Credits: QMI AGENCY
Are elected MPs making public bathrooms their business? Debate over what's being called the ‘Bathroom Bill' has a lot of folks in a fury, including Calgary West MP Rob Anders.
Private members Bill C-279 is sponsored by B.C. NDP MP Randall Garrisson, and seeks to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and Criminal Code to include "gender identity" and "gender expression" as grounds for discrimination.
Already listed in 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."
The petition urges the protection of children "from any exposure and harm that will come from giving a man access to women's public washroom facilities."
The petition has transgender activists in an outrage. They claim MP Anders doesn't understand the content of the bill. "The suggestion that this is somehow some ... conspiracy of trans people to sneak into bathrooms deliberately to harm people - it's ludicrous," transgender activist Jan Buterman said.
In an interview with Sun News Network, MP Anders said, "I guess I'm a traditionalist. I think it makes sense for a lot of facilities to have men's bathrooms and women's bathrooms. I note, for example, when I walk the halls of the University of Calgary, every now and then you see posters up that talk about men who enter women's bathrooms and commit some indecencies and I don't think we need to encourage more of that."
During a debate about the bill earlier this year, Conservative MP Dean Allison said, "I find this potentially legitimized access for men in girls' bathrooms to be very disconcerting. As sexual predators are statistically almost always men, imagine the trauma that a young girl would face, going into a washroom or a change room at a public pool and finding a man there. It is unconscionable for any legislator, purposefully or just neglectfully, to place her in such a compromising position."
- With files from Jenna McMurray