Sunday, February 12, 2017

Meet Randy Boissonnault, Canada's First LGBTQ2 Special Advisor to the Canadian Government

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Written by Dylan C Robertson

The secret to keeping on top of MP Randy Boissonnault’s work is his “gay agenda.” Boissonnault was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in November 2016 as the Liberals’ new special advisor on LGBTQ2 issues, to help co-ordinate the government’s response to issues ranging from including trans people in Canada’s human-rights code, to a promised repeal of restrictions on gay men donating blood. In an interview with Xtra, Boissonnault says the government’s move towards an apology and redress would include creating some kind of historical record for those who were persecuted by the Canadian government. The federal government intends to move forward on a case-by-case basis if it issues compensation or pardons to people who were jailed and fired for being gay. “When it comes to compensation, there’s all kinds of models — and it’s also important when we’re looking at anything to do with pardons or discharges that we look at this on a case-by-case basis,” Boissonnault says. “We’re going to look at very many different ways, including leveraging technology, getting people’s stories on the record — doing this is a respectful and sensitive way.” Boissonnault breaks down his job into three parts: as a focal point for queer Canadians to reach their government, a co-ordinator among multiple government departments and a spokesperson to highlight successes and shortcomings.