|Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a news conference at Premier Tech Ltd. in Riviere-du-Loup, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger
The transgender rights bill, C-279, passed third reading in the House of Commons Wednesday evening 149-137.
The private member's bill, presented by British Columbia NDP MP Randall Garrison, would add gender identity and gender expression to the prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act.
Once passed by the Senate, the bill will also amend the Criminal Code section regarding hate speech to include gender expression and gender identity as distinguishing characteristics. This change would make it illegal to advocate violence against groups based on gender and allow such aggravating circumstances to be taking into consideration during sentencing. This is already in place for crimes committed because of race and religion.
The NDP supported the bill, as did most of the Liberal party, according to media reports. More than a dozen Conservative MPs also voted for the bill including Jim Flaherty, John Baird, James Moore, Lisa Raitt and John Duncan. Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not support the bill.