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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

ANDREW SCHEER – ‘In this country, we deplore and condemn injustice towards the innocent, the oppressed, and the persecuted’

Andrew Scheer Leader of the Opposition
LGBTQ2 Canadians
November 28th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to join my colleagues in the House to reflect on a terrible moment of injustice in the history of the Canadian federal government.

It is our responsibility, as parliamentarians, to defend the fundamental freedoms and rights of all Canadians.

Among those rights is that of equal treatment before and under the law without unjust discrimination, and to be free of any cruel or unusual treatment or punishment.

We are here today because many years ago and for too long the government of Canada failed in its duty to protect the basic rights of hundreds of the very Canadians who had dedicated their lives to public service.

These men and women, these citizens, lost their jobs because they were suspected of being gay.

At a basic level, Canadians can perhaps picture what losing your livelihood can do to your self-esteem, to your family, to your own quality of life.

Scheer summed up his general position in a recent immigration speech: “I find the notion that one’s race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation would make anyone in any way superior or inferior to anybody else absolutely repugnant. And if there’s anyone who disagrees with that, there’s the door.” ~~ National Post June 5th 2019

However, it is nothing when compared to the fear and intimidation that many women and men experienced in dealing with their own government and the institutions that they selflessly served.

For a dark chapter in its history, the Government of Canada perpetuated this injustice. It took upon itself the mantle of judge, jury, and set the private lives of its citizens in its sights. Too often and in too many cases around the world we have seen the terrible consequences of overreaching governments.

We need to have an honest discussion with the people who were targeted by the terrible campaign that sought to expose and humiliate LGBTQ2 individuals in the public service.

In this country, we deplore and condemn injustice towards the innocent, the oppressed, and the persecuted.

In June 2017 Scheer moved a motion in the House of Commons that, among other things, condemned the actions of Vladimir Putin’s Russian government against LGBTQ individuals. In November of that year he supported Trudeau’s apology to public servants who historically lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation. This past April he condemned a Brunei law that allows stoning as punishment for gay sex as “offensive and dangerous.” ~~ National Post June 5th 2019

Interrogation and harassment based on fear is its own injustice. We must not fail to mention the toll this campaign of intimidation took on the brave women and men in uniform who found themselves the target of their superiors.

For those who serve our country, the government's accusations regarding their personal lives were made even more offensive by the insinuation that they were acting against the interests of the country they were devoted to. This type of insult is difficult to imagine and impossible to measure.

The women and men who dedicate their lives to defending Canadians at home and abroad were subjected to a secret and unfair trial: they were arrested and chastised and they were humiliated in front of their families, friends and colleagues; many livelihoods were destroyed and many lives were cut short. I firmly believe that we have to acknowledge that this country is only getting better.

Hard work has been done over generations to ensure Canada remains a champion of justice, human rights, and liberty. All of us here continually strive to be better, as elected officials, as a people, and as a country.

The Conservatives deeply believe in these principles. All human beings have the same value and the same dignity and deserve respect, and women and men who have differing views respect each other as human beings.

Ryan Lester (candidate for Toronto Centre) ~~ “And as policies and laws impacting LGBTQ2 communities have evolved over the years, so too have opinions within the Conservative Party of Canada. I am proud to bring my true, authentic self to the Conservative Party of Canada and will continue to advocate for the full inclusion of Canada’s LGBTQ2 communities.”  ~~ National Post June 5th 2019

The government cannot, the government must not deny the dignity or freedom of those citizens who seek to make Canada a better place. How you treat your fellow Canadians, how you work every day to make the country stronger, how you give of yourself to your families, to your communities, and to your loved ones, those are the true measures of one's love for Canada.

Today’s apology must be an opportunity for all of us to recommit to defending human rights, not only here, in Canada, but around the world. Too many countries around the globe, today, have despicable policies that officialize the harassment of gays and lesbians. Too often, the consequences are not only job loss and public shame, but torture and death.

Canada is better than that. We must do more to stand up for the LGBTQ2 community in places like Iran, Russia, and other countries where it is the target of brutal violence. I am personally proud of the work done by the previous government to prioritize these and other refugee groups who are particularly vulnerable.

We all have a duty, here, today, to ensure that Canada is the best for everyone, no matter who they are. For those who were forced to abandon a career they spent years building and for those who were rejected without recourse, we hope that today’s apology offers some justice.

It cannot undo the wrongdoing and pain they have endured, but it is another important step toward leaving the next generation a Parliament that more fully embraces its duty to protect the rights and freedoms of every person it was built to serve.

Andrew Scheer ... Leader of the Opposition


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