Toronto council backs fight against Quebec’s Bill 21, calling it ‘contrary to the values of Torontonians and Canadians’
A Toronto city councillor has proposed that council approve a motion Thursday to oppose Quebec’s provincial Bill 21, which would allow individuals to refuse to provide services, including marriage and adoption agencies, on the grounds that they “support” homosexual rights.
Toronto city councillor Michael Thompson, who has been an outspoken defender of human rights for years, said he would propose a motion calling for council to “take all necessary legal measures” to put a stop to the provincial legislation, which was passed in May.
The legislation allows citizens who feel that they have been the victims of unfair discrimination to file a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal, arguing that the discrimination is unjust. Advocates for the legislation say it is intended to protect individuals who would be targets of discrimination from being denied services they feel are unjustified by law.
Thompson was joined by six other councillors, including John Filion, who is himself gay, and Christine Kuc, who is another activist on issues of equality.
Councillor John Filion, who is himself gay, called the recent vote on Bill 21 “deeply troubling.” (Michael Shingler/CBC)
Thompson said he thinks the proposed motion would be voted on “without a lot of controversy,” but admitted the decision to take a stand on the legislation may also be political.
“This is why we need to make sure this motion comes with the participation of people on every side of the issue,” he said.
“I do think there are people who are uncomfortable with this motion because of a lot of political considerations.”
The legislation sparked a major political controversy, with opponents arguing that it will allow the state to intervene in private decisions between consenting adults to determine who they are and where they live.
The legislation was narrowly passed by the legislature, winning a minority government just 11 months after another contentious vote in the spring, when the government was defeated on an anti-abortion law.
“It’s not only in Canada. It’s across the world,” Thompson said. “This is a real problem that we have — it’s not specific to this province. It’