Tory MP Sloan sponsors e-petition calling for ‘moratorium’ on gender-affirming surgery for transgender minors

September 9, 2020 – Rachel Gilmore – CTV NEWS

OTTAWA — Conservative MP Derek Sloan has sponsored a parliamentary e-petition calling for a “moratorium” on the medical transitioning of transgender youth under the age of 18.

However, Sloan hasn’t said whether he personally endorses the petition’s contents.

The petition also calls for an inquiry into why “vulnerable children” engage in gender-affirming surgery.

“The medical transitioning of these vulnerable youths could be regarded as a crime against humanity that preys on the weakest children and can permanently sterilize them and cause irreversible changes to their bodies and lives,” the petition reads.

The e-petition was initiated in July by Jenn Smith, who self-identifies as a transgender identified male. It has garnered more than 6,600 signatures. That’s well over the 500 signatures required to force the government to issue an official response within 45 calendar days of the petition’s tabling — which can be expected near the end of this year.

When Canadian citizens want to petition the government, they have to get a member of Parliament to sponsor the e-petition. If they can’t get an MP to sign off on it, it won’t be opened for signature on the national, parliamentary stage. Members of Parliament do not always support the contents of the e-petitions, as some sponsor them to ensure their constituents can bring forward any and all of their concerns.

When pressed on whether he personally supports the petition outside the Conservative caucus meeting on Wednesday, Sloan said he’s “sponsored a couple of petitions in the past.”

“It’s a national petition on why there’s an increased number of kids in the foster care system that are being transitioned versus in the regular population. And so that’s something that has been a passion for Jenn for a long time, nobody else wanted to sponsor it and so I said sure.”

While multiple studies have found that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care systems, this is in part “due to children and youth being forced out of their homes, or leaving voluntarily due to rejection or physical or emotional abuse by their family,” according to the Ontario government. That means the number of transitioning youth could be skewed by this overrepresentation.

He also said that he knew Smith “a little bit,” adding that Smith attended a few of Sloan’s rallies.

Speaking to in a telephone interview, Sloan’s chief of staff Benjamin Martin said their office is open to considering the sponsorship of any petition that comes across their desk.

“We would examine any petition request from constituents and Canadians alike on a case-by-case basis,” Martin said.

While neither Sloan nor his staff would not would confirm his personal views on the contents of the petition, his Conservative leadership campaign platform pledged that he would “ban sex-change surgery on children.”

Sloan finished fourth in the Conservative Party leadership race. Still, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, he said he stands by the sometimes-controversial positions he took during his campaign.

“I just want to telegraph to my following that I’m not a typical politician as they see it, who says one thing one day and says something different the next, and so I’m happy to be proud of the things that I stood for and to telegraph to the people that follow me that I’m still in their corner,” Sloan said.

However, those positions are putting Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole in the hot seat, as some Liberal MPs have taken to social media to question why Sloan remains in the Conservative caucus.

“Why is Derek Sloan still in caucus?” tweeted Liberal MP Chris Bittle.

“It’s going on 2 weeks since Erin O’Toole became CPC Leader and crickets on Derek Sloan’s views on woman’s right to choose, anti-gay conversion and more,” tweeted Liberal MP Pam Damoff. “Over to you Erin.”

Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen also added his voice to the calls.

“[O’Toole] said he would speak with Derek Sloan. Has he?” Gerretsen tweeted. “When will O’Toole take a stand?” reached out to O’Toole’s office for a statement on Sloan’s decision to sponsor the e-petition.

“Mr. O’Toole has a clear track record on standing up for human rights, including women’s rights and the LGBTQ community,” said Kelsie Chiasson, a spokesperson for O’Toole, in a written statement provided in response.

Meanwhile, Liberal MP Adam van Koeverden — who serves as the parliamentary secretary to the diversity and inclusion minister — had some critical words when approached him about the petition.

“Everyone in Canada deserves access to quality and compassionate health care – and that includes access to gender confirming surgery,” said van Koeverden in a written statement.

“It is truly shameful to see Derek Sloan and the Conservative Party bring these divisive and dangerous ideas forward.”

Still, as Liberals continue to question Sloan’s caucus membership, Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen told reporters on Wednesday that Sloan’s place in the party is “confirmed.”

“I believe that Derek is part of our team, and he ran for leader of the Conservative Party because he believes in Conservative principles and I certainly believe the best, that he’ll work as a team member and work for the good of all Canadians,” Bergen said.

Sloan said he felt “welcomed” at the caucus meeting.

“There hasn’t been any discussions within our caucus about removing me, so these are questions I guess raised in the media or other places, or [by] other MPs from other parties,” Sloan said.

“I’m glad to be here and working with them.”


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