At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council meeting on June 21, the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (EDIAC) recommended to Council that they send a letter of support of Bill C-6 to the Federal Government. This bill would make conversion therapy a crime. (Conversion therapy tries to negate someone’s desire to change sex identification). Councillor Beatty had moved the motion at the Advisory Committee and promoted the idea at the CoW meeting. Councillor Chorley had reservations about supporting the motion since it is outside Council’s jurisdiction but supported other activities of the committee that are within the municipality’s jurisdiction. The CoW vote was in favour 5-1 (see wording of motion below) – Councillor Emily Chorley abstained and Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin voted against.
But at the following Regular Council meeting where this motion was put to a confirming vote, there was further debate. Suzanne Séguin had strong reservations about lobbying the Federal Government. First it’s not necessary since there is good support in Parliament with a vote of 263 to 63 vote at third reading and second it’s not within Council’s jurisdiction. She was also concerned with the burden on staff of sending 444 letters to all municipalities. She wanted to know why was it even on the Agenda and that Advisory committees are supposed to recommend actions to Council and not lobby Federal or Provincial Governments. Councillor Darling supported her.
Councillor Beatty’s response was to point to other motions that Council had passed such as declaring a climate emergency and addressing conservation and homelessness. She pointed out that it was up to Councillors whether they supported her motion.
When a vote was called on the motion to “support Bill C-6” (see copy of motion below), the vote was not “recorded” but was clearly as follows (you can confirm in the video – see below on how to access the video):
Mayor John Henderson – for the motion
Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin – against the motion
Councillor Brian Darling – against the motion
Councillor Nicole Beatty – for the motion
Councillor Emily Chorley – abstained
Councillor Aaron Burchat – for the motion
Councillor Adam Bureau – for the motion
So the motion passed since a majority (4) were in favour.
For the record, Councillors Beatty, Chorley and Bureau are on the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee – a list of all advisory committees is available here
Apart from the actual motions (below), the source of information for this article is the video record of Council debate and actions. The new escribe software does an excellent job of keeping these videos and indexing them to the agenda (Thanks Brent). To access, go to escribe then “Past Meetings” then choose the meeting category (Committee of the Whole and Regular Council) then select HTML Agenda. Go to the Agenda item (listed below) then click. The video for that agenda item is then available.
- Committee of the Whole June 21 – Agenda Item 10.6
- Regular Council June 28 – Agenda Item 12.2.3
Committee of the Whole June 21
Motion from Cobourg Equity Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee (EDIAC):
Moved by Member Councillor Beatty
THAT the Equity Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee recommend Council write a letter of support to Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and David Lametti the Minister of Justice and Attorney General and the Federal Government on behalf of Municipal Council in support of Bill C-6, being an act to amend the Criminal Code of Canada (Conversion Therapy) as it has been presented without any amendments; and
FURTHER THAT this motion and the letter of support be sent to all municipalities in the County of Northumberland, Phillip Lawrence Member of Federal Parliament for Northumberland—Peterborough South and David Piccini, Member of Provincial Parliament for Northumberland-Peterborough South, and all other municipalities in Ontario.
This motion was also subsequently carried in the CoW meeting 5-1.
Council Meeting June 28
WHEREAS at the Committee of the Whole Meeting on June 21, 2021, Council considered a Memo from the Secretary of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee regarding support for Bill C-6 An Act to amend the Criminal Code (Conversion Therapy)
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council send a letter of support (be sent) to all municipalities in the County of Northumberland, Phillip Lawrence Member of Federal Parliament for Northumberland— Peterborough South and David Piccini, Member of Provincial Parliament for Northumberland-Peterborough South, and all other municipalities in Ontario
Links re Bill C-6
- At last check, the bill was at second reading in the Senate
- Bill C-6 – as passed by House of Commons