Time to Lobby MP’s for Transsexual and Transgender People

November 30, 2008

In Canada, we are in a pivotal moment in our political history.

There is an opportunity to unseat the Conservative Party whose Economic Update is completely unsatisfactory. Not learning from the history of R. B. Bennett in Canada–and Calvin Coolidge in the United States–that this is NOT the time to cut spending, raise taxes and sell off public assets in the vain hope of maintaining a balanced or possibly surplus budget.

While the Prime Minister Harper has been spouting what has become the international orthodoxy while away from Canada–that it is time to stimulate the Canadian economy to the tune of 2% of GDP, about $35 billion–at home he has permitted his finance minister–Jim Flaherty–to be the R. B. Bennett of today.

For the first time since Brian Mulroney’s government, the department of Finance’s figures have been challenged by a broad array of independent economists and others. It is a great danger to democracy when the government attempts to “cook the books” in support of an extreme ideology.

The opposition parties have shown strength in opposing this.

The Prime Minister, as the Toronto Star, among others, have said, has blinked.

The opposition parties, particular the New Democratic and Liberal Parties are in discussions to defeat the government and form a coalition for the good of all Canadians.

This gives us a rare opportunity to lobby for the human rights and hate crime protections for transsexual and transgender people.

Below is the basic email I have sent to the Liberal and New Democratic MP’s I have recently been in contact with for the Trans Day of Remembrance. I encourage all who support human rights and hate crime protection to send a similar email to their local MP and to any other MP’s they have been in contact with. Personal changes will carry great weight.

[MP’s name],

I’m writing this short note to encourage you and your party to continue to be strong, oppose the Conservatives’ totally unsatisfactory Economic Update and work to form a new government with the [New Democratic Party/Liberal Party]—this is in the best interests of all Canadians.

When you form the government, I know you won’t forget who B.C. author Christopher Shelley has called “among the most subjugated and marginalized of social groups”—transsexual and transgender people.

As the government, you will be able to proceed with Bill Siksay’s bill to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to include gender identity and gender expression as a matter of government policy which I encourage you to do at the earliest possible moment.

The lives transgender and transsexual people endure should never have been allowed to happen—this must not be allowed to continue.

If there is anything I can do to help in this project, please do not hesitate to ask.

Jessica Freedman