Alberta government cancels plan to ban gay conversion therapy
The right-wing government in Alberta, Canada has closed a working group tasked with banning so-called gay conversion therapy.
The United Conservative party (UCP), which came into power following an election on April 17, said it was ending the group because it it doesn’t see its validity.
“We don’t think there’s a need to address it specifically because it’s not a valid health service,” Steve Buick, press secretary to Health Minister Tyler Shandro, told the Vancouver Sun.
“It’s not practised in Alberta and it cannot be, because no health professional regulator would permit it. Any regulated health professional—doctor, nurse, psychologist—would be found guilty of unprofessional conduct if they practiced it.”
“We don’t think there’s a need to address it specifically.”
—Steve Buick, press secretary to Health Minister Tyler Shandro
He confirmed that the party opposes so-called conversion therapy, adding: “Our priority is always to make sure nobody is forced to do anything, especially children.”
Gay conversion therapy ‘still happening’ in Alberta
Critics have argued that the practice is in fact taking place in Alberta.
“Despite not being able to be billed, it’s still happening,” said Nicole Goehring, an opposition member of the Alberta legislature who was co-chair of the working group.
“It’s not advertised, the language is vague, but it’s still occurring.”
Goehring, whose Alberta New Democratic party were in government until the April election, said that she fears the issue has become politicised and urged the UCP to continue her work.
United Conservative Party members hold anti-LGBT views
In the run-up to April’s election, a number of UCP members courted controversy with anti-LGBT views and policies.
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