From CBC News:
Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney blocked any reference to gay rights in a new study guide for immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship, the Canadian Press has learned.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says his department tried to make an ‘inclusive’ immigration study guide, but couldn’t fit in every government policy and legal decision.Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says his department tried to make an ‘inclusive’ immigration study guide, but couldn’t fit in every government policy and legal decision. (CBC)
Internal documents show an early draft of the guide contained sections noting that homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969; that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation; and that same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in 2005.
But Kenney, who fought same-sex marriage when it was debated in Parliament, ordered those key sections removed when his office sent its comments to the department last June.
Senior department officials duly cut out the material — but made a last-ditch plea with Kenney in early August to have it reinstated.
“Recommend the re-insertion of the text boxes related to … the decriminalization of homosexual sex/recognition of same-sex marriage,” says a memorandum to Kenney from deputy minister Neil Yeates.
“Recommend the addition of ‘equality rights’ under list of rights. Had noted earlier that this bullet should be reinserted into the list as a means of noting the equality of all based on race, gender, sexual orientation etc.”
In the end, however, Kenney’s view trumped that of the bureaucrats. The 63-page guide, titled Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, was released with fanfare last November and contains no mention of gay and lesbian rights.
About 500,000 copies were printed and citizenship applicants will start being tested on its contents March 15.
[Read more at CBC News]