Over the weekend, Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to posthumously pardon Everett George Klippert, a former City of Calgary bus driver who was labeled a dangerous sex offender and locked up in prison 50 years ago after telling police he was gay.
“The prime minister intends to recommend that a pardon under the authority of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy be granted posthumously to Mr. Klippert,” Trudeau’s office said in a statement.
It all started after an arson attack in 1965. Klippert was questioned about the fire by police. Though it was ultimately determined that he was not involved, during questioning he did admit to having consensual sexual relations with four men. Because of this, he was charged with four counts of gross indecency.
In 1966, a Crown-appointed psychiatrist concluded that Klippert’s homosexuality was “incurable” and that, therefore, he was a “dangerous sexual offender.” A judge agreed and sentenced him to prison, where he stayed locked up until 1971, two years after homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada.
Today, Trudeau hopes to right that wrong, and as many others his office can find.
The weekend’s statement went on to say that the 43-year-old leader will look to pardon other members of the LGBTQ community who were unfairly convicted on charges such as gross indecency and buggery.
“As Canadians, we know that protecting and promoting fundamental human rights must be an imperative for governments and individuals alike, and this includes gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation,” the statement said.
Trudeau also announced he will march in Toronto’s Pride parade on July 3, making him the first sitting Prime minister in Canada to participate in the event.
H/t: CBC News