Locked door leads senator to answer questions on Canada’s transgender bill

Click to play video: 'Senator returns to answer questions on transgender bill'
Senator returns to answer questions on transgender bill
WATCH: Despite the intense debate surrounding the Liberal transgender bill, there was a moment of levity as Senator Don Plett entered the Senate chamber Tuesday – May 17, 2016

OTTAWA — Conservative Senator Don Plett probably didn’t expect that a closed door would thwart a quick escape from a barrage of reporter questions.

Yet, the shuttered passage provided a moment of levity in the midst of a very passionate debate on equal rights for all Canadians.

The Trudeau government introduced legislation Tuesday to protect Canada’s transgender community and make it against the law to discriminate on the basis of gender identity or expression.

READ MORE: Liberals unveil bill to protect transgender people from hate speech

“You know my feeling on transgender rights. They haven’t changed since the last time I spoke about it,” said Plett, barely breaking stride on his way to enter the Senate.

However, what he didn’t count on was the pomp and circumstance still unfolding inside the upper chamber, as it does every day the Senate is in session.

Story continues below advertisement

Plett soon realized he was locked out.

READ MORE: Obama tells public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms of their choice

Fifteen seconds went by with an awkward silence as Plett kept his back to the cameras while reporters waited for further explanation about his opposition to the bill.

WATCH: The Liberal government introduced a new legislation that aims to protect transgender people against discrimination and hate crimes. Jacques Bourbeau has the story.

Click to play video: 'New bill to protect transgender people from discrimination'
New bill to protect transgender people from discrimination
“[There’s] still tons of time for you to come back and talk to us,” Global News parliamentary correspondent Mike Le Couteur said to Plett.
Story continues below advertisement

The tension was broken after another senator attempted to intervene in the one-way exchange.

“Now, he’s talking to me,” chimed in Independent (Liberal) Senator Jim Munson, who was there during the scrum.

“The sad thing is, we can see you’re actually standing there and it’s awkward for everybody,” Le Couteur said to Plett.

Clearly amused with the moment, a smiling Plett turned around and made the short walk back to the waiting reporters.

READ MORE: The fight for trans rights: a matter of life and death

While he didn’t answer many questions, he did clarify his position.

“My views on the issue have not changed, they probably will not change,” he said.

“But because it’s now government legislation, obviously a lot of the rules have changed. So, I will make a decision in the coming weeks.”

WATCH: Fight for transgender rights in Canada
Story continues below advertisement

Plett has stood against previous versions of the bill that have come to the Senate.

The former head of the Conservative Party said he has no problem with people that identify as a woman when they are biologically male.

READ MORE: Transgender girls back human rights bill

He has explained his stance in the past, saying “many elements of society are separated based on sex and not gender.”

Some politicians said they worry sexual deviants will use the opportunity to sneak into bathrooms of the opposite sex for their own pleasure.

As such, Plett said he is concerned about “pedophiles taking advantage of the legislation.”

— With files from The Canadian Press.

Sponsored content