Huron-Bruce constituents express anger over MP Ben Lobb's conversion therapy vote

A bill to criminalize the practice of forcefully trying to “turn someone straight” has passed third reading in parliament. But not before 63 Conservative MPs voted against it.

“It’s extremely disappointing, jaw dropping, really,” says Fort Papalia, the founder and president of Kincardine Pride.

Papalia says he knows many Huron-Bruce constituents who are upset that their MP, Huron-Bruce’s Ben Lobb, was one of those 63 members voting against Bill C-6.

It's a bill that moves to ban most activities surrounding conversion therapy, including the advertising of the controversial practice.

“I’m against conversion therapy,” says Lobb. “It’s an abhorrent practice that has no place in Canadian society. But, what we were really looking for was an open and honest conversation that parents could have,” says the Huron-Bruce MP.

Lobb says he supported Bill C-6 on second reading, and would have earlier this week too, if the government had added an amendment better protecting a parents, or mentors, or doctors' ability to have a conversation about conversion therapy.

“Anybody that says Ben Lobb supports conversion therapy is lying to you. Because I don’t. I do not support conversion therapy. I’m against it. But it really comes down to the ability to have the conversation,” says Lobb.

That's semantics says Papalia, and AJ Adams, who is researching what it’s like to grow up and live LGBTQ2+ in rural Ontario.

“Fifty per cent of LGBTQ folks from rural Ontario believe that Conservative views and beliefs are one of the largest barriers for them. So, this just adds to the narrative that Conservatives in small towns are anti-gay, because we know that really isn’t true,” says Adams.

“Here was an opportunity for him(Lobb) to show leadership. Show us why conversion therapy is wrong and why it needs to be outlawed. He didn’t. So, he failed his community, and his constituents,” believes Papalia.

Bill C-6 is now headed to the Senate for debate.