Randy Boissonnault will work with advocacy groups to promote equality for lesbians, gays, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirited people — a term used broadly to describe indigenous people who identify as LGBTQ.
WATCH BELOW: Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault acknowledges that his new role as special adviser on LGBTQ2 issues will require a lot of outreach with the LGBTQ2 community to build for the future.
Boissonnault, who represents the Edmonton Centre riding, will also lead federal efforts to address historical and current discrimination against LGBTQ2 people.
He will, however, stay on as parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian Heritage.
“Diversity and inclusion have long been among the values that are most important to Canadians,” Boissonnault told a news conference.
“We all have a duty to act against discrimination and address injustices of the past.”
The announcement came as the Liberal government introduced legislation Tuesday to repeal a Criminal Code provision on anal intercourse that is considered discriminatory.
The law currently bans the sexual act, but there is an exception for heterosexual married couples and consenting adults of either sex over the age of 18. Courts have found the provision to infringe on equality guarantees under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, since 16- and 17-year-olds can consent to all other forms of sexual activity.
The proposed legislation would prevent charges being laid against those 16 and older who engage in consensual anal intercourse.
WATCH BELOW: Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould announced Bill C-32 which looks to repeal sect. 159 of the criminal code which unfairly criminalizes anal intercourse in certain cases and is considered discriminatory to the LGBTQ community.
In his role, Boissonnault will explore the possibility of an apology to LGBTQ2 people whose lives and careers were disrupted by government policies over the decades, or even formal pardons for those convicted under laws now considered discriminatory.
The government says the appointment is part of its broader efforts to ensure that all Canadians are treated equally and with respect.
“We have made great strides in securing legal rights for the LGBTQ2 community in Canada — from enshrining equality rights in the Charter to the passage of the Civil Marriage Act,” Trudeau said in a statement.
“But the fight to end discrimination is not over and a lot of hard work still needs to be done.”
Watch above: Prime Minister Justin Trudea has named Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault his special adviser on LGBTQ2 issues. Gord Steinke speaks to Boissonnault about the new position.