Conversion Therapy: Bill C-6 | June 24, 2021

As a Member of the Justice Committee, I voted in favour of Bill C-6 at 2nd Reading. I did so because I supported the ban on conversion therapy and wanted to play a role in amending the Bill to address its grave flaws.

Conservatives agree that conversion therapy is wrong, that many of our fellow Canadians were seriously harmed by this practise and that it should be formally banned in Canada. The definition of conversion therapy contained in the Bill, however, lacked clarity and was too broad. I was in a unique position to try to make it better.

I spent hours listening to witness testimony and trying to make amendments to this poorly written legislation, to make it about banning the practice of conversion therapy free of ambiguities and uncertain outcomes. All those efforts were dismissed by the Liberals and NDP. What could have been one of the finer moments of this Parliament, became another occasion to divide Canadians.

Despite the Liberal’s vague assurances, this legislation fails to safeguard voluntary conversations with friends, parents, doctors, counsellors and clergy, without facing jail time. The Liberals could have clarified the definition, so that this was not even a faint possibility, they chose not to.

The ban on conversion therapy has my full and unqualified support. This wrong has long needed to be made right. What I voted against was the lack of clarity and the too broad definition. I have and always will stand for the rights of all Canadians.

I am mindful that this is a painful issue for the LGBTQ2 community. I could not in good conscience, however, support legislation that had the potential to criminalize voluntary conversations. The Minister’s assurances rang hollow.

Finally, let me say, it is a shame that some have chosen to mischaracterize my vote for political gain.

Chris Lewis MP - Essex

Constituency Office

Ottawa Office