CONCERNED CITIZENS OF BC
We are a non-partisan, non-politically-aligned group of British Columbians whose “membership” is
concerned about some of the directions that public discourse and policy are taking at the present time, and is keen to participate in respectful conversation with others about how we might do better. Our “membership” is indeed informal: it comprises whoever agrees to rally around a particular cause at any given time in pursuit of the common good. There is no membership “list.” One of the core commitments that drives us is the commitment to the long-term preservation of a properly free, pluralist, and flourishing society in BC. This is challenging business, and it requires a lot of hard work on all sides.
Among its various requirements is that we protect each other’s freedom of speech, and do not seek to suppress it by misrepresenting its true nature. This is a crucial matter, since without genuine freedom of speech, other freedoms cannot be peaceably defended. Especially when it comes to matters about which we strongly disagree with each other in society, it is imperative that we commit to genuine dialogue in the public square, rather than trying to
dominate that space. And this brings us to our particular and immediate concern.
When it comes to matters of sexual orientation and gender identity at present in BC, this imperative to listen as well as speak is currently being ignored by significant numbers of dominant voices, who resort quickly to the language of “hate” and “phobia” whenever others challenge their views. One of the consequences is that all but the most robust citizens begin to keep to themselves their beliefs and concerns about what is happening around them. This can easily lead to a situation in which the “correct line” insisted upon by the dominant voices gains the appearance, for lack of public contradiction, of self-evident truth. And this is a particular problem when politicians then seek to legislate on the basis of “the facts” – since the “facts” that they encounter are those from only one side of what ought to be (but is not in reality) a proper public debate. Poorly drafted and even dangerous legislation may then follow.
The Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protection Bill (M 218–2019) that is currently before the BC Legislature represents just such poorly drafted and even dangerous legislation. The content of the Bill can be accessed HERE. A brief analysis of its problems can be found HERE. A more detailed essay providing deeper analysis and lots of important background information can be found HERE.
If you agree with our analysis, we invite you to join us in trying to persuade the BC government not to call the bill in the Fall of 2019, or if they do, not to pass it without important amendments. This should be a matter of concern to all British Columbians, irrespective of their political or other beliefs, and we hope that together we can persuade our politicians, for the common good, to listen to our voices in this matter. We have already sent to our MLAs a letter signed by over forty professional people that outlines the problems with the bill and offers constructive proposals for amendments. You can sign a petition in support of this letter on another page on this website.