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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Revisions to the bill that would ban conversion therapy made MP Bob Zimmer comfortable voting to approve it after voting no in the previous government.

MP Bob Zimmer explained why Bill C-4 was approved by both sides of the House of Commons, as well as his thoughts on the direction of government moving forward on Moose Talks Friday.

To Zimmer, the language in the initial bill, C-6, was concerning because it limited freedom of speech.

“My main concern was the conversations between parents and children, and a pastor and their congregation. I was concerned that, somehow, those would be made illegal. And, with the language that’s in Bill C-4, it makes provisions for those conversations to happen,” said Zimmer.

“It’s also backed up on the Constitution, so you still have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, et cetera, that will protect those conversations. So, in that event, I didn’t oppose the bill at this time.”

That was one of the tasks completed in the short time Parliament was in session before Christmas. Zimmer says, after an election that accomplished insignificant seat shuffling, there was an unusually long delay before Parliament finally came together.

“It was inordinately long. Normally, there’s about 30 days or so between the end of the election and the start of the sitting, and we were at almost 60 days. So, it took a long time to finally get back there.”

One of Zimmer’s new files in the 44th Parliament is his role as shadow minister for northern affairs, arctic sovereignty and northern economic development agency. He says he’s making headway in addressing some of the issues not on the Liberal government’s radar.

“I got up to speed on that, and was asking some key questions of the foreign affairs minister, Joly, and some other questions in the House. And frankly, I didn’t get very good answers. That was kind of symbolic of a lot of what we were pushing the government to do.”

Zimmer says, with so many important files and issues, he’s wondering who’s in charge.

“We got a lot of non-answers, and I’m concerned about the lack of understanding of some of these very important files. And really, who’s in charge of the government is really concerning right now.”

Zimmer addressed the recent comments made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling the unvaccinated “misogynists” and “racists.”

“To really see the Prime Minister come out with such a verbal attack to fellow Canadians, to call them racist and misogynist, and saying they’re anti-science, it’s just simply not true. As I said in my column, it’s one thing for a neighbour to say that about his or her neighbour. It’s a completely other thing for somebody that is the Prime Minister of the country to say that about one of the citizens they represent is reprehensible.”

Zimmer says the comments made by Trudeau deserve an apology, but he’s not holding his breath.

“We’ll see if that happens, I hope it does. But, the Prime Minister has apologized for other things. I’ve never seen a more divisive Prime Minister in my life than this guy, so all that said, we have a lot of work to do.”

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