Canadian Sen. Grant Mitchell of Alberta is the sponsor of Bill C-16 and the government whip in the Senate.
Bill C-16, an act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, was examined for the first time by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee on May 4, more than five months after it arrived in the Senate. A kerfuffle over whether the opposition Conservatives were stalling the bill seems to have been put to rest, and the bill’s sponsor, who is also the government’s whip in the chamber, says it has widespread support.
C-16 would change the aforementioned laws to add gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination. Several attempts to pass similar legislation through private members’ bills have failed in years past, including, most recently, NDP MP Randall Garrison’s (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, B.C.) C-279, which died in the Senate in the summer of 2015 after the election was called.
This is a priority on the part of government. It’s a priority on the part of the government’s representative team in the Senate, and it’s a priority for me, and most of the colleagues who are supporting that bill.
It’s a hill I’m prepared to die on. This has to be passed before the summer break.
One cannot imagine any US senator saying anything similar. I direct you rather to the title I have chosen for this piece.
Mitchell has said that he does not think that government forces will have to use the weapon of time allocation in order to pass C-16 before the summer recess.
I don’t think it’s going to come to that. I think the momentum is clear that there’s a lot of support throughout the chamber in all sides, in all corners.
Conservatives in the chamber have been concentrating on dragging their feet.
Conservative Sen. Don Plett (Landmark, Man.), a critic of the bill, has said he was concerned that it would outlaw discrimination based on gender identity without defining that term, arguing in the Senate that the term ‘expression’ “encompasses no group” in particular. Conservative Sen. Betty Unger (Alberta) also criticized the bill in the Senate, arguing it would essentially force people to call transgendered persons by their preferred pronoun.
Other conservative voices claim that C-16 is "anti-science."