Poli Savvy: Canadian government to finally ban conversion therapy

On Monday, the federal government introduced new legislation that would amend the Criminal Code and ban conversion therapy.

The practice is currently illegal in Nova Scotia, Manitoba and Ontario, but the Liberals are looking into a nationwide ban.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with it, conversion therapy is not your typical type of therapy; which brings important resources to people struggling with mental health issues (with an extra box of kleenex, in some cases). No, dear, this one is a bit more extreme.

Conversion therapy aims to **hold my drink while I scream into a pillow** change homosexual individuals and eventually turn them into perfect heterosexual members of society.

Yes, those exist and they have actually been associated with depression, suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts rather than with… “success.” In Canada alone, instead of successfully turning gay people straight… one third of men who have undergone conversion therapy have attempted suicide.

Truthfully, it can be scary to not fully understand what our sexual preferences are, or what it means, or even if it’s supposed to mean anything. Figuring things out is already complicated and hard enough without having to fear being forced to undergo physical and emotional trauma that is dubbed legal because of backwards thinking.

Believe me when I say I’m emphasizing every single word: this cannot be treated as a mental health issue. There is simply no “turning back to normal” option and anyone claiming the opposite is setting a dangerous precedent.

In fact, in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association declared that homosexuality was not a mental illness or sickness. Now, almost 50 years later, the Criminal Code itself needs to be amended to make sure that this fact is respected. The federal government doesn’t have a good reputation these days, but this new legislation would be more than welcome and for once, all three opposition parties seem to be on board, according to CBC News.


Graphic by @sundaghost


That’s no way to treat your best friend

Quebec came in second to last in a recent ranking of Canadian animal protection laws. Photo via Flickr

Roo’s body was covered in blood. She had been beaten with a lead pipe, stabbed five times with bits of broken ceramic cutting into her body.

She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Doctors didn’t know if she would survive the night. But she did. Her assailant had been caught, and would be prosecuted and sentenced to six months in jail.

After all, Roo is just a three-year-old pug.

This is the biggest sentence regarding animal cruelty in Quebec’s history. Geoffrey Laberge has been accused with five counts of animal cruelty. According to CTV, the crown and the defence are suggesting a sentence prohibiting Laberge from owning an animal for the next 25 years.

In a recent report published by the Animal Legal Defence Fund, Quebec came in second to last in the ranking of Canadian animal protection laws. According to the ALDF, Quebec is “one of the best provinces to be an animal abuser.” How heartwarming.

If this isn’t a wake-up call for the government to enforce stricter rules regarding animal abuse, then what is? Animal abuse is a cruel, violent and an absolutely unnecessary form of aggression.

A society can usually be judged by how well they take care of the weak. This includes the elderly and the young but should also include animals.

Animals don’t talk. They can’t go to the police and ask for protection. They can’t just pack their bags and disappear in the middle of the night. Animals are loyal and are our companions. If Quebec doesn’t adequately defend the weak in our society, then it stands to reason that they do not consider pets to be creatures of value.

Animal abuse is horrible enough on its own. However, it can also be a warning sign of deeper and darker forms of violence.

In an article published by the Humane Society, it states that the National School Safety Council, the U.S. Department of Education, the American Psychological Association, and the National Crime Prevention Council all agree that animal cruelty is a warning sign for at-risk youth.

The article also mentioned that Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert DeSalvo and many other confessed murderers and school shooters had committed acts of animal cruelty in the past. Montreal’s Luka Magnotta was also suspected to have been abusive towards animals. And we all know what that led to.

I believe cruelty to any innocent creature is morally wrong. If Roo had been a child, Laberge would have been in prison for a lot longer than six months. But since Roo is ‘just’ a dog, her attacker won’t be locked up for longer. If people can convince themselves that this form of violence and cruelty is acceptable in our society, there’s a problem. Part of the problem is that the government is allowing such violence by being so lax with the punishment.

Just because Roo stands on four legs instead of two does not take away from the fact that Laberge beat an innocent creature with a lead pipe before stabbing it five times.

Why? Maybe because she was barking too loud. Or maybe she gnawed on the wrong chair leg. But if Laberge was okay with administering such violence on a helpless creature, then what’s to say he, or others who have committed such crimes, wouldn’t inflict such pain on a person?

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