MP Rob Anders.
Credits: Supplied Photo.
CALGARY -- Calgary West Tory MP Rob Anders has sparked controversy once again, this time posting a petition on his website lobbying against a private member's bill dealing with gender identity.
Bill C-279, sponsored by BC NDP MP Randall Garrison, aims to expand Canada's Human Rights Act to include gender identity and gender expression as being protected from discriminatory practices.
Already listed in the current legislation are race, ethnicity, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability and those who've been pardoned of convictions.
A petition to the House of Commons posted on Anders' website said the bill's goal "is to give transgendered men access to women's public washroom facilities."
It urges the protection of children "from any exposure and harm that will come from giving a man access to women's public washroom facilities."
Brett Aberle, a community support worker with the Calgary Outlink Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, called the situation sad.
"That's not the purpose of the bill -- the purpose is equal rights," Aberle said.
"The petition seems like a reference of how uneducated people are about trans issues and trans rights."
Some of Anderson's constituents were either confused or upset by the move.
"(The transgender community) is already so at risk," Dominique Devries, 26, said.
"I personally feel that they're more at risk in our society than I am as a woman in the bathroom. You're assuming they're pedophiles and you're assuming they're perverts."
Shirley Snyder, 83, said she's voted for Anders because she supports his party, but controversies including his recent suggestion NDP leader Jack Layton's death was hastened by his successor, Thomas Mulcair -- a remark Anders later apologized for -- have pushed her in the other direction.
"I would go over to the NDP if he's still running," said Snyder, who agreed with Devries that the transgender community already faces enough adversity.
Jason English, 36, said the petition seemed a bit puzzling.
"I don't know why he would say that -- it doesn't really make sense," he said. "I definitely would disagree."
Calls and emails to Anders were not returned by deadline Thursday.