Aug 22, 2019

Standing Up For Human Rights And The Economy

Conversion therapy is a cure for an illness that doesn’t exist, and it hurts our communities and our economy.

The provincial and federal governments have chosen not to take action on this harmful and fraudulent practice, so it’s fallen to municipalities to take leadership. I brought forward a motion to ban it in Edmonton and a number of other cities and towns have done the same. Next week, Edmonton City Council will vote on whether or not to use the tools we have to ban conversion therapy.

Some see this proposed ban on business licenses to be symbolic, but symbols matter. They remind us of what we value. Canadians want to stand for openness, diversity, and strength. A ban on conversion therapy is a symbol, too. It is a symbol to our LGBTQ+ community that we care about their basic human rights, and it shows the rest of the world what we stand for. 

This ban also means standing up for our economy. When North Carolina passed an anti-LGBTQ+ law, the state lost out on billions of dollars in investment. The same thing happened in Georgia. Corporations are starting to pay attention to the jurisdictions they invest in because values matter. Public and industry perceptions matter. In Edmonton, we value our diversity.

To be frank, banning this practice from our communities is not the job of City Council. Our tools are limited. Next Tuesday, City Council will discuss revoking business licenses and handing out fines to those who lead this hurtful practice. The other orders of government have stronger instruments. But, the Kenney and Trudeau governments seem to be in agreement – they oppose this practice, but won’t be taking action any time soon. Here in Edmonton, we are standing up for our economy, human rights, and the LGBTQ+ community.