(NBC) — On Tuesday, Nov. 28, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday offered an apology in the House of Commons to members of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit community (LGBTQ2).
“Today, we offer a long overdue apology to all those whom we, the Government of Canada, wronged. We are sorry. We hope by acknowledging our failings we can make the crucial progress LGBTQ2 people in Canada deserve. We will continue to support each other in our fight for equality because we know that Canada gets stronger every single day that we choose to embrace diversity,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau’s broad apology for “state-sponsored, systemic oppression and rejection” included acknowledgement of the suppression of “two-spirit Indigenous values and beliefs” and “abusing the power of the law, and making criminals of citizens.”
At the same time, the government introduced legislation to expunge the criminal records of those convicted of having consensual same-sex activity. Canada decriminalized homosexuality in 1969, yet records of the convictions remain. The bill earmarks 4 million Canadian dollars ($3.11 million) over the next two fiscal years to carry out the destruction of these criminal records.
Trudeau also announced an agreement had been reached in a class-action lawsuit for 110 million Canadian dollars ($85.80 million) to be paid out to former civil servants and members of the military who lost their jobs because of their sexual orientation. A ban on lesbian and gay military service persisted until 1992.