If you are a prospective citizen of Canada, you won’t learn about their expansive gay rights laws from a brand new guide for immigrants. Anti-gay Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has had all mention of that deleted.
Internal documents show an early draft of the guide contained sections noting that homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969; that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation; and that same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in 2005. But Mr. Kenney, who fought same-sex marriage when it was debated in Parliament, ordered those key sections removed when his office sent its comments to the department last June. Senior department officials duly cut out the material – but made a last-ditch plea with Mr. Kenney in early August to have it reinstated.
“Recommend the re-insertion of the text boxes related to … the decriminalization of homosexual sex/recognition of same-sex marriage,” says a memorandum to Mr. Kenney from deputy minister Neil Yeates. “Recommend the addition of ‘equality rights’ under list of rights. Had noted earlier that this bullet should be reinserted into the list as a means of noting the equality of all based on race, gender, sexual orientation etc …” In the end, however, Mr. Kenney’s view trumped that of the bureaucrats. The 63-page guide, released with fanfare last November, contains no mention of gay and lesbian rights.
500,000 copies of the new guide have been published and citizenship applicants will be tested on its contents beginning on March 15th.