Conservative MP Derek Sloan attends a Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. A proposed bill banning forcing someone into therapy to alter their sexual orientation is turning into a political fundraising tool. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Conservative MP Derek Sloan attends a Conservative caucus retreat on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. A proposed bill banning forcing someone into therapy to alter their sexual orientation is turning into a political fundraising tool. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Bill to ban conversion therapy being turned into political fundraising tool

Conservative MP and failed leadership candidate Derek Sloan is asking his supporters to help him raise $25,000

A proposed bill seeking to make it illegal to force someone into therapy to alter their sexual orientation or gender identity is turning into a political fundraising tool.

Conservative MP and failed leadership candidate Derek Sloan is asking his supporters to help him raise $25,000 for his re-election bid on the strength of his effort to fight against the bill.

Sloan has long been opposed to the legislation, and used it during his leadership campaign to rally supporters in the social conservative wing of the party by suggesting it amounted to child abuse.

In a letter sent to supporters Thursday, he said the Liberals’ bill amounts to an “insidious ideological approach to gender identity, potentially harming many children for the rest of their lives.”

He also alleges that most children questioning their gender or sexual orientation will just “grow out of it” and the bill would criminalize private conversations aimed at trying to help kids feel happy with the body they were born with.

The Liberals have insisted the bill will do no such thing, and is focused on ending the widely discredited practice of conversion therapy. Numerous studies have said it does not work and leaves those who undergo it suffering from long-term psychological wounds.

The bill is currently before the House of Commons justice committee after passing second reading last month in a vote of 308-7.

Sloan was among the seven Tory MPs who refused to back the bill, a fact the Liberals noted in their own recent fundraising pitch based on the proposed legislation.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole may say he wants more Canadians to “see a Conservative when they look in the mirror, the Liberals noted.

“But when Canadians look at Parliament, they keep seeing Conservatives voting against their fundamental human rights.”

O’Toole did vote in favour of the bill, after giving a lengthy speech about his party’s belief in LGBTQ rights, Still, he suggested it does need amending.

A sticking point for caucus remains a sense the bill isn’t clear enough on the issue of allowing people to seek counselling without fear of reprisal for those who offer that support.

“Mr. O’Toole believes that conversion therapy is wrong and should be banned, that is why he voted in support of the bill at second reading,” said spokeswoman Chelsea Tucker, by email on Thursday.

“We will be proposing a reasonable amendment so that all parties can support this important legislation.”

Eight other Conservative MPs also suggested in their votes that they were only supporting it in the hopes it would be amended.

Two Tories abstained from the vote and some just didn’t show up, either in person or virtually.

O’Toole did, however, recently vote against a bill that would expand eligibility for medical assistance in dying, another piece of legislation causing consternation in the social conservative ranks.

The Liberals took that as proof that O’Toole is more beholden to social conservatives than the rights of all.

“We will always protect and support Canadians’ human rights, but especially in a minority Parliament, we know that we can never take our progress for granted,” the Liberals said in their Oct. 30 fundraising email.

Sloan finished fourth in the leadership race O’Toole won in August. The party uses a ranked ballot, and in the end it was Sloan’s supporters, as well as that for candidate Leslyn Lewis, that put O’Toole out ahead of rival Peter MacKay.

Lewis and Sloan are both avowed social conservatives. Lewis will be running for the party in the next federal election in the Ontario riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. Sloan represents the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington.

O’Toole has promised to respect their views, and as a show of faith in that direction, allowed his caucus to vote freely on both recent bills.

His office would not comment directly on Sloan’s fundraising email Thursday and the party itself did not return a request for comment.

Still, the Liberals have suggested that Sloan be booted out of caucus over a number of inflammatory comments he made during his leadership campaign.

Sloan said Thursday they are trying to silence his voice and those of people who agree with him.

His email also warned of the possibility of an election, saying the Liberals are already getting ready for one by smearing him and others.

“You know that I will never back down, no matter the cost,” he said.

Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Conversion therapy banfederal government

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP don’t want to see you having your vehicle towed away after an aggressive driving infraction. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP hand out more than 500 tickets in aggressive driving crackdown

Police say they’ll continue to focus on speeding, aggressive and distracted driving

Home sales for November in the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board were profitable for sellers because of historically low supply. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)
Historically low supply leads to higher prices in Chilliwack real estate market

City dwellers want to relocate to the eastern Fraser Valley and are willing to pay a high price

Riders will need to don face coverings to ski and snowboard at Manning this winter. (Manning Park Resort photo)
Manning Park slopes open early

Early season snowfall allowed for opening this weekend, 56 centimetre snow base recorded Nov. 30

Mr. Bergen, a statue of a working man, was stolen from a porch in Popkum on Nov. 18, along with a marble statue. (Submitted photo)
Heavy statue and fountain thieved off porch in Popkum

Rightful owner has had statue for 27 years and wants it returned

The winning home of the 2019 Hope Christmas Lights contest was on Cypress Street. Residents have until Dec. 5 to sign their street up for this year’s contest. (Submitted photo)
Holiday cheer, even in a pandemic year

Here’s what is happening in Hope and area as the holiday season kicks off

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Another 694 diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. Thursday

Three more health care outbreaks, 12 deaths

Cops converge in a Marshall Road parking lot on Thursday afternoon following a reported police incident. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Federal offender escapes, gets shot at and is taken back into custody in Abbotsford

Several branches of law enforcement find escapee a short distance from where he fled

A demonstrator wears representations of sea lice outside the Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices in downtown Vancouver Sept. 24, demanding more action on the Cohen Commission recommendations to protect wild Fraser River sockeye. (Quinn Bender photo)
First Nations renew call to revoke salmon farm licences

Leadership council implores use of precautionary principle in Discovery Islands

Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps poses for a photo with his parents Amanda Sully and Adam Deschamps in this undated handout photo. Ten-month-old Aidan Deschamps was the first baby in Canada to be diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy through Ontario’s newborn screening program. The test was added to the program six days before he was born. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Children’s Hospital Eastern Ontario *MANDATORY CREDIT*
First newborn tested for spinal muscular atrophy in Canada hits new milestones

‘If Aidan had been born any earlier or anywhere else our story would be quite different’

(Pixabay)
Canadians’ mental health has deteriorated with the second wave, study finds

Increased substance use one of the ways people are coping

Lefeuvre Road, near Myrtle Avenue, was blocked to traffic on Thursday (Dec. 3) after an abandoned pickup truck was found on fire. Police are investigating to determine if there are any links to a killing an hour earlier in Surrey. (Shane MacKichan photo)
Torched truck found in Abbotsford an hour after killing in Surrey

Police still investigating to determine if incidents are linked

Surrey Pretrial centre in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial hit with human rights complaint over mattress

The inmate who lodged the complaint said he needed a second mattress to help him manage his arthritis

A coal-fired power plant seen through dense smog from the window of an electric bullet train south of Beijing, December 2016. China has continued to increase thermal coal production and power generation, adding to greenhouse gas emissions that are already the world’s largest. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
LNG featured at B.C. energy industry, climate change conference

Hydrogen, nuclear, carbon capture needed for Canada’s net-zero goal

Most Read