What an election could mean for Canada’s LGBTQ2S+ communities
At this point, it seems inevitable that a federal election will be called before the summer is out. And as much as I would like for this to signal a new round of pandering to queer and trans communities like corporations do every Pride month, I’ve been covering Canadian politics long enough to know that elections are not about us. They’re about pandering to suburban parents with small children and occasionally seniors. Nevertheless, every party wants our votes and wants to make themselves look like they’re going to be our best friends, so we should scratch beneath the surface of the paragraph about us that we’re going to get in each of their campaign platforms.
As in any election, one of the most important things we need to remember is that this is our chance to hold the government to account for their record. Often the accountability portion is overlooked in the rush to examine what the candidates are promising should they either stay in power or form a new government; but accountability remains one of the most important considerations, particularly in our Westminster parliamentary system. (As much as people think that proportional representation will give them progressive coalition governments in perpetuity, they’re also terrible about being able to hold a government to account when they can simply shuffle their coalition partners around every few years, like what happens in Germany.)
So, what about the Liberals’ record? Given how little legislation actually managed to pass over the last two years that wasn’t an emergency measure related to the pandemic, well, there hasn’t been much to add. Yes, they did pass legislation that protects gender identity and expression in the previous parliament, and yes, they established their LGBTQ2 Secretariat, whose work is now underway. But there hasn’t been much more than that. They failed to get the bill to ban conversion therapy passed, in spite of a valiant effort. In part, it was because of Conservative slow-walking, but ultimately, changes Justin Trudeau made to the Senate meant that he was reliant on a government leader in the Senate who was unprepared to use his powers to ensure the bill was passed either before the summer recess, or to recall the chamber to pass it in the summer.