Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Canada. Show all posts

August 2, 2019

A First : Prime Minister of Canada Visits A 🌈Gay Bar

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made history on Monday by stopping at a gay bar in Vancouver to mark the beginning of the city’s Pride week.
Trudeau took pictures and shook hands with patrons at the Fountainhead Pub — effectively becoming the first sitting Canadian prime minister to visit a gay bar. “Vancouver is gearing up for #Pride weekend right now, but the spirit of pride and inclusivity is strong here all year long!” Trudeau wrote on Twitter. “Thanks to the folks at @fountainheadVAN for the warm welcome today.”
This is not the first time Trudeau has shown his support for Canada’s LGBTQ community with a historic gesture.
In 2016, he became the first sitting prime minister to march in Toronto’s Pride Parade, the largest gay pride celebration in the country. And a year later, Trudeau publicly apologized to gay Canadians who were fired from their jobs and the military during the Cold War. He proposed the Expungement of Historically Unjust Convictions Act, which eradicated the records of Canadians previously convicted of consensual homosexual activity and which was passed last June.
The Canadian government also committed to paying $85 million to compensate victims of the so-called gay purge during this same session at the House of Commons in Ottawa.
“This is the devastating story of people who were branded criminals by the government — people who lost their livelihoods, and in some cases, their lives,” Trudeau said at the time.  
Trudeau was not the only political leader to make history this year during his country’s LGBTQ Pride festivities. For the first time in his nearly three-year tenure, President Donald Trump recognized the annual celebration, becoming the first Republican president to do so after President Bill Clinton officially established Pride Month in 1999.
"As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month and recognize the outstanding contributions LGBT people have made to our great Nation, let us also stand in solidarity with the many LGBT people who live in dozens of countries worldwide that punish, imprison or even execute individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation," Trump tweeted.
Trump's recognition of Pride Month, however, came amid a flurry of anti-LGBTQ activity by his administration, including rolling back health care rules aimed at helping LGBTQ people, opposing the passage of the Equality Act and banning transgender personnel from serving in the military.
Trudeau visited the Fountainhead Pub for only 15 minutes, news organizations reported, but it was long enough to leave an impression on customers.
“When the Canadian Prime Minister comes into a gay bar in Vancouver and asks your name. Living my best life,” one patron wrote on Instagram. 

December 31, 2018

He is Muslim, Kurd and Gay in Canada and The Journey Does Not Ends There

 Yusuf Celik, 31, didn’t come to Canada as a refugee, but immigrated from Turkey to escape the often violent discrimination that followed him most of his life because he’s gay. JULIE OLIVER /  POSTMEDIA

Yusuf Celik did not arrive in Canada as a refugee. But he did come here to escape the stream of discrimination that had followed him for most of his life.

The now 31-year-old man, who has worked on contract for the federal government in Ottawa, was born in Kâhta, a small mainly Kurdish town in the southeastern Turkish province of Adiyaman, and spent his first two decades dealing with blowback based on who he was.

As a young boy, Celik (pronounced Che-lik) would secretly wear his sister’s clothes and play a game with a young neighbor in which Celik was “mom” and the other lad was “dad.” At 14, he had his first sexual experience with another male teen.

In response, Celik’s devoutly Muslim parents sent him, the second-youngest of seven children, to a madrasa — an Islamic religious school — with the not-so-subtle message that his sexual orientation was to be curbed. News of honor killings of gay Turkish men added fear to the discouragement Celik was feeling. At the age of 16, he says, he tried to commit suicide.

Prejudice toward him turned to ethnic lines when he pursued his education, which included one year of fine arts studies in ceramics and glass at Istanbul University. Celik was regularly reminded that, as a Kurd, he was an outsider (although he points out that a DNA test he took revealed that his ancestry is 72 percent Armenian).

In 2009, he left Turkey for the West Coast of the United States, where he would live with one of his brothers in Portland, Ore., and, he hoped, begin a new life. 

Life in Ottawa beyond the shadows of Syria

Celik enrolled at a community college to fine-tune his English-language skills and prepare for university studies. He got involved in student politics. He was with family.

But before Celik had the chance to complete his college program, his brother noticed something on a shared data-plan they had for their cellphones. Celik was visiting gay websites.

“He kicked me out of the house and threatened to send me back to Turkey,” says Celik, who found refuge at a friend’s house and jobs working in room service at a Westin hotel (for which he got paid) and chopping vegetables at a Syrian restaurant kitchen (for which he received food) to survive.

He earned enough money to afford a one-room apartment and attend Portland State University, from which he obtained an undergraduate degree in Middle East studies and political science.

Celik, who embraced social activism during his university days in Istanbul, openly expressed his views on LGBTQ rights — much to the horror of his brother, who threatened to kill him.

Yusuf Celik, 31, didn’t come to Canada as a refugee but immigrated from Turkey to escape the often violent discrimination that followed him most of his life because he’s gay. JULIE OLIVER / POSTMEDIA

It was time for Celik to move on again, and this time he eyed Ottawa, where lived a gay man he had met and befriended in Istanbul in 2008 and with whom he had stayed in touch.

In 2011, Celik came to visit his friend in Ottawa for three months. The following year they got married, and Celik formally immigrated to Canada in 2013. (The couple recently divorced.)

In Ottawa, Celik added to his academic credentials, earning a master’s degree from Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in 2016 when he landed his first full-time job as a program assistant — on contract — screening applications from prospective immigrants at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Last year, he was on a six-month contract with the non-profit Institute on Governance working on fiscal federalism, decentralization and resiliency-building project in Iraq, which involved traveling there to meet with officials from both the Iraqi and Kurdistan regional governments.

Celik, who recently worked as a policy and research analyst for Fisheries and Oceans Canada and, as of January, will work as a research analyst for Public Services and Procurement Canada. This past spring, Celik also acquired Canadian citizenship and has also been involved in fundraising for Syrian refugees.

Based on his personal experience as an immigrant who had to find a new life in Canada, he says he believes the system here can favor over other newcomers.

“Immigrants also bring the luggage of trauma with them – and I find that we sometimes treat citizens worse than refugees in this country. The federal government has to treat all immigrants and refugees equally.”

His opinions point to the layers and nuance between different communities, including among newcomers in this country.

Given his life’s journey, it is perhaps not surprising that Celik is an activist in many ways. A practicing Muslim, he says Canada needs to take more of a leadership role in defending the rights of LGBTQ people — refugees or not – and particularly, gay Muslim men, whom he says are the “most oppressed” group around the world.

To empower gay Muslims, promote their rights and help create safe spaces for them, Celik started Gay Muslims United, earlier this year — an organization he hopes will have an international reach, but still a focus close to home. For instance, he would like the LGBTQ community in Canada to include more Muslims in committee and paid work.

While outspoken, he is also vocal about his admiration for his new home country.

In a YouTube video about his journey to Canada, Celik says it is the only country where he “could live proudly gay as well as proudly Muslim.”

December 23, 2018

Many Canadians Efforts To Rid The Nation of Conversion Therapy

 By Jessica Murphy
BBC News, Toronto. 
Thousands of Canadians have rallied behind two petitions calling for a nationwide ban of conversion therapy. It's part of a wider global trend condemning the practice. 
Peter Gajdics came out as gay to his family when he was 23. His staunchly Catholic parents rejected his homosexuality, and he left home. 
But Gajdics found himself struggling with deep depression and with feeling alienated and estranged, and his doctor referred him to a psychiatrist.
That psychiatrist centred on Gajdics' sexuality as the problem, telling him that abuse he suffered as a child created a "false notion" that he was homosexual. 
"So the goal in my therapy would be to work through my 'trauma' and therefore I would revert to my innate heterosexuality," says Gajdics. "Everything about my therapy became focused to do that." 

Author Peter GajdicsImage copyrightCOURTESY ERICH SAIDE
Image captionAuthor Peter Gajdics has campaigned against conversion therapy for some 20 years

The treatments grew increasingly intense. He was prescribed a cocktail of psychiatric medications - antidepressants, a sedative and more - and told they were necessary "to silence the noise" of his homosexuality. 
The young Canadian man spent six years under the psychiatrist's care, eventually moving into a house with other patients, "isolated from the world, definitely not talking to family or former friends, which was prohibited". 
He finally left the treatment, got off the medications, and sued the doctor for medical malpractice. 
One of the grounds for his lawsuit, which was settled out of court in 2003, was that the psychiatrist had tried to treat Gajdics' homosexuality as a disease. 
For Gajdics, part of the process of reclaiming his life after that experience was to speak out against conversion therapy - sometimes also called "sexual reorientation", "reparative", or "gay cure" therapy.
He recognises what he went through was an extreme form of the practice, but the intended goal of any form of conversion therapy is the same: to attempt to change an LGBT person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
Conversion therapy has been widely discredited by major psychotherapy and medical associations in many countries, including Canada, the US and the UK, and is opposed by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations. 
Gajdics eventually wrote a memoir - The Inheritance of Shame - about his experience, and shortly before its release approached the city of Vancouver, where he lives, to lobby for a ban on the practice there. 
A motion to prohibit businesses from providing conversion therapy to minors passed in June.
Two provinces in Canada - Ontario and Manitoba - have also taken steps to limit conversion therapy within their jurisdictions. 
Now, there's a growing push for a nationwide ban. 
Two separate petitions have racked up tens of thousands signatures since being posted earlier this year. 

Devon Hargreaves and Jennifer TakahashiImage copyrightCOURTESY DEVON HARGREAVES
Image captionDevon Hargreaves and Jen Takahashi launched a petition to ban conversion therapy in Canada

"In 2018, there's no reason that Canada, which considers itself a forerunner in human rights, to be allowing the practice," Devon Hargreaves, who helped launch one of those campaigns, tells the BBC.
The petition, which has more than 11,200 signatures so far, calls on Canadian legislators to ban conversion therapy for minors and to prohibit taking minors outside of the country for such purposes. 
The second petition, started by It Gets Better Canada, an affiliate of the US-based non-profit organisation that supports LGBT youth, has over 58,400 signatures. 
That petition calls on the federal government to clearly state that Canada "opposes the use of conversion therapy and other related treatments" and to develop policies to prevent anyone from attempting to alter a minor's sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (R) at a Vancouver Pride paradeImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionPrime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau (R) at a Vancouver Pride parade

It Gets Better Canada's Chris Gudgeon says people have two reactions when they hear about the group's efforts to ban the practice: "'I can't believe this is happening in Canada', or 'this happened to me and it's time we ban it''. 
Only three countries in the world - Ecuador, Brazil, and Malta - ban conversion therapy. 
But a number of factors have brought the issue into the open in recent years. 
"There was this strange moment where all of a sudden conversion therapy caught people's attention," says Gudgeon. 
Three years ago, former US President Barack Obama spoke out against the practice after the suicide of a transgender teenager who posted online about religious therapists trying to turn her back into a boy. 
This year saw Hollywood release two films that centre on conversion therapy. 
Boy Erased is based on American writer Garrard Conley's personal experience with conversion therapy in Bible belt southern US. 

Boy Erased author Garrard Conley (L) and director and actor Joel Edgerton attend a screening of the filmImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionBoy Erased author Garrard Conley (L) and director and actor Joel Edgerton attend a screening of the film

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, which took home one of the top prizes at the latest Sundance film festival, tells the fictional tale of a gay teenage girl sent to a conversion camp in the 1990s.
Lucas Ramon Mendos, who researches conversion therapy legislation worldwide for The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, says he has seen a shift in the debate over the past year. 
"There's a lot happening, it's taking various forms, not just bills," he tells the BBC. 
He points to efforts in Australia and Spain, and to China, where last year a court ruled against a hospital that had forced a gay man into conversion therapy, ordering a public apology and compensation. 
In the US, a record number of states have tabled proposed legislation to tackle the issue amid a national "50 Bills, 50 States" campaign to ensure protections across the country. 
In July, the UK announced plans to bring forward proposals to end conversion therapy, which it called a "harmful practice". 
Mendos says that "for the first time victims have had the courage and the tools and the space to come out and speak about this". 

People protest against a Brazilian judge's decision to approve conversion therapyImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPeople protest against a Brazilian judge's decision to approve conversion therapy, throwing Brazil's ban into doubt

"This is one of the issues in which victims were forced into a scheme of shame, were harmed through these techniques, of questioning the self-identity of a person." 
There are no current statistics on the practice in Canada, but a 2017 UK government survey of LGBT citizens indicated that 2% of respondents had undergone conversion therapy and a further 5% had been offered it. 
Faith organisations were by far the most likely to have carried out the practice, according to the report.
In the US, an estimated 700,000 LGBT adults have received conversion therapy, about half when they were in their teens, according to research out of the University of California at Los Angeles.

Chris GudgeonImage copyrightCOURTESY TOM BO
Image captionChris Gudgeon

Researchers also estimated that some 20,000 LGBT teens between 13 and 17 will receive some form of the therapy from a medical professional and another 57,000 from a religious adviser. 
Those who monitor conversion therapy say they've noticed a shift in recent years away from organisations promising a "cure" to offering instead the ability to suppress any expression of an LGBT individual's sexuality. 
Gudgeon says he thinks that those who offer some form of conversion therapy often believe they are trying to help youth struggling with their identity. 
Many LGBT youth coming to terms with their sexuality "want to stop feeling conflicted", he says. 
Having support can be vital, he says, but "the fact is, that going to a therapy that tries to talk you into being somebody you're not isn't going to help you. It doesn't solve the conflict". 

Media captionChloe Grace Moretz: "My brothers tried to pray the gay away"

Both Hargreaves and Gudgeon are hopeful for a positive response on their respective campaigns from Justin Trudeau's Liberal government, which has made efforts to support LGBT Canadians in the past. 
Hargreaves' petition, filed on the parliamentary e-petition site, is guaranteed a formal response since it surpassed the 500 signature benchmark for a government response the night it was posted. 
Gajdics, who has been campaigning against the practice for some 20 years, says he is " thrilled" at the growing international scrutiny. 
"It's been a long, long time coming," he says. 
"It's such a deep, deep transgression and violation of the gay person, of the lesbian person, of the trans person, it cuts to such a deep level psychically, emotionally."

December 18, 2018

Canada Wants Out From Arms Deal with The Saudis

The British are grinching and hopping Theresa May might be convince to sell more to the Arabs, PM Justin Tradeau is not playing politics here but seems to be going by his consience. It used to be the unwritten law that the US knew what it was doing with the Arabs and if they were going to sell to them then why not Canada. No one thought the price of the friends of the US are paying for doing what they always did, pay ear to the US. Those times are gone!  AdamG 


OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking in an interview that aired on Sunday, said for the first time that his Liberal government was looking for a way out of a multibillion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

The comments represented a notable hardening in tone from Trudeau, who previously said there would be huge penalties for scrapping the $13 billion agreement for armored vehicles made by the Canadian unit of General Dynamics Corp. 

Last month, Trudeau said Canada could freeze the relevant export permits if it concluded the weapons had been misused.

“We are engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” Trudeau told CTV. He did not give further details.

Political opponents, citing the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Yemen war, insist Trudeau should end the General Dynamics deal, which was negotiated by the previous Conservative government.

Relations between Ottawa and Riyadh have been tense since a diplomatic dispute over human rights earlier this year. Ottawa says it has been consulting allies on what steps to take after Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

“The murder of a journalist is absolutely unacceptable and that’s why Canada from the very beginning had been demanding answers and solutions on that,” said Trudeau.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Cooney
Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

June 16, 2018

The Canadian Supreme Court Rules LGBT Rights Trump Religious Rights

                                                                                Me quiero ir al Canada.             

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OTTAWA,  (LifeSiteNews) – The Supreme Court of Canada ruled today that LGBT sexual equality rights trump religious rights in an unprecedented blow against religious freedom in Canada.
In a pair of 7-2 rulings (here and here), the court ruled that it was "proportionate and reasonable" for the law societies of British Columbia and Ontario to refuse accreditation to future Trinity Western University students because the proposed Christian law school’s "community covenant" would discriminate against LGBTQ people.
"In our respectful view, the [law societies] decision not to accredit Trinity Western University's proposed law school represents a proportionate balance between the limitation on the Charter right at issue and the statutory objectives the [law societies] sought to pursue," the ruling stated.
The ruling means that future grads from Trinity Western University's law school will not be able to practice law in Ontario and B.C.
TWU, a private Christian college associated with the Evangelical Free Church, requires students to sign a commitment to refrain from any sexual activity “that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”
A majority of five judges, Rosalie Abella, Michael Moldaver, Andromache Karakatsanis, Richard Wagner and Clement Gascon ruled the law societies’ decisions were reasonable. 
Then-Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Malcolm Rowe agreed but for different reasons, set out in separate opinions. 
“Freedom of religion protects the rights of religious adherents to hold and express beliefs through both individual and communal practices. Where a religious practice impacts others, however, this can be taken into account at the balancing stage. In this case, the effect of the mandatory Covenant is to restrict the conduct of others,” McLachlin wrote in her opinion on the appeal by the Law Society of British Columbia.
“The LSBC’s decision prevents the risk of significant harm to LGBTQ people who feel they have no choice but to attend TWU’s proposed law school. These individuals would have to deny who they are for three years to receive a legal education. Being required by someone else’s religious beliefs to behave contrary to one’s sexual identity is degrading and disrespectful.”
Justices Brown and Côté dissented, writing that the majority “betrays the promise of our Constitution that rights limitations must be demonstrably justified.”
"Under the LSBC’s governing statute, the only proper purpose of a law faculty approval decision is to ensure the fitness of individual graduates to become members of the legal profession. The LSBC’s decision denying approval to TWU’s proposed law school has a profound impact on the s. 2 (a) rights of the TWU community,” they wrote.
“Even if the LSBC’s statutory ‘public interest’ mandate were to be interpreted such that it had the authority to take considerations other than fitness into account, approving the proposed law school is not contrary to the public interest objectives of maintaining equal access and diversity in the legal profession. Nor does it condone discrimination against LGBTQ persons. In our view, then, the only decision reflecting a proportionate balancing between Charter rights and the LSBC’s statutory objectives would be to approve TWU’s proposed law school.”
Observers predicted the top court’s highly anticipated Trinity Western University decision would have far-reaching implications for faith-based institutions and their participation in society.
The seven justices who concurred in the majority decision are: McLachlin, Richard Wagner, Rosalie Abella, Michael Moldaver, Andromache Karakatsanis, Clement Gascon, and Malcolm Rowe.
The Supreme Court heard two appeals, one brought by TWU and the other by the Law Society of British Columbia, as well as arguments from a staggering 32 interveners, represented by 56 lawyers, last November 30 and December 1.
Then-Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin made an unprecedented decision in August to allow all 26 LGBTQ interveners, overruling a previous decision by Justice Richard Wagner to pare the number down to fit a traditional one-day hearing.
Underscoring the political nature of the case, McLachlin did so after LGBTQ activists took to Twitter to complain. The Court subsequently took the rare step of issuing a press release explaining the decision.
Friday’s rulings end a legal odyssey that began when TWU applied in 2012 to open a law school, but was preemptively challenged by the law societies in British Columbia, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.
They refused to grant accreditation to TWU graduates on the grounds that the Covenant violated Charter equality provisions by discriminating against homosexual, bisexual, and transgendered persons, as well as those with a different sexual moral code.
In the case of BC, the decision was based on a binding referendum the law society held in 2014 after members demanded it rescind a decision to accept TWU graduates.
TWU fought the ruling in all provinces, arguing the Charter protects its freedom of religion.
It won in Nova Scotia and B.C., but lost in Ontario, when Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in June 2016 TWU’s covenant “is deeply discriminatory to the LGBTQ community.”
Both TWU and B.C.’s law society appealed to the top court.
Interveners in the case included Ontario’s Liberal government, which compared Trinity’s covenant to treating LGBTQ persons as Ontario treated Jews 200 years ago by banning non-Christians from the legal profession.
Other groups intervening against TWU included West Coast LEAF; Start Proud; Egale Canada Human Rights Trust; British Columbia Humanist Association; Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans People of the University of Toronto; and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.
Among groups intervening for TWU were the Catholic Civil Rights League, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, Association for Reformed Political Action, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver, and the National Coalition of Catholic Trustees Association.
TWU fought and won a similar legal battle in 2001, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the B.C. College of Teachers could not deny accreditation to TWU education graduates because of the community covenant.
Lianne LaurenceFollow Lianne

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