A bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against transgender Canadians was approved by the House of Commons on Wednesday.
The Opposition private member’s legislation passed by a vote of 149-137, with the crucial support of 16 Conservatives, including four cabinet ministers. John Baird, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Labour Minister Lisa Raitt and Heritage Minister James Moore were among the Conservatives who supported the bill. Opposition parties were united in their support for the bill, sponsored by New Democrat Randall Garrison. (MPs are generally free to vote as they see fit on private members’ bills.)
“Today, New Democrats are proud to have contributed to ensuring equal protection under the law from discrimination and hatred based on gender identity,” Garrison said in a statement after the vote.
While some MPs argued that the transgendered were already protected on the basis of sex and disability, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal said it would be better to have explicit protection so that the question is not perpetually challenged.