What a great day for Canada, and a proud moment for Laurentian University.
I want to congratulate two members of our Laurentian community in particular, Dr. Lynne Gouliquer and Dr. Gary Kinsman, for playing key roles leading to the federal government’s historic apology to members of Canada’s LGBTQ2 community.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today issued a formal apology to the thousands of former civil servants and military personnel who were discriminated against, interrogated, and purged from their jobs over more than 40 years, simply because they were members of the LGBTQ2 community. This apology comes on the heels of the announcement this weekend of a settlement in a class action lawsuit related to the matter.
As the Prime Minister has said, this is an important step toward equality and inclusion in Canada.
I am proud of our country for moving to right a historical wrong against the LGBTQ2 community. And as President of Laurentian University, I am extremely proud of Dr. Gouliquer and Dr. Kinsman for their tireless determination to reach this point.
Both Lynne and Gary worked for many years, both separately and then together, to research the impact of the purge of LGBTQ2 Canadians and to advocate for all of those whose lives were affected and even lost because of a discriminatory policy.
For Dr. Lynne Gouliquer, that research took place over a decade. She worked with University of New Brunswick researcher Carmen Poulin to interview 126 LGBTQ2 soldiers and their partners, generating the only data set of its kind with regards to military repression and purges. As a former member of the military, Dr. Gouliquer has a deep personal connection to this apology.
Dr. Gary Kinsman meantime also worked for many years on these issues, writing the book “Regulation of Desire” outlining the history of the gay and lesbian communities in Canada. It wasn’t until he helped found the group “We Demand an Apology” two years ago to seek federal accountability for the discrimination, that they began working closely together.
The results speak for themselves. While this apology is certainly not the end of this painful chapter in our history, it is a major step in the right direction. And much of it is thanks to the research excellence and the collaborative process we pride ourselves on here at Laurentian.
Kudos to Lynne and Gary. Your hard work and dedication will continue to serve as shining examples of what we can achieve when we work together to help each other and improve our communities.