Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Cohesiveness, or the desire for cohesiveness, in a group may produce a tendency among its members to agree at all costs. This causes the group to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation. – Wikipedia
By unanimous vote Canada’s Parliament has passed a bill outlawing conversion therapy. The Bill now makes its way to the Senate, where in theory there will be an examination of the legislation, the sober second thought the upper chamber was created for.
Wikipedia describes conversion therapy as the pseudoscientific practice of attempting to change an individual’s sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual using psychological, physical, or spiritual interventions. There is no reliable evidence that sexual orientation can be changed, and medical institutions warn that conversion therapy practices are ineffective and potentially harmful.I
have no desire to open a debate on sexual orientation. I would like to consider though the process through which this legislation was passed, two days after the Bill was first introduced.
Passing a law in Canada can be a lengthy process. Once introduced it is studied by a committee, then sent back for debate in the House of Commons. Frequently it is amended during the process.
For legislation to pass unscrutinized disturbs me. Why do we need parliamentarians if they just rubber-stamp the will of the executive branch?
The governing Liberals insist there is no need for the legislation to be debated. After all, a similar bill was passed in the last parliament but didn’t become law becasue the Liberals called a snap election.
And that was their second attempt. A previous bill died when the Prime Minister prorogued Parliament.
As far as the governing party is concerned, there has already been sufficient debate on the issue. Except, this is not the same legislation. The old Bill outlawed conversion therapy for minors. The new one outlaws it for everyone.
To me that is a substantive change that should have been discussed. Instead the Opposition parties joined the Liberals in their groupthink.
I understand conversion thereapy is a controversial subject. To be seen as supporting it is politically unwise. The Liberals would certainly have portrayed anyone voicing supporert as a neanderthal advocating torture. I have never studied the subject so I can’t agree or disagree with any sort of expertise.
I do know though that Canadians are supposed to have rights and freedoms. Choice is one of the things they espouse.
However, it often seems like the only allowable choice is the one the Liberal Party approves of. Any choice but their position is therefore just wrong.
I know there are people who are conflicted about their sexual orientation. Some of those may even may, for various reasons, wish to change that orientation. Is that possible? Not according to the Liberals apparently.
If this Bill sails through the Senate with similar groupthink it will be law before the month is out. That means it would be illegal for someone who wishes to explore changing their sexual orientation to seek out counselling. And illegal for anyone to counsel them. So much for choice.
Especially since the legislation works only one way. This Bill makes it illegal to provide counselling to help a person to become heterosexual. There are no penalties for counseling aimed at helping a person to become homosexual. You can draw your own inferences from that.
Fast tracking legislation without parliamentary scrutiny harms democracy. But it isn’t the sort of thing the average person notices. The government is counting on people not caring, especialy if they support the intention of the new law.
So there won’t be much of an outcry about this, until the Supreme Court rules the law to be unconstitutional. If indeed it does – which would require a ruling based on the law and not on the justices’ feelings.
Maybe we shouldn’t care about the erosion of democracy and civil liberties. Why not let the government just do what it likes? Can’t we just trust our politicians?
I think you know the answer to that one.