Gray

Conservative MP Tracy Gray, shown in the House of Commons in this file photo, was one of 62 Conservatives who voted against a bill to ban conversion therapy. The measure was supported by the Okanagan's three other MPs.

Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray was among 62 Conservatives who voted against the federal Liberal's bill on Tuesday to outlaw conversion therapy.

Such therapies, widely condemned, are aimed at trying to change someone's LGBTQ identity to heterosexual.

Gray said Wednesday she is in favour of banning conversion therapy but says the Liberal's legislation was flawed.

"I believe conversion therapy is wrong and should be outright banned in Canada," Gray wrote Wednesday in an email.

"But many witnesses felt Bill C-6 needed improvements to its wording, including the definition and rights of parents and advisors to have conversations," Gray said.

"Suggested amendments to simply add clarifying wording, taken right off the Canadian Department of Justice's own website, were also turned down," Gray said.

"I have been an ally of the LGBTQ+ community and my past long record in business and as a city councillor shows this," she said.

The Okanagan's other two Conservative MPs, Dan Albas and Mel Arnold, voted in support of the bill. Richard Cannings, the NDP MP for South Okanagan-Kootenay, also voted in support.

"Conservatives like myself are committed to ensuring protections are in place to ban conversion therapy in Canada and that the law targets coercive practices, and not conversations, as the Justice Department says the bill is intended to do," Albas wrote in an email.

Arnold said, if elected, a Conservative government would make changes to the law. "Attempting to forcibly change a person's sexual orientation through conversion therapy is wrong which is why Bill C-6 is necessary," Arnold wrote in an email.

"That said, I am very disappointed that other parties failed to support an amendment that could have clearly defined conversion therapy in the legislation," he said. "A clear definition of conversion therapy is needed to clearly prohibit the coercive practices in question."

The bill, which now heads to the Senate for final approval, passed in the House of Commons by a vote of 263-63. It was supported by the governing Liberals, the NDP, and the Bloc Quebecois.

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole also voted in favour, along with 56 other Conservative MPs.

Conservative Justice Critic Rob Moore said a Conservative government would introduce a bill that provides a better definition of conversion therapy.

"The Liberals ignored reasonable efforts to build a consensus and strengthen the bill," Moore said in a statement.

Conversion therapy practices can include talk therapy, hypnosis, electric shocks, and fasting. The American Medical Association has condemned the practice as "harmful and ineffective".

Members of the governing Liberal party say banning the practice is necessary to protect the rights and dignity of people who identify as LGBTQ.

"There is international consensus in the medical community that conversion therapy is not founded on science and does not work," the Liberal party platform states.

"To ensure that no one is subject to this practice, we will move forward on our promise to work with provinces and territories to end conversion therapy in Canada, including making amendments to the Criminal Code that will prohibit this harmful and scientifically disproven practice, especially against minors," the Liberal statement reads.

Lance Greenberg, a former aide to Kelowna-Lake Country Liberal MP Stephen Fuhr, has written a letter to the editor denouncing the 62 Conservatives for voting against the bill to outlaw conversion therapy.

"I can't help but think that the Conservative party views LGBTQ individuals as subhuman and not worthy of compassion," Greenberg wrote in the letter to the editor.