Sunday, May 23, 2010


Last November a new guide for immigrants to Canada was issued by the federal government. Significantly it omitted references to the decriminalization of gay people and recognition of gay marriage. This was despite the fact that said references had been included in previous drafts of the pamphlet. The responsibility for the omission lays with Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney who vetoed the sections.

Now no doubt Minister Kenney would like it very much if gay people had no such protection in Canada, but they do. I guess the next best thing in his mind, petty as such an action might be, is to eliminate all references to this fact in any matter that he has power over ie to lie by omission. The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has a campaign to pressure the Minister to reinsert the missing sections. Here's the story.
Tell Jason Kenney:
Equal rights are an important part of being Canadian
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney blocked references to LGBTTI rights in a new study guide for immigrants, which was released last November. News of the actions taken by Kenney, who opposed same-sex marriage when it was debated in Parliament, has just become public.

Documents show Kenney chose to omit references to Canada’s decriminalization of homosexual sex and recognition of same-sex marriage rights despite recommendations from his senior department officials. Both references were contained in earlier drafts of the 63-page guide.

Canada has been a leader in rights for LGBTTI persons. We guarantee same-sex spousal pensions and benefits. We have equal rights to marriage. These are hard won rights that Canadians and CUPE members are proud of and should be recognized in documents that our federal government produces.

By putting pressure on Minister Kenney, we can make sure that Canada's citizenship guide promotes the importance of the fundamental freedoms and rights outlined in the Charter.

Please go to this link to send the following letter to Minister Kenney.

I am writing to condemn your decision to remove all references to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans rights from Canada’s new guide for immigrants released last November.

The booklet provides immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship with information about Canada and why our country is a great place to live and work for everyone, especially members of the LGBTTI community.

As a representative of our federal government, you have a responsibility to uphold the rights of all Canadians as guaranteed under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Under Canadian law, all citizens have the right to freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

I demand that all references to these rights be put back into the guide and further that your department proudly promote the importance of these rights to citizenship applicants.

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