Queer Yukon has surveyed the territory’s federal candidates on issues of concern for the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
Mona Luxion, president of Queer Yukon, said “LGBTQIA2S+ Yukoners’ voices deserve to be heard on issues that matter to us and this survey helps bring those concerns to the table and make sure they’re front of mind for candidates and voters alike.”
The survey asked candidates’ opinions on LGBTQIA2S+ issues as a whole, on how to improve the lives of community members, on banning conversion therapy and increasing access to the justice system.
Conservative candidate Barbara Dunlop said members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community “can still face underlying discrimination when it comes to employment, housing and sadly their personal safety.”
Although she’s seen LGBTQIA2S+ members of her family lead “safe and more fulfilling lives, there is clearly more work to be done.”
Green candidate Lenore Morris said the LGBTQIA2S+ community face many issues from discrimination in housing and employment.
“All equity-seeking groups need allies and I try to be an ally,” Morris said.
Independent Jonas Smith said in his experience, minority groups don’t want special treatment, they want to be treated like everyone else, which he will “commit to promoting and defending.”
Dr. Brendan Hanley, the Liberal candidate, said in his professional career as the Yukon’s CMOH he’s attended the World Professional Association on Transgender Health conference and the Rainbow Health Ontario conference. These were important for the collective understanding of the health needs of LGBTQIA2S+ individuals.
NDP candidate Lisa Vollans-Leduc is the only candidate who identifies as part of the LGBTQIA2S+ community. In recent years, Vollans-Leduc has sat on the Human Rights Committee with the Public Service Alliance of Canada.
Improving LGBTQIA2S+ lives
Dunlop said the party will respect and protect the rights of all Canadians including all of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.
Morris committed to working to ensure Bill C-6, which prohibits conversion therapy, is re-introduced and passed in both houses of Parliament.
As an independent, Smith said he’d be able to meet directly with the LGBTQIA2S+ community and advocate “for you from a Yukon perspective.”
Hanley said the Liberal Party has made important investments in LGBTQIA2S+ services and community organizations to create safe places.
Vollans-Leduc said the NDP will work with the territory to ensure there’s equal access to gender-confirming surgery and these procedures are covered by public health plans.
On June 22, parliament passed Bill C-6 to make conversion therapy illegal.
All the candidates said they do not support conversion therapy.
Smith, however, said he’s not in favour of Bill C-6 as it is currently written. Queer Yukon told media after the survey that they were alarmed by Smith’s comments.
The final question queried how candidates would advocate for easier access to the legal system.
Dunlop said her starting point for legal recourse would begin with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Yukon Human Rights Act to listen to affected Yukoners.
Morris said they’d overhaul human rights legislation to ensure that identifying as non-binary is an enumerated ground and increase funding to human rights commissions for awareness campaigns.
Smith said discrimination is illegal under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and human rights apply to all citizens and must be upheld consistently.
Hanley supports a legal system that is free of barriers.
Vollans-Leduc said an NDP government will begin work immediately to ensure major cities have dedicated hate crime units and introduce anti-hate crime legislation into Parliament.
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