So, after reading this blog post at Dented Blue Mercedes, I decided that I should call the office of Mr. Vic Toews, and ask for it to be explained to me why the Minister of Public Safety can just ignore what the Human Rights Tribunal and what the federal courts have said on the basis of him not thinking they were right. I'm not at all an expert on how the legal/political system works, so perhaps he can just ignore them, but I really thought that the only way to ignore a federal court was to take it to the supreme court.
For those that say that the blog post I linked to was tl;dr, basically Mr. Toews decided to halt medical coverage for transgender inmates gender reassignment surgery. This means trangender offenders, some of which have been getting hormones and other preemptive treatments are being housed based on their physical sex. And the Canadian prison system does not condone the kind of abuse a transgender offender is liable to get in that situation. And a transgender patient who has had this procedure is far more likely to reintegrate back into society when their sentence is at an end.
So I called, asked if a minister could just ignore a federal court and the HRT at will. The woman that I spoke with said that I needed to be more specific, I talked about this situation, she told me I would be better off to e-mail Mr. Toews' office, but warned me that they received two thousand e-mails a week. So, I sent my e-mail on Monday, November 29 :
Hello office of Mr. V. Toews,
I was wondering why the decision to cease funding to prisons for gender reassignment surgery was stopped, Mr. Toews saying that he (or, well, we, but I'm not sure who he was speaking for, and don't wish to presume) " do[es] not believe that sex change surgery is an essential medical service or that Canadian taxpayers should pay for sex change surgery for criminals." However, as he admitted to being aware of, "the courts" have ruled that it is an essential medical service. Specifically, a 2001 Human Rights Tribunal, and a 2003 federal court. I am completely confused as to why these seemingly esteemed courts' decision can be ignored so easily, as I was under the impression that what a court said goes.
It doesn't seem like this is enough of an issue to really have a problem with, with a relatively small amount of the population with Gender Dysphoria, even less who are convicted, and even less that fit the profile that the former minister Stockwell Day set up for recieving GRS. Plus, not allowing those with Gender Dysphoria to get surgery seems like a way to not help them reintegrate back into society, as well as put them in unwelcome situations, since prisons are seperated between the sexes, and those with Gender Dysphoria are judged by their physical characteristics.
I would love to get an answer to how the courts, federal and HRT, are able to be so easily ignored in this kind of situation, and why such a decision would be even made, as the surgery is obviously not a cosmetic one, given that medical societies aplenty have said publically that Gender Dysphoria is a very real issue, and that GRS is an essential medical service.
(I'm never sure how to start these kinds of e-mails, and often fall back on hello. Seems silly, but 'dear' seems even more awkward.)
On Friday, I sent another e-mail, summarizing my concerns, and asking if they've gotten my e-mail/if they're noticed it amidst their rather large traffic of e-mails.
I was given a short response, saying that my e-mail had been forwarded to the Public Safety department where it was being investigated, and that it would then be passed onto Minister Toews. (In the past I only ever talked to a minister's employees when I sent e-mails expressing concern about an issue.)
I'll post again when I recieve on answer, or when I become impatient waiting!
Hmm, I'm liable to send more MPPs and MPs e-mails about things, this will likely also be a recurring post...