Mr President my fellow delegates my name is Sheamus Regan I am Canada’s minister of Labor I’m very grateful to be here today my husband also wanted to be here today my husband’s name is thank you thank you my husband’s name is stelio’s constantinos Deuces he is my husband of 13 years that’s still
Still such an extraordinary thing for me to say because as a journalist I I covered the battle for marriage equality in Canada just 20 years ago and at that time it was still illegal for same-sex couples to marry it was it was an impossibility for me to even
Entertain the idea as a Young Man only 30 years ago editorials in our newspapers argued that to sanction marriage between two men would lead to legalizing bestiality and open the way for men or women to marry horses or sheep so Canada is still relatively new to this
When I speak about this to you I speak with all due humility but equality happened it happened I am here in front of you no one married a horse no one exchanged vows with the Sheep people just became free to be who they already were free to love who they choose to love
Canada is proud to be a founding member of the ILO we have demanded much of each other we have also had patience with each other but we have all in our own way and in our own time worked to the same goal fair just and safe work as a fundamental
Right not as a cultural circumstance and we keep moving forward not back Never Back I see the protection of vulnerable workers as a fundamental reason for the ILO because the fact is I am a vulnerable worker I am Canada’s labor Minister but I am gay and I am married
I would not be able to work or I would be jailed or I would be condemned to death if I happened to have been born in some of the member States before me in this August form that we all share to defend the rights of all workers to defend the rights of all
People to have decent work to defend the rights of all people to live happy and fulfill lives so let me tell you something that I now know I was I was born this way it was not taught I wasn’t groomed this is as natural to me now as the color of my eyes
It is who I am my green eyes were never judged but yet so much around me growing up in Canada 40 years ago told me that who I was was wrong that it was shameful that it was sinful I was vulnerable the protection of vulnerable people is
Not a tangential matter to this body the equality of every man of every woman of every person is not a point for negotiation I can tell you that my love for my husband will never again be negotiated by a government and I can tell you that I will never let
It be negotiated away or demeaned by anyone in this place or anywhere this is a place where we can and we must find common cause rights are achieved for some in their own time Canada respects that because that’s our experience too but once rights are achieved once they are named
We will not stand by and have them brushed over put back in the closet or taken away [Applause] thanks the global the global Coalition for social justice is built on this fundamental tenant that when we leave one person or one group of people behind we endanger everyone
And when we leave one country behind one country behind to fight an unlawful illegal invasion of its Sovereign borders it endangers us all so Canada stands with workers in Ukraine we stand with workers and we stand with workers in Russia we stand with workers in Belarus our prime minister and our Deputy Prime
Minister were just in Kiev not three days ago to make that point clear to the Ukrainian people and to Vladimir Putin to the Ukrainian people who are fighting for their lives while we sit in this room safely debating budgets we are with you to Ukrainian workers who simply want to
Provide for their families through the threats of drones hitting homes and artillery hitting offices we are with you Canada will give you our economic humanitarian and Military Support until this war is over until you have won this war because this is our fight for those of us who believe in the
Promise of democracy this is our fight for those of us who believe in peace order and good government this is our fight and so that I may stand here in front of you as you’re equal free to be who I am and free to love who I choose this is my fight
Merci beaucoup thank you [Applause]
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