Canada PM apologises for oppression on LGBTQ communities
TORONTO: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized Tuesday to members of the LGBTQ community for actions taken by the government against thousands of workers in the military and public service during the Cold War.
Trudeau said in a speech to Parliament that from the 1950s to the early 1990s, the federal government employed a campaign of oppression against members and suspected members of the LGBTQ communities. The thinking of the day, he said, was that all non-heterosexual Canadians would automatically be at an increased risk of blackmail by Canada's adversaries.
"This is the devastating story of people who were branded criminals by the government — people who lost their livelihoods, and in some cases, their lives,'' Trudeau said.
"These aren't distant practices of governments long forgotten. This happened systematically, in Canada, with a timeline more recent than any of us would like to admit."
Trudeau said the public service, the military, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police spied on their own people, inside and outside of the workplaces. He said Canadians were monitored for anything that could be construed as homosexual behavior, with community groups, bars, parks, and even people's homes constantly under watch. He said when the government felt that enough evidence had accumulated, some suspects were taken to secret locations in the dark of night to be interrogated.
He said those who admitted they were gay were fired, discharged, or intimidated into resignation.