Thank you very much, Mr. Chair. I'm very pleased to be here today.
When I saw Bill C-13, it was interesting to note that clause 12 opened up the hate crime section of the Criminal Code to add additional grounds for prohibited discrimination. It seemed to me that this would be an appropriate place to have an amendment to add “gender identity” to the hate crime section of the Criminal Code.
This is half of my private member's Bill C-279, which passed in the House of Commons more than a year ago and is stuck in the Senate. It's also half of the previous private member's bill, which passed in the previous Parliament. So twice the will of Parliament has been to include gender identity in the hate crime section of the Criminal Code.
When this matter was raised with the minister when he was here, I believe that he said to Madam Boivin that he had no problem in principle with this. So I was optimistic that we could make this amendment in this committee and until just a few minutes ago a majority of the members present at this committee had voted in favour of the bill. But there appears to have been some changes on the government side, so now I am concerned. Those who are the most subject to hate crimes in our society are transgendered individuals and it is more than past time that we add this to the hate crime section of the Criminal Code. It will certainly serve the purposes of public education and of denunciation, and help provide some protection to a group who, as I said, have some of the greatest difficulties in our society.
I'm hoping the changes on the other side of the government don't indicate an intention to defeat this amendment because that would be to thwart the will of Parliament as twice expressed before. So I'm remaining cautiously optimistic.