Trudeau's Liberals Promised to End the Blood Ban

Written on 06/11/2021
Staff Columnist

Justin Trudeau's Liberal party promised to end the blood ban during his first campaign for Prime Minister. Now, the party is saying it's "complicated." In The Big Story podcast, host and CityNews journalist Jordan Heath-Rawling said that Justin Trudeau told LGBT voters that he would stop Canada's long-established ban that prohibits men who have sex with men from donating blood.

Looking back, it seemed like a simple promise to keep, CityNews said in the podcast posted on Monday, June 7, with guest Justin Ling, an investigative journalist. Years have passed, and Trudeau now says abolishing this ban is not as simple as it seems.

Erin O'Toole, leader of the Conservative Party, is now calling Trudeau out for pushing this issue aside. The Conservatives are vying for the LGBTQ community's support, leading them to ask: How is this over four-decade blood ban still in place?

The blood ban started when Health Canada was doing an inadequate job at screening blood transfusions leading to patients receiving blood with hepatitis, HIV and other infectious diseases. "It shattered people's illusions about the blood system, about our health system. It fundamentally weakened trust in what governments ought to be doing to ensure the health and safety of people who rely on government services," Ling explained to Heath-Rawling.

"You also started to see this reactionary and knee-jerk blame placed on the queer community in Canada who, of course, have historically faced higher HIV rates than other populations," he continued.

At one point, it was even speculated that Health Canada was sometimes sourcing blood from U.S. prisoners. As a result of this huge mistake made by Health Canada, the government came up with rules to ease the public's perception of what happened - one of those rules being that men who have sex with men cannot donate blood.

Trudeau claims his government is "following science" but hasn't clarified what he is referring to. Canada needs blood now more than ever before, and critics question this 'discriminatory approach', especially when Canadian technology has come so far.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.

(Image Credit: Daily Beast)