Statement on Bill C-6

St. Stephen, New Brunswick • New Brunswick Southwest Member of Parliament John Williamson issued the following statement on Bill C-6:

Thank you for inquiring about my Bill C-6 vote on Tuesday, June 22, as I appreciate hearing from constituents and the opportunity to explain my representation.

Let me state clearly, I am opposed to conversion therapy and believe it should be illegal for anyone to be subject to harmful medical practices and other aversive therapies that attempt to change a person’s gender expression or sexual orientation. This might surprise some constituents since the Liberal Party is saying otherwise in its fundraising e-mails.

I voted against C-6 because the legislation failed to clarify parental rights with respect to their children. During the review by MPs at Parliament’s Justice Committee, this specific recommendation was raised, and amendments were proposed on many occasions to ensure that family discussions between parents and their children would be protected and not criminalized. Unfortunately, the federal government declined to make this very reasonable change. Instead, it provided clarifications on the Department of Justice website that conversations between parents with their dependents would not be considered conversion therapy. However, the government would not add this reasonable language to its Bill, which left these concerns unanswered. Had it done so and worked collaboratively with Opposition MPs, I would have voted for the legislation. Regardless of the law’s intent, poorly crafted legislation should be corrected by Parliament before becoming law, instead of leaving it up to courts to determine what is protected and what is not.

Poorly drafted Bills, makes for poor and unclear laws. I believe it is my responsibility to use my judgement when voting on behalf of constituents in New Brunswick Southwest. Of course, Bill C-6 is not the only poorly worded bill the federal government proposed in this Parliament. As you might know, Bill C-10 makes some necessary changes to taxing and regulating Big Tech, but very problematically, C-10 also gives Ottawa powers to regulate and censor user-content on social media platforms – including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube & Instagram. As a result, I voted against C-10 this week despite agreeing with parts of it.

Thank you again for your interest. I hope this reply has clarified my rationale for voting against Bill C-6.

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