Hours-long Regina Council Meeting Hears From Over 30 Speakers on Conversion Therapy Debate

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An hours-long Regina city council meeting Wednesday was dedicated to a city administration report surrounding the largely discredited practice of conversion therapy.

The report recommends Mayor Sandra Masters draft a letter backing Bill C-6, a federal bill prohibiting conversion therapy, and recommends city administration conduct almost a year’s worth of consultations to study the feasibility of a local conversion therapy ban.

The Canadian Psychological Association, Canadian Psychiatric Association and Canadian Paediatric Society have described conversion therapy as harmful to LGBTQ persons, the city administration said in a report.

The administration’s report first went to the city’s community wellness committee, which voted 4-1 on Apr. 19 in favor of having city administration study the feasibility of a local conversion therapy ban. Only Coun. John Findura voted against the ban.

The recommendation for the letter passed 3-2, with Findura and Coun. Terina Shaw against.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the city council heard from over 30 persons on the topic, with around an even split speaking for and against the proposals. Many from out of the province, including Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, participated in the video conference.

Joy Cowan, a reverend with Heritage United Church in Regina and a member of the LGBTQ community, called on the council to impose a local ban on conversion therapy, to show the city backs its diverse community.

LGBTQ persons have a right to exist and be who they are without fear of coercion or aggression, Cowan told the council.