George Klippert

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Everett George Klippert (1926–1996) was the last person in Canada to be arrested, charged, prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned for homosexuality before its legalization in 1969; the reforms which led to Canadian legalization of homosexuality were a direct result of the Klippert case.[1]

Klippert, originally from Kindersley, Saskatchewan, was raised in Calgary, Alberta. In 1960 he was convicted on eighteen charges of gross indecency and sentenced to four years imprisonment. Upon his release he moved to northern Canada. He was working as a mechanic in Pine Point, Northwest Territories in 1965 when he was picked up by police for questioning in connection with a case of suspected arson. Although he was found not to have had any involvement in the fire, Klippert voluntarily admitted to having had recent consensual homosexual relations with four different adult men. He was subsequently arrested and charged with four counts of "gross indecency".

A court-ordered psychiatrist assessed Klippert as "incurably homosexual", and Klippert was sentenced to "preventive detention" (that is, indefinitely) as a dangerous sexual offender. Klippert appealed to the Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories; his appeal was dismissed. He then appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada; his appeal was dismissed in a controversial 3-2 decision.[2]

The day after Klippert's conviction was upheld, New Democratic Party leader Tommy Douglas invoked Klippert's name in the Canadian House of Commons, stating that homosexuality should not be considered a criminal issue. Within six weeks, Pierre Trudeau presented the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 (Bill C-150), an omnibus bill which, among other things, decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults. The law passed, and homosexuality was decriminalized in Canada in 1969.

Klippert, however, remained in prison until July 21, 1971, whereupon he was released. He lived 25 more years before his death from kidney disease in 1996.

In 2016, the government of Justin Trudeau indicated that it plans to recommend a formal posthumous pardon of Klippert's conviction.[3]

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