Mr. Bill Siksay
Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence has made great strides on the whole issue of transgender and transsexual Canadians' place in that organization. There recently has been some positive publicity about the way the Department of National Defence has supported transgender and transsexual people transitioning from one gender to the other who are members of the Canadian armed forces or working with the forces. The department is to be congratulated for that enlightened policy. It is one place in our federal government where there is the positive aspect of full inclusion and where equality and the gifts and talents of transpeople are recognized.
With regard to particularization of offences, we have good legislation around hate crimes. Judges are allowed to increase sentences if they determine that hate was a motivating factor in a crime. This section of the law has been used a number of times and more recently it has been used in relation to the experience of gay and lesbian Canadians in particular.
There has been some confusion about how to use that law but that should not put into question the value of that kind of legislation, the value of that aspect of the Criminal Code. It has received great public support at times where it has been clearly determined that hate was a motivating factor when a crime was committed, particularly an assault or a murder. That kind of provision has incredible support among communities that have been affected by discrimination.
I would take exception by saying that being more particular somehow limits the application of that law. It has been used appropriately and it gives the courts and judges appropriate mechanisms to deal with particular kinds of crime.
Subtopic: Canadian Human Rights Act