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Bill Siksay

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Template:Infobox CanadianMP William Livingstone (Bill) Siksay, MP (born March 11, 1955, in Oshawa, Ontario to parents Patricia and William Siksay) is a Canadian politician, the Member of Parliament (MP) who represents the British Columbia riding of Burnaby—Douglas for the New Democratic Party.

Receiving his high school diploma from McLaughlin Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Oshawa, Ontario, Bill attended Victoria College at the University of Toronto, graduating with a B.A. in 1978. He then enrolled in the M.Div. programme at the Vancouver School of Theology at the University of British Columbia, studying as a candidate to be a congregational minister in the United Church of Canada. He was one of the first people to come out as gay or lesbian in the process of his ordination and helped start the debate in the church on the ordination and commissioning of openly gay or lesbian candidates.[1] He did not complete the programme and was not ordained.

Prior to running for elected office, he was constituency assistant to Svend Robinson for over 18 years. He also ran in the 1997 election in the riding of Vancouver Centre, but lost to incumbent Hedy Fry.

When Robinson resigned the Burnaby—Douglas seat in April 2004 due to a controversy around his theft of a piece of jewellery, Siksay won the nomination to replace Robinson as the NDP candidate in the upcoming election, and won the riding in the 2004 federal election on June 28.

With his election, Siksay became Canada's first Member of Parliament to be elected to his first term in the House of Commons while already openly gay. All of the previous MPs to come out as gay — Robinson, Libby Davies, Réal Ménard and Scott Brison — came out only after they were already sitting as MPs, and Mario Silva officially came out in a Toronto Star profile shortly after the election.

In the NDP Shadow Cabinet, Siksay is currently critic for Canadian Heritage, Housing, and Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues; the NDP's is the only shadow cabinet with this latter position. He was previously critic for Citizenship and Immigration.

In May 2005, Siksay introduced a bill to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression. (NDP) In the drafting process he was very careful and dedicated to reaching out to the trans and LGBT community via public forums to have integrated their involvement in the process. He continues related work and involvement for transgender issues. Another issue brought up during one of the forums was the possibility of looking into the possibility of future federal influence over building codes to provide trans-friendly unisex and/or single-stall washrooms where possible in new or renovated buildings. Health care is not primarily federal jurisdiction, his focus on this issue has been limited due to this. His work is intended to continue in this area and is generally supported by the New Democrats.

In January 2006, Siksay was re-elected to the Burnaby—Douglas seat with an increased majority.

Siksay resides in Burnaby with his partner The Rev. Brian Burke, and remains an active member of the United Church of Canada.

References Edit

  1. Smith, Dale (July 2007), “Siksay Celebrates 20 Years”, Outlooks: 22, <http://www.outlooks.ca/magazine/2007-07.PDF>. Retrieved on 12 September 2007 

External links Edit


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