Canadian Conservative MP Derek Sloan is leveraging his opposition to a ban on conversion therapy to appeal for donations.
Sloan, who ran unsuccessfully for leadership of the Conservative Party earlier this year, has emerged as one of the leading opponents of the Canadian government’s plan to ban attempts to ‘cure’ people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bill, which also bans people from advertising conversion therapy or profiting from the practise, has been hailed by UN experts as setting a new global standard on the issue.
Conservative MP Derek Sloan begs for donations after voting against conversion therapy ban
CBC revealed that Sloan, one of just seven to vote against the bill in a 308-7 vote in parliament last month, has been sending fundraising emails touting his opposition to the legislation in an effort to drum up donations for his re-election campaign.
In an email to supporters he repeated a stream of false claims about transgender people and the bill, claiming that it “would contribute to the massive increase we are seeing with little boys and girls who are being chemically transitioned because of their feelings of gender dysphoria”.
He added that “by donating to my re-election, people can help to ensure my voice remains in parliament”.
The brazen attempt to fundraise off the back of the issue has been condemned by LGBT+ rights supporters.
MacEwan University professor Kristopher Wells, Canada research chair for the public understanding of sexual and gender minority youth, told CBC: “He’s characterising gender affirmative care as bodily mutilation and continues to spout this rhetoric that would deny youth in particular the opportunity to seek care to improve their life opportunities, mental health and well-being.
“He’s trying to politicise LGBT+ people and their lives for his own personal gain and benefit.”
However, Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole has declined to condemn Sloan’s fundraising on the issue, directing questions to the MP’s office.
A spokesperson for the party leader, who voted for the ban but has voiced objections to some elements of the legislation, said: “Mr O’Toole believes that conversion therapy is wrong and should be banned, that is why he voted in support of the bill at second reading.
“We will be proposing a reasonable amendment so that all parties can support this important legislation.”
MP previously defended suggestions being gay is a ‘choice’
While running for leader in March, Sloan was widely condemned for a car-crash interview in which he defended suggestions that being gay is a “choice”.
The MP, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, insisted: “Whatever the cause of sexual orientation, which I still maintain is scientifically unclear. That is the position of science right now.
“Science right now is saying that, yes, there’s biological components, but there’s many other factors that play into it and they don’t even know how they all work together.”