Archdiocese of Regina Apologizes for Comments Made by Delegate During Conversion Therapy Debate – Regina


The Archdiocese of Regina said they were unclear with a delegate who spoke at a July 14 city council meeting about a bylaw banning conversion therapy.

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During the meeting, Kevin Philip said he was representing the Archdiocese at the start of his presentation and when asked by a counselor. Philip spoke about the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) declaration on Bill C-6, a federal bill dealing with conversion therapy.

Presenting to the council, Philip reiterated the CCCB statement and said that the Catholic Church is opposed to all forms of coercive and manipulative activity because they do not respect the sacred dignity of a human person and the freedoms inherent in this dignity.

Philip told councilors on July 14 that his problem with the bylaw was the wording and definition used for conversion therapy.

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The regulation proposed by Regina defines conversion therapy as “the offering or providing of behavior modification advice or techniques” and “any other treatment, service, practice or offering or sale of any product”, when it is used for “the purpose of changing a person’s sexuality.” gender orientation, identity or expression, or for the purpose of suppressing or reducing non-heterosexual attraction or non-heterosexual sexual behavior.

Philip said the proposed regulation “qualifies all kinds of therapy, counseling, talk therapy, and even, dare I say, conversations between parents and children, as conversion therapy.”

The proposed regulation does not include treatment or counseling that “relates to a person’s exploration and development of an integrated personal identity without promoting a particular sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression” .

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Mayor Sandra Masters told reporters on July 14 that she believes individuals will always be able to get the help and support they need.

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“Because it’s a bylaw prohibiting doing business, talking to a pastor, talking to your parents, talking to your friends, it’s all a matter of personal choice. It hasn’t been deleted, ”Masters said. “It is about receiving money for the provision of a service that seeks to suppress or convert or anything in that area with regard to gender identity, gender expression or l ‘sexual orientation. “

In his written statement to council and during his delegation, Philip compared the situation to residential schools and parents whose parental rights were taken away from them.

“You do this after removing the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald as a sign of respect for our native communities (who) suffered from the fate of residential schools. Residential schools that told our indigenous communities that they should not be the primary educators of their own children, that they do not have the right to educate their own children… their sacred traditions, their beliefs and their morals.

Philip told city council that by approving Bill C-6 they are “guilty of the very crime (of which they) accused Sir John A. Macdonald”.

“This bill, which you seek to support, tells all Canadians that we should not be the primary educators of our children.

“This bill, which you seek to support, puts us all in a sort of residential school system by telling us that parents do not have the right to educate our own children about our sacred traditions, beliefs and morals. .

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Speaking to Global News, Philip said he understood how the comments could have been viewed as “deaf and dumb” given the recent findings of anonymous graves at residential school sites.

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“Maybe I should have used a different example, but I think the connecting line is strictly all about empowering parents and educators, community and civic leaders, cultural leaders, (who) communicate ( and) educate (and) pray with and heal most of our vulnerable people.

In a statement to Global News, the Archdiocese said Philip was not employed by them but had been asked to represent the Archdiocese’s position on the settlement discussion regarding the CCCB statement.

“Comments Kevin Philip made beyond what is contained in the CCCB statement were his and do not represent the position of the Archdiocese. Archdiocesan staff have not been clear enough with Kevin Philip about his role as representative and apologizes for the ambiguity of this role and the resulting pain and confusion, ”the statement said.

Kristopher Wells, professor at MacEwan University and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Sexual and Gender Minority Issues, studied conversion therapy and wrote a guide for legislative action. He told Global News that his concerns about conversion therapy legislation restricting parental autonomy is a “common tactic” used to limit any legislation or activity that supports LGBTQ2 youth.

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“For example, we see common parental objections to gay alliances in schools, to the inclusive LGBTQ curriculum, even to school policies designed to create safe environments for LGBTQ students. So to see those same arguments being trotted against conversion therapy legislation is not surprising, ”Wells said.

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He added that it is disappointing to hear this argument crop up in discussions about the regulation of conversion therapy.

“This is spurious because there is nothing in these laws or in the City of Regina bill that deals with private conversations of parents with their children. We hope that all parents will have open and supportive conversations and behaviors towards their children.

“Unfortunately, we know this is not always the case, and especially for LGBTQ youth.”

At the July 14 meeting, some delegates, including Philip, also expressed concerns that Regina’s proposed regulation and Bill C-6 would affect a person’s ability to seek advice. .

This concern was also raised by the Ward 10 Coun. Landon Mohl, who was the only councilor to vote against the settlement at the July 14 meeting.

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Wells said it was another common and fallacious argument filled with misinformation.

“There is nothing in these proposed regulations that restricts counseling or any kind of support until it is judgmental (and) based on an anti-LGBTQ premise that there is something wrong with being LGBTQ or having gay attractions that need to be changed, ”Wells said.

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He added that he thought it would be misleading to think that advisers do not provide neutral and worthless space for their clients.

As for Philip’s delegation in particular, Wells said he found his comments “objectionable” and that the Archdiocese should apologize.

“Let’s be clear, the Catholic Church is the last organization that should lecture anyone about residential schools so that the comparison between this conversion therapy regulation and residential schools is not only offensive, it is shameful,” he said. Wells said.

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Wells added that the Archdiocese must apologize to Indigenous communities, including Two-Spirit people, as well as the LGBTQ2 community for the comments that were made by Philip.

“If the Archdiocese of Regina can’t even send an official representative, well, how serious is conversion therapy to begin with? But for now, those comments have done a lot of harm and the Archdiocese of Regina must apologize directly, ”said Wells.

The Council heard from nearly 30 delegates on July 14. Some identified themselves as residents of Regina and others called from other parts of the country.

Wells said other municipalities have taken a different approach and only allowed residents to speak at public meetings.

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He said he was also surprised that Regina City Council had authorized further public consultation on the matter.

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“Some municipalities just don’t have open forums about these kinds of bylaws or policies that impact vulnerable people because they know the harm that can occur outweighs any benefit,” Wells said.

“Like, let’s be honest, did any of those comments, those hateful and hurtful comments, influence city council in their decision-making?” No, all we’ve done is open up a platform and with that platform, allow for more exposure and a wider audience.

Wells said the city could have asked people to write instead and summarize those comments in a report to council.

The bylaw banning conversion therapy will be given a third reading on Wednesday at the 1 p.m. meeting.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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