Trost casts lone vote against ‘Gender Equality Week’ bill

Brad Trost

Brad Trost

On Feb. 1, a private member’s bill, C-309, “An Act to establish Gender Equality Week,” passed second reading in a 287-1 vote. Conservative MP and leadership candidate Brad Trost (Saskatoon-University) cast the lone against Liberal MP Sven Spengemann’s (Mississauga—Lakeshore) C-309.

The bill’s preamble says Parliament “wishes to increase awareness of the significant and substantive contributions that Canadian women have made and continue to make to the growth, development, character and identity of Canada” but that many women still face discrimination. But it also makes a nod to transgenderism, stating, “Whereas Canadians confronting issues related to gender identity and sexual orientation, particularly transgender women in visible minority groups, may experience further isolation and vulnerability, as well as violence.” It also states there is “limited access for women and their families to … child care services” and claims there are “gaps in Canada’s health care system that cause women to be disproportionately underserved.” To highlight the numerous issues related to women, C-309 calls for the establishment, “throughout Canada, in each and every year, the fourth week in September is to be known as ‘Gender Equality Week’.”

Campaign Life Coalition vice president Jeff Gunnarson said C-309 is problematic because it normalizes transgenderism, promotes daycare, and suggests that women do not have access to sufficient abortion services. Gunnarson told The Interim, “we believe that the line about ‘gaps in Canada’s health care system’ is code for promoting abortion and the abortion pill in so-called underserved communities.”

A CLC analysis said C-309 is “an innocuous sounding bill” that “would actually designate a full week of propaganda annually … across Canada, celebrating transsexualism and normalizing it in the minds of adults, and especially vulnerable children.”

In an interview with The Interim, Trost explained why he voted against the bill: “I read it.” He elaborated by saying he had “three basic issues” with C-309. He disagreed with the preamble “explicitly talking about multiple genders.” He said the bill gave the “false impression that equality does not exist in Canada – it’s too negative in its premise.” Lastly, he said there were incorrect facts in the preamble.

Trost said he had no problem being the lone dissenting vote because he wants “to be a leader, not a follower.”

Most of the Conservative caucus supported C-309 including interim leader Rona Ambrose and leadership contenders Maxime Bernier, Michael Chong, and Erin O’Toole. About 20 other Conservative MPs were not present for the vote including Harold Albrecht, David Anderson, Kelly Block, Cheryl Gallant, Andrew Scheer, Bev Shipley, Kevin Sorenson, Cathay Wagantall, Mark Warawa, and Bob Zimmer.

Campaign Life Coalition president Jim Hughes praised Trost: “Thank God that he could see through this piece of legislation and the harm it will do to our society. I thank him for his courage to vote against it, the only MP to do so.”

Louis Roth, regional head of Campaign Life Coalition-Saskatchewan, also thought Trost’s lone dissent was laudatory: “I have known Brad Trost for many years, so I’m not surprised that he was the only one with the courage to stand up against this bill. He is a man of conviction and integrity. It’s not easy to do what he did, but as we all know, sometimes, doing the right thing isn’t easy. We are proud to support him.”

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