Local bylaw to ban conversion therapy delayed again

·2 min read

The Town of Strathmore has once again delayed the second and third readings of its currently proposed prohibited business bylaw, which would ban the practise of conversion therapy.

This follows a delay which was voted on earlier this month, which Councillor Jason Montgomery had motioned for due to a lack of clarity in some aspects of the bylaw.

This time, Council decided to delay proceeding with the bylaw due to a similar bill being discussed at the federal level, which would supersede a local bylaw.

Mayor Pat Fule suggested that with the federal bill being likely to pass, a local discussion on the topic could simply end up being redundant.

“On this issue we thought that since the federal government is so close to third reading and passing a bill that deals with conversion therapy, we thought it was way more prudent to wait to see if that passed,” he said.

“We could go ahead and push through our bylaw, but we felt it was such a close timeframe for the federal government passing, it’d be wise to wait.”

According to Fule, town council has not yet discussed whether it would continue to discuss the local bylaw if conversion therapy is banned by the federal government.

Though legally, it wouldn’t have any precedent, as the federal law would be applied instead, Fule said the bylaw would still send a positive message to the local community.

“I guess it could be done to show solidarity with the people who have been through conversion therapy or who may have been affected by it.

“I don’t think it would be unnecessary, I think it would demonstrate where Strathmore, as a municipal government, stands on conversion therapy and I imagine if we were to have passed a local bylaw that deals with conversion therapy, we would be added to all the other municipalities to possibly send a message and help put pressure on the federal government to do something.”

Any potential costs associated with passing the local bylaw would simply be regarding any necessary signage around town, and instructing bylaw officers on necessary checks, among similar expenses.

The local bylaw was originally sent to council by the committee of the whole in April. Discussions about its potential implementation have been ongoing since February 2020.

There are currently nine municipalities in Alberta that have passed local bylaws which ban the practise of conversion therapy. Strathmore’s drafted bylaw was based off similar documents written for Calgary and Edmonton.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times

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