The Globe and Mail is launching a new survey this week that will try to measure public support for the proposed changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act.
The survey, titled Why the Question?
, will ask people their opinion on whether or not the bill, currently in its second reading, “makes Canada a more welcoming place for LGBT Canadians.”
As of Tuesday, it had received more than 30,000 responses.
“I think we need to have a conversation about our rights,” said Andrew Stewart, co-founder of the LGBT advocacy group Gay & Lesbian Advocacy Alliance, which is participating in the survey.
“It’s important to have that conversation with Canadians, especially when it comes to the LGBT community, but it’s also important to do it honestly, as people want to hear what they think.”
Stewart says the survey will attempt to answer the question of how many people are concerned about the bill and whether it is the right solution.
But it is also important for people to have some idea of what the bill is all about, he said.
Stewart, a former journalist and the founder of a website that tracks news coverage of Canada’s LGBT community , has been collecting data about Canada’s civil liberties laws for the past decade.
He says the poll is an attempt to gauge public support.
“People don’t necessarily have a lot of faith in government to actually do anything in terms of protecting our rights, so it’s really important to ask these kinds of questions,” Stewart said.
“And if people think the law is the best solution, it’s very important that they understand it’s not.”
Stewart and other participants in the poll are trying to gauge support for Bill C-279, which the Liberal government has proposed to amend the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to include provisions against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The bill would give the government the power to criminalize discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
The Conservative government is expected to support the legislation.
The proposed changes are being considered in the House of Commons, but they are not expected to pass this fall.
Stewart says that while there is a lot at stake for the LGBT population, it is important to remember the importance of civil liberties protections in Canada.
“The issue is not the LGBT in Canada, but the whole of the Canadian population,” he said, noting that people can vote with their feet on whether to pass the bill.
“You could be out on the street and you would be targeted.”
In a statement to The Globe, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said he is confident the bill will pass.
“We’re proud to be representing the people of this country and look forward to working with them on this important legislation,” Goodale told the newspaper.
The Liberal government says the bill protects the rights of people who are harassed in their workplace, including those who are transgender.
Goodale has said the proposed legislation would protect those rights, but has not provided details on how the legislation would do that.
“This bill is designed to protect people’s freedom to live their lives as they choose, including their right to choose to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity,” Goodell said in a statement.
“To do otherwise would be inconsistent with the Charter of rights, and it would be against the very essence of what this country is all, a democratic society based on the principles of equality and inclusivity.”
The bill was originally proposed in 2013, but was dropped.
In 2016, the federal government passed Bill C5, which added protections to the LGBTQ community.
It also added the right to marry and the right for same-sex couples to adopt children.