In June, unfortunately with little fanfare, the Senate passed Bill C-16, which adds protection of gender identity and expression to the Canadian Human Rights Code and the Criminal Code. Trans and gender non-binary people--long overdue--are now protected from hate-speech and hate-crimes. The United Church celebrates this new law and invites us all to imagine a non-binary and non-heterosexual dominant world. Language is important with respect to this new bill and we need to be vigilant. Think of how we often use male/female or sister/brother language; many of our hymns follow this pattern. Thanks to the private member for bringing this bill forward. Yaay!
There is another bill before the Canadian parliament, currently expected to have second reading this fall; this is Bill C-262, implementing the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Kairos—of which the United Church is a member—has made this one of its campaigns. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada made the UN declaration in its Calls to Action. Canada still has a long way to go in living out the apology made by then PM Harper and in implementing the TRC recommendations. Adopting Bill C-262 would be an important step. For more information go to the Kairos website.
The United Church has expressed its support for the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability report. UN experts are encouraging the Canadian government to increase efforts to prevent human rights abuses by corporations. The UN has created Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; you can see those by clicking on UN. Canada has a deplorable track record with respect to the mining industry; many Canadian projects in Eritrea and other parts of Africa and Central and South America in particular were highlighted. Contact your MP to urge that our Canadian government increase its vigilance with respect to human rights abuses by Canadian Corporations and their subsidiaries overseas.