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

Alistair Taylor has lived in Revelstoke since 2003. He is running to be a city councillor in the upcoming byelection. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
Alistair Taylor running for vacant council seat

Byelection coming up in Revelstoke in February

Matt Cherry is running to be a Revelstoke City Councillor in the upcoming byelection. (Submited/Matt Stepchuck)
Matt Cherry running in Revelstoke’s byelection

Advance polls are coming up Feb. 3 and 10, with election day on Feb. 13

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Revelstoke Women’s Hockey Team, circa 1905. Back row: M. Buck, N. Dunne, L. Bliss, E. Pettipiece, V. Coleman. Front row: M. Corley, B. Sawyer, A. Buck. (Revelstoke Museum & Archives Photo 66)
Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Jan. 14

Local history from the newspaper archives

In many ways, 2020 felt similar to bushwhacking over alder-choked mountains on a hot day, while chased ragged by mosquitos. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
Liam’s Lowdown: What a year 2020

Each year I guess what might happen, last year taught me not to do that

When people talk about Blue Monday, they really mean Seasonal Affective Disorder, according to CMHA Kelowna. (Pixabay)
CMHA Kelowna offers tips for managing winter blues during COVID-19

CMHA says it’s important to take care of mental well-being during these times

Gin voices his view of having his photo taken as Ken and Karleen Kantymir pose with him and his brother Tonic. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Sheep’s quirky antics keep Salmon Arm couple entertained

Until they bought two sheep, Ken and Karleen Kantymir didin’t realize just how social the animals are

Fire crews on scene of hot tub blaze. Michael Rodriguez, Kelowna Capital News.
Workers on concrete pump assist Kelowna homeowner battling hot tub fire

Home owners and neighbours fought the flames with a garden hose

(RCMP file photo)
Arrest made for break-in to the Penticton Herald

Police arrived to see blanket-wearing man holding computers

Powell River-Sunshine Coast MLA Nicholas Simons was appointed to the NDP cabinet as minister of social development and poverty reduction after the October 2020 B.C. election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. job training fund increased for developmentally disabled

COVID-19 has affected 1,100 ‘precariously employed’ people

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Heather Lucier, a pastor at Kelowna Harvest Fellowship, speaks to an RCMP officer outside of Harvest Ministries on Sunday, Jan. 10. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna church fined a second time for violating public health order

Harvest Ministries in Kelowna has previously said they will fight the tickets in court

Okanagan Forest Task Force clean up took place on May 9 along Postill Lake Road. (Okanagan Forest Task Force)
Okanagan cleanup taskforce gears up for new year

The crew assisted in getting about 60 illegal dumpers ticketed

Bastion Elementary was open Monday, Jan. 17, after one case of COVID-19 was confirmed among the school community. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)
COVID-19 case confirmed at second Salmon Arm elementary school

Member of Bastion Elementary community self-isolating, students allowed to attend school

Most Read