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'Unprofessional, unloving': Council debates conversion therapy ban
Edmonton councillors are working to ban conversion therapy and fine businesses that continue to offer it.
On Wednesday, council heard the public's opinions on conversion therapy—a practice that attempts to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
"It just doesn't work. It's junk science, it's immoral, it's repugnant," said Kris Wells, Canada Research Chair for the Public Understanding of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth at MacEwan University.
"We're concerned that the end result of these initiatives is to develop a Canada where those who believe something other than the current pansexual narrative find themselves as Canada's prisoners of conscience," said Ray Baillie with the Edmonton area Ministerial Association.
Mayor Don Iveson called the practice "unprofessional" and Ward 4 Councillor Aaron Paquette deemed it "fraudulent."
"We need to do this, and we do need to make a public statement of our community values."
The motion will be fine tuned at next week's council meeting.
If the ban is approved, it would likely be in place by the end of the year. Businesses who continue to practice conversion therapy would have their licence revoked and be fined $10,000.
With files from Jeremy Thompson