A case of… bigotry? Oh, Canada! – LGBT people the new Terrorists
If you’re trans, you’re a threat to airline security. This dubious fact has recently been enshrined in a change to the Identity Screening Regulations used at airports around Canada.
Yes, Canada, the country previously regarded as ‘one of the good guys’ seems to have had a change of heart over this last year. Having confirmed on the 13th January 2012 that a Department of Justice Lawyer, working under the Canadian Conservative Party Government of Stephen Harper, nullified all same-sex marriages performed under Canadian license where the couple’s native country does not allow same sex marriage, they’ve gone yet another step further. Equally abominable, however, is the fact that in both cases they’ve done so by the quietest and least democratic means possible without telling anybody at the time.
In this latest attack on fairness, decency and human rights, Stephen Harper’s Government has amended the Identity Screening Regulations -implemented unilaterally by the Ministry of Transportation as part of the Canadian Federal Government’s ‘no fly list’- such that trans, genderqueer and potentially, intersex people are entirely banned from boarding aeroplanes in Canada. The ‘no fly list’, known officially by the innocent sounding title “Passenger Project“, is a Government initiative to identify individuals who may be an “immediate threat to aviation security”.
Though it has only come to light recently ,the situation is the result of a regulation that came into force in July 2011 which was introduced under the tenure of Minister of Transportation, Denis Lebel, a Conservative MP appointed to the position by Stephen Harper. In his eyes, trans, genderqueer and some intersex people are by virtue of their existence unfit to fly in Canada owing to the offending regulation:
5.2 (1) An air carrier shall not transport a passenger if …
(c) the passenger does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification he or she presents;
… in Canada, proof that surgery has taken place or will do so within a year is required by the federal government in order to change the gender marker on a person’s passport. It would appear that Sweden is not the only country with aspirations towards the sterilisation of a whole group of people.
This latest affront to civil liberties, basic human rights, and equality for all also follows the death of
‘An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (gender identity and gender expression)’, which was intended to grant explicit protections against discrimination for trans people. While it was passed in Canadian House of Commons by 143 to 135, it died in the Senate along with a Bill to make it easier to send generic AIDS drugs to developing countries, as a direct result of the calling of a Federal election by… Stephen Harper. The ammendment to the Identity Screening Regulations concerning trans, genderqueer, and some intersex people occurred immediately after the election.
It would not be at all irrational to conclude that Stephen Harper’s Government has an anti-LGBT agenda to follow, and is willing to subvert the spirit of Canada’s democratic decisions towards equality and human rights to follow it. However, even if this were not an overt act of bigotry on the part of Canada’s Conservative Government and it’s leader, one thing is certain: if a country’s commitment to equality and Human Rights were measured in a similar way to a national credit rating, Canada has acquired a serious deficit while nobody was looking, and a substantial downgrade is warranted.