Conservative MP Derek Sloan attends a Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. A proposed bill banning forcing someone into therapy to alter their sexual orientation is turning into a political fundraising tool. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Conservative MP Derek Sloan attends a Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. A proposed bill banning forcing someone into therapy to alter their sexual orientation is turning into a political fundraising tool. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Bill to ban conversion therapy being turned into political fundraising tool

Conservative MP and failed leadership candidate Derek Sloan is asking his supporters to help him raise $25,000

A proposed bill seeking to make it illegal to force someone into therapy to alter their sexual orientation or gender identity is turning into a political fundraising tool.

Conservative MP and failed leadership candidate Derek Sloan is asking his supporters to help him raise $25,000 for his re-election bid on the strength of his effort to fight against the bill.

Sloan has long been opposed to the legislation, and used it during his leadership campaign to rally supporters in the social conservative wing of the party by suggesting it amounted to child abuse.

In a letter sent to supporters Thursday, he said the Liberals’ bill amounts to an “insidious ideological approach to gender identity, potentially harming many children for the rest of their lives.”

He also alleges that most children questioning their gender or sexual orientation will just “grow out of it” and the bill would criminalize private conversations aimed at trying to help kids feel happy with the body they were born with.

The Liberals have insisted the bill will do no such thing, and is focused on ending the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy. Numerous studies have said it does not work and leaves those who undergo it suffering from long-term psychological wounds.

The bill is currently before the House of Commons justice committee after passing second reading last month in a vote of 308-7.

Sloan was among the seven Tory MPs who refused to back the bill, a fact the Liberals noted in their own recent fundraising pitch based on the proposed legislation.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole may say he wants more Canadians to “see a Conservative when they look in the mirror, the Liberals noted.

“But when Canadians look at Parliament, they keep seeing Conservatives voting against their fundamental human rights.”

O’Toole did vote in favour of the bill, after giving a lengthy speech about his party’s belief in LGBTQ rights, Still, he suggested it does need amending.

A sticking point for caucus remains a sense the bill isn’t clear enough on the issue of allowing people to seek counselling without fear of reprisal for those who offer that support.

“Mr. O’Toole believes that conversion therapy is wrong and should be banned, that is why he voted in support of the bill at second reading,” said spokeswoman Chelsea Tucker, by email on Thursday.

“We will be proposing a reasonable amendment so that all parties can support this important legislation.”

Eight other Conservative MPs also suggested in their votes that they were only supporting it in the hopes it would be amended.

Two Tories abstained from the vote and some just didn’t show up, either in person or virtually.

O’Toole did, however, recently vote against a bill that would expand eligibility for medical assistance in dying, another piece of legislation causing consternation in the social conservative ranks.

The Liberals took that as proof that O’Toole is more beholden to social conservatives than the rights of all.

“We will always protect and support Canadians’ human rights, but especially in a minority Parliament, we know that we can never take our progress for granted,” the Liberals said in their Oct. 30 fundraising email.

Sloan finished fourth in the leadership race O’Toole won in August. The party uses a ranked ballot, and in the end it was Sloan’s supporters, as well as that for candidate Leslyn Lewis, that put O’Toole out ahead of rival Peter MacKay.

Lewis and Sloan are both avowed social conservatives. Lewis will be running for the party in the next federal election in the Ontario riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. Sloan represents the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington.

O’Toole has promised to respect their views, and as a show of faith in that direction, allowed his caucus to vote freely on both recent bills.

His office would not comment directly on Sloan’s fundraising email Thursday and the party itself did not return a request for comment.

Still, the Liberals have suggested that Sloan be booted out of caucus over a number of inflammatory comments he made during his leadership campaign.

Sloan said Thursday they are trying to silence his voice and those of people who agree with him.

His email also warned of the possibility of an election, saying the Liberals are already getting ready for one by smearing him and others.

“You know that I will never back down, no matter the cost,” he said.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Conversion therapy banfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Penny Hart is calling on the community to help find her son Sean Hart who was last seen on Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Search spreads for Saanich man missing from mental health facility for nearly a month

Family hopeful as possible sightings reported across Island and in Vancouver

The Sooke School District is actively looking for more bus drivers after they had to cancel a handful of bus routes in late November. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District

More drivers needed to accomodate expanding bus routes amid pandemic

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos ran the length of Vancouver Island, with the help of their van Pippi, raising more than $12,000 for 1Up Victoria Single Parent Resource Centre. (Photo submitted)
Greater Victoria pair finishes running length of Vancouver Island a day early

Joe Robertson and Jack Amos raised more than $12,000 for single parents

Island Health is expanding COVID-19 testing in Nanaimo with a new testing location at Vancouver Island University. (News Bulletin file photo)
Island Health issues apology over racist practices in health care system

Report by Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond finds ‘widespread systemic racism against Indigenous people’

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Most Read