“Shame, sadness and deep regret”

Photo: Adrian Wyld, The canadian Press
The minister of veterans affairs, Seamus O’regan, went to hug the prime minister Justin Trudeau after his speech.

In 1969, Canada décriminalisait homosexuality. But this has not prevented the federal government from persecuting gays and lesbians in its armed forces and its public function to force them to resign. The government, Justin Trudeau has officially apologized Tuesday, offering in the same breath 110 million in compensation, and a bill to expunge the criminal records anachronistic.

 

The moment was moving, in the House of commons. In a speech of more than 25 minutes, the prime minister was invited to imagine, when one has chosen to serve his country as a military man, police officer or civil servant, the impact that represents the fact ” to say that the country for which you would be willing to give your life don’t want you. Sees you as defective, as a threat to national security. Not because you can’t do the work or because you lack patriotism or courage. No. Because of who you are and your sex partners have “.

 

Justin Trudeau spoke of the ” fruit machine “, an invention commissioned by Ottawa to a researcher from Carleton University in the 1960s. The test was to observe the contractions of the pupil of a subject exposed to pictures of nudity. Dilation was considered a sign of sexual excitement, and so suspicious if it occurred at the sight of a naked same-sex as the guinea pig.

 

It was the cold war, homosexuality was not socially accepted, and the government feared that the Russian enemy does not sing in the gay military for access to State secrets. (Even today, moreover, the federal officials who need a high security clearance are submitted to the polygraph and ask them about their lifestyle habits, including their sexuality, in order to detect any behaviour that is hidden that could make them vulnerable.)

 

Mr. Trudeau has wiped a few tears during his speech. The House of commons as well as the public stands have led him a standing ovation nourished when he uttered the historical words : “It is with shame, sadness and a deep regret for what we have done that I stand today to say : we were wrong. We apologize. I’m sorry. We are sorry for the inconvenience. “

 

A handful of conservatives, however, are not raised. The benches of the conservative were also very scattered : more than one-third of the elected (between 35 and 40 depending on the time) were missing. The spokesperson of the caucus, Virginie Bonneau, has pleaded for ” personal reasons, committees, events in the county “. No committee has met during the event and several of the elected officials absent were present in the House a few moments ago.


Photo: Adrian Wyld, The canadian Press
Scott Brison, president of the Treasury Board, was also held to congratulate the prime minister Justin Trudeau.

The leader of the conservatives Andrew Scheer has also taken the floor to say that ” all human beings have the same value and the same dignity and deserve respect, and the women and men who have different perspectives respect one another, as human beings “.

 

Of the million and a law

 

The agreement announced on Tuesday, provides for compensation ranging from 5000 to 150 000 $ per person, depending on the severity of what they have experienced. The heaviest cases are, in particular, women who have been sexually assaulted. “We have people in our collective who are made to say that the reason why they were lesbians, it is that they had not had the real deal and that we would fix their sexuality “, illustrated Douglas Elliott, the lawyer who led the collective action at the origin of the ad. Although these actions were not ordered by the State, Mr. Elliott believes that they are ” a direct result of the purge “. It is estimated that about 9000 people could be compensated for.

 

The government has also tabled a bill, C-66, which will erase the criminal convictions of a person for sodomy or gross indecency when it is question of sex between consenting individuals of at least 16 years of age.

 

Any person convicted or, in the case of death, a close relative (spouse, child, parent, brother or sister) may file a request for cancellation to the parole Board of Canada. If it is accepted, the Commission will notify all courts that may have recorded the court file so that they erase. It will notify the royal Canadian mounted police (RCMP), which will have to purge its records, and asking the other police to do the same.

 

This is the first time in history that Canada has an act to clean up the criminal records of citizens, supports the public Safety minister, Ralph Goodale. Ottawa was also asked to purge the criminal records of prostitutes in the wake of the adoption in 2014 of a law on prostitution. The government has never given a response to this request, nor does it give a result that formulated these days to erase the convictions for simple possession of cannabis when marijuana will be legalized in 2018.

 

“In the case of marijuana, we can certainly say that the manners social have changed, the context has changed over the years, but I don’t think anyone would say that the convictions of origin violated the Charter of rights and freedoms. In the case that occupies us, we’re talking about a fundamental violation of human rights,” said Mr. Goodale to the Duty.

 

The advisor to Mr. Trudeau on the issues LGBTQ2, Randy Boissonnault, has assured that he would ensure the quick passage of C-66. Bill C-39 eliminating the criminal Code prohibits sodomy, which was promised with great fanfare a year ago — has never been called in the debate since it was tabled last march.

 

Yesterday’s announcement also includes $ 15 million that will be used to monuments and exhibitions recalling the purge. Another $ 20 million will cover the legal costs incurred.

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