options for legal remedies for victims of hate speech.

More: Canada, conversion therapy, conversion therapy ban, hate speech, Justin Trudeau

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