Canadian Press reports that the money will be paid out as part of a settlement lawsuit for employees who were sanctioned, investigated and fired as part of a ‘gay purge’ during the Cold War era.
During the Cold War (and from 1950-90) discrimination against LGBT+ federal workers was widespread as the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and the military feared gay and lesbian members could be open to blackmail by the Soviet Union.
The Canadian government even went so far as to commission the creation of a homosexuality test — a so-called “fruit machine”, which was used by the federal government throughout the 1960s.
— CBC Politics (@CBCPolitics) November 28, 2017
“It’s also been an incredibly long time coming,” Gary Kinsman, spokesman for the We Demand an Apology Network told CBC.”I’m very saddened by the fact that many of the people who really needed to be apologised to have passed away.”
“It should have happened decades ago, in my view.”
The decision to compensate federal workers was reached on November 24, just days ahead of a scheduled apology by President Justin Trudeau for historic discrimination against members of the country’s LGBT+ community
On November 28, the Government will offer a formal apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians in the House – for the persecution & injustices they have suffered, and to advance together on the path to equality & inclusion.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) November 19, 2017
Trudeau’s government have also announced plans to put $250,000 toward community projects to combat homophobia and provide support for LGBT people in crisis. Plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the federal decriminalisation of homosexual acts (due to take place in 2019) were also announced.
Specific details of the agreement must still be worked out by the parties and approved by the Federal Court, but it’s expected that several thousand people will be eligible for the financial compensation, reports The National Post.
© 2017 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.