Apology to Canadians persecuted for being gay coming Nov. 28: Trudeau
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, right, participate in the annual pride parade in Montreal, Sunday, August 20, 2017. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)
Published Sunday, November 19, 2017 4:53PM EST
Last Updated Sunday, November 19, 2017 9:05PM EST
OTTAWA -- Canadians who were criminally charged or fired from the military or Canada's civil service because of their sexual orientation will receive a formal apology from the prime minister before the end of month.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed on Twitter on Sunday that an apology in the House of Commons is coming Nov. 28 for historic wrongs committed against Canadians because they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered.
On November 28, the Government will offer a formal apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the House - for the persecution & injustices they have suffered, and to advance together on the path to equality & inclusion.— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 19, 2017
A national security purge led to the firing of thousands of Canadians in the military, RCMP and public service because of their sexual orientation starting in the 1950s.
Also, prior to 1966, many Canadians were criminally charged and convicted of gross indecency because they were gay.
At the time, the government had a policy excluding homosexuals from taking part in the military, called Canadian Forced Administrative Order 19-20.
In summer 2016, CTV Montreal reporter Tania Krywiak filed some of the early reports that helped to shed light on these injustices. CTV reported the stories of several women veterans who were harassed, interrogated and eventually discharged in the 1980s because they are gay.
They spoke of the emotional scars they bear because of the way they were treated, with some continuing to suffer from PTSD, insomnia and anxiety.
It was only recently that these women found out they might be eligible for veterans’ assistance and a government pension.
However what they want most is an apology from the government, which some feel has taken too long.
In November 2016 two former members of the Canadian military, including Martine Roy from Krywiak’s reporting, launched class-action lawsuits against the federal government because they’d been discharged due to their sexuality.
A few weeks later Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed MP Randy Boissonnault to address the discrimination faced by LGBTQ individuals and communities. Egale Canada also recommended an apology to affected Canadians and Trudeau promised he would do so.
In March a group of LGBTQ former members of the Canadian military launched a petition seeking a formal apology from the Prime Minister.
On November 28, Trudeau will make good on his promise, and by the end of the year expects to introduce legislation to issue pardons to anyone who was convicted because of consensual sexual activity with same-sex partners.
With files from The Canadian Press.