Prisons ordered to allow sex changes

VANCOUVER – The Canadian Human Rights Commission ruled that the federal prison system’s ban on sex change operations for inmates is discriminatory and gave Corrections Canada six months to come up with a new policy. It also directed Corrections Canada to improve the way it serves the needs of transexualists in jail. The ruling is based on the case of Synthia Kavanagh, formerly Ricky Chaperon, a male convicted of murder who said he felt his gender was female. In 1999, Kavanagh entered Joliette Institution for Women, a medium-security prison, and a complaint was filed with the HRC over his not being placed in a women’s prison.

Report shows gambling widespread

CALGARY – A report by the Canada West Foundation finds that the number of problem gamblers could be as high as one million with all Canadians spending $28 billion on casinos, lotteries, racing and slot machines. It found that legal, often state-sponsored gaming is vast. The report said, gamblers in Canada lose their money “on one of 38,252 VLTs, 31,537 slot machines, 32,932 lottery ticket centers, 1,880 bingo centres, 59 casinos, 70 race tracks (20 with slot machines) or 107 teletheatres.” Social problems that arise from problem gambling include addiction, bankruptcy and family stress. The report warns that “gambling has expanded at a rate well beyond an ability to monitor or assess it sconsequences,” and calls for a public health approach to measuring gambling’s impacts and continual review of the impacts of gambling.

Same-sex couples immigrating

FORT ERIE, Ont. – The Toronto Sun reports that a record number of same-sex couples are moving into Canada through Buffalo because they can be legally recognized as families. Immigration officers say that over 200 same-sex couples are granted landed immigrant status at the Canadian visa office in Buffalo annually, compared with 30 common-law couples. Buffalo visa officers say most of the same-sex couples are granted status because they have good jobs, are well educated and their cases are well documented.

CBC journalist speculates pro-lifers may be to blame for terrorist attack

OTTAWA – National Post financial pages columnist Terence Corcoran revealed that a CBC writer blamed the terrorist attacks on New York on “anti-abortionists.” Writing about various conspiracy theories offered by some in the press, Corcoran said, “Another adventure into the ideological absurd was a CBC Radio interview, on the day of the attack, with a writer who disliked the idea that Islamic terrorists were being singled out as the likely perpetrators. Instead, he offered the implausible conclusion that the destruction of the World Trade Centre could have been the work of American right-wing extremists. Among the possibilities, he said, were U.S. anti-abortion activists.”

Quebec Christian schools fight to remain open

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada upheld a Quebec Superior Court decision that maintained September as the closing date for 11 publicly funded Christian schools in that province. Last year, the province passed a law prohibiting denominational schools. Jocelyn Aubut, president of the Association of Franco-Protestant Schools, said her organization, which lost this round before the courts, said another appeal scheduled for Oct. 11 will refer to the constitutional agreement between Upper and Lower Canada permitting the Christian religion in minority to maintain separate and publicly funded schools.

Bank’s anti-family discrimination

MONTREAL – The No Committee 2006 opposing Montreal’s bid to host the Gay Games in 2006 was refused the right to open a bank account at the Royal Bank. Daniel Cormier, a Protestant pastor involved with the committee, was told by a public relations officer at Royal Bank that “we refuse to support or oppose discriminatory activities of any kind.” Cormier said the committee has “nothing against homosexuals,” just that it doesn’t want government funding of the flaunting of a homosexual lifestyle.