I would add that there is a clear gap, in terms of some provisions certainly in the Criminal Code, in the sense that, as the minister has stated, the code will be interpreted narrowly, and so in order to determine whether or not “other similar factors” would include gender identity or gender expression, there would be an argument required that would not be required if the words were plainly stated in the provision.
Second, in terms of the promotion of genocide, there is a clear gap. There would be no reasonable way for a court, we think, applying the doctrine that applies in terms of how to interpret the criminal law narrowly so as to protect to the maximum extent possible the liberties of the individual, to apply the kind of interpretive approach that has been applied historically and previously by human rights commissions abroad in liberal interpretations.
In terms of the sentencing provision, then, there would be an extra argument required that would be eliminated by the clarification that the bill proposes.
In respect to the promotion of genocide, we believe there is a clear gap that would be filled by adding the expression.
In respect to the Canadian Human Rights Act, as the minister has said, the Human Rights Act is recognized as quasi-constitutional. Short of the charter, it stands above other laws with some other fundamental laws that the Supreme Court has also recognized as quasi-constitutional.
The purpose of the bill is to make clear to all Canadians what Parliament and Canada stand for in respect of standing against discrimination.