Liberal Sarah Eves - Central Okanagan/Similkameen/Nicola answers questions of interest to the LGBT2Q+ community. These answers are printed exactly as answered.
What are your pronouns?
My pronouns are she/her.
Do you support ending the blood ban?
I was recently asked this question at the Virtual Community Queer Town Hall on September 2nd. As I let them know at the time, I have looked at the Canadian Blood Services website and can not find any information that supports the continued ban. That said, Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec continue to consider changes based on scientific evidence and the Liberal government provided $3 million to further advance the research. Canadian Blood Services and Hema-Quebec changed their stance to say that men are eligible to give “blood if it has been more then three months since their last sexual contact with a man” and that their “goal is to remove the current waiting period for men who have sex with men and use sexual behaviour-based screening for all donors instead … by the end of 2021.” I believe if this change does not happen then it is something that we must advocate to have changed.
Are you in support of a bill to ban conversion therapy? If so, are you in support of retooling Bill C-6 to make it more comprehensive and allow for it to be a ban on conversion therapy regardless of age?
Yes, I am in support of the bill to ban conversion therapy. I agree with the United Nations Human Rights Independent Expert that conversion therapy can amount to torture. As well, the very concept behind conversion therapy is that something is inherently wrong with the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and needs “fixing” which is completely false. The Liberal Government declared trans rights as human rights and has passed legislation to fully protect gender identity and expression. A re-elected Liberal government has pledged to re-introduce Bill C-6 within 100 days of getting elected, as well as extend the ban to include those over 18 as well. If elected I will advocate to have this improved bill introduced as soon as possible.
Do you agree that gender affirming surgery should become part of standardized care across Canada? What are your views on the Yukon having an effective model to build from?
While health care is a provincial jurisdiction, I personally believe that gender affirming surgery should be part of standardized care across Canada. I have both friends and family that have had gender affirming surgery and I have heard first hand from them that the surgeries allowed them to finally have their bodies match who they are.
I believe the Yukon model which defines “gender-affirming care as life-saving procedures” is a model all provinces should be looking at and trying to replicate. The model was completed after extensive consultation with the LGBT2Q+ community and allies. It covers everything from working with multiple sectors including education system, tourism and hospitality sector and of course health care.
Do you agree that more needs to be done to increase Canada's support of LGBT2Q+ refugees from around the world?
Yes I believe we can and need to do more. A re-elected Liberal Government will establish Canada as a safe haven for those facing persecution by leading the world in providing safe resettlement to those fleeing political or security crisis, especially human rights defenders, journalists, feminists, LGBT2Q+ activists, members of religious or ethnic minorities at risk and other persecuted groups who remain under threat. We will expand the new immigration stream for human rights defenders and work with civil society groups to ensure safe passage and resettlement of people under threat including Afghanistan.
We will also work with Canadian embassies around the world to support the work of feminists, LGBT2Q+, and human rights defenders by increasing funding to the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
Although not directly about refugees I think it is important to share that a re-elected Liberal government has many important LGBT2Q+ policies in the platform and I encourage you to read it at: https://liberal.ca/our-platform/
What are your views on LGBT2Q+ seniors and their need for dedicated support?
I have only heard from a few seniors in the LGBT2Q+ community but what I have heard from them is they often face discrimination by fellow seniors. What they have told me is that as Canada has moved to be a more inclusive society the stigma continues to be real amongst seniors. In particular, in retirement communities and some long term care homes they have faced discrimination. I believe to help address this we need to work with staff and owners of these facilities to educate them on how to support inclusive communities. I believe like all vulnerable communities there should be a support system in place that seniors can reach out to if they are facing discrimination base on their gender identity or sexual orientation. I would like to see the 1-800 number for seniors that is part of the Liberal platform include services around LGBT2Q+ supports.
What are your views on LGBT2Q+ youth and their need for dedicated support?
As a teacher, a mom of three under 23, and aunt to many nieces and nephews I have heard loud and clear that LGBT2Q+ youth need dedicated support. In the schools we work hard to create inclusive environment but not all LGBT2Q+ youth feel safe to ask for support. The LGBT2Q+ youth I have supported have identified it can be hard to find a counsellor or doctor that understands their particular needs and would like to have more access to specialists in issues that concern them.
What are your views on a National LGBT2Q+ Action Plan in Canada to focus strategy with deliverables, accountability, and funding to ensure LGBT2Q+ are supported in all areas of Canadian society?
I believe the National LGBT2Q+ Action Plan in Canada that was initiated by the Liberal government in 2015 with the goal of improving social, health, and economic outcomes for LGBT2Q+ communities though out Canada. To help start the work they also invested $15 million in grants to over 75 LGBT2Q+ organizations. We declared trans rights as human rights and passed legislation to fully protect gender identity and expression. I believe this is the first step to better support the community across all of Canada and that we must continue to do this important work. A re-elected Liberal government will ensure that the plan is completed and formalized in the first 100 days in office. In order to ensure it is able to complete its goals we are investing $40 million over 4 years in capacity funding to LGBT2Q+ service organizations across the country.