Happy Pride Vancouver!

Dear Friends,

Happy Pride!  This year is special because it marks the 10th anniversary of same-sex marriage in Canada.

We need to take this opportunity to thank the community organizations, lawyers, and especially the brave couples who fought tirelessly in the courts to ensure that same-sex couples were no longer discriminated against when it came to marriage rights.  We also need to acknolwedge the progressive role of the courts at a time when many politicians were hesitant to act.

New Democrats are truly committed to equality. We are very proud to have had gay and lesbian members of our national Caucus since Svend Robinson first came out in 1988, and we are now equally proud to have 5 ‘out’ MPs in our Caucus to carry on the struggle for full equality for the LGBT community.

Although we’ve made great strides in Canada, there is still much work to be done to eliminate the hostility and ostracism that members of the LGBT(Q) community face in this country and around the world. In many countries, being homosexual is sadly still a crime and rates of cyberhomophobia are on the rise.

We are proud to stand in solidarity with the LGBT(Q) community as we renew our commitment to speaking out against discrimination, prejudice and violence. We are proud of our record of recognizing the right of every Canadian to live free from fear of persecution regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression.

For example, in March, the NDP bill to make violence against transgender Canadians a hate crime passed in the House of Commons.

New Democrats are committed to ensuring equality, diversity and understanding among all people. We will continue to work towards the day when the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and transsexual people are recognized here and around the world —once again, Happy Pride!


Happy Pride Vancouver!

Dear Friends,

Happy Pride! I’m pleased to celebrate Pride week in the City of Vancouver, spreading a message of hope and solidarity in our community. 

Federal New Democrats are dedicated to ensure that Canada supports the human rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans Canadians.  On June 6, 2012 my NDP colleagues and I were proud to support Bill C-279, an Act to Amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression. 

This bill has passed its second reading and will go to the Justice and Human Rights Committee for further debate – before a final vote in the fall to ratify Bill-279 into law.     

We have an opportunity here today to do something historic – affirm the rights of transgendered, transsexual and gender-variant Canadians who do not have the same degree of protection for their rights and freedoms as all other Canadians.       

As a community, our work is not done.  We must continue pressing issues of LGBTT Canadians, leading the way in making things better!

Today, Pride festivals give us the opportunity to celebrate accomplishments that we have made, as we look forward to the future where society is inclusive, respectful and fair for people of diverse sexual, cultural and social backgrounds. 

In Pride and Solidarity,