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Canada To Offer Asylum To Gay Russians Facing Persecution

CanadaOur neighbors to the north have recently announced they will offer refuge to gay Russians suffering under the yolk of Putin's anti-gay regime. According to The Globe and Mail:

Canada’s refugee board is likely to look favourably on claims of persecution by gay asylum-seekers from Russia, the Immigration Minister says.

Chris Alexander said Monday in Surrey, B.C., that Russia has taken the wrong path in restricting the fundamental rights of its gay community, and that any refugee claims “related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system.”

Rob Hughes, a lawyer representing two Russian gay men currently seeking refuge in Canada, called the Canadian government's decision "quite encouraging." And though he believes many in Russia would be interested in seeking safety in Canada, for others it might not be possible due to the financial burdens faced with coming to America:

6a00d8341c730253ef019104bbb85f970c-300wi“On the other hand, because of the cost and visa requirements to get here, I don’t think it will be floodgates,” he said. “And certainly with my experience with LGBT refugee claimants … it’s never been like a boat load of people coming here to Canada. It’s always singly, or possibly a couple.”

LGBT people seeking asylum in Canada due to persecution abroad historically have applied for refugee status the same as other asylum-seekers. In fact, Canada has a history of offering safe-haven to LGBT persons who reside in states unsympathetic even hostile towards them:

Canada also resettles refugees living in [refugee] camps abroad, and former immigration minister Jason Kenney, now the [Canadian] Employment and Social Development Minister, adopted a policy of trying to resettle gay refugees fleeing Iran and Iraq. Mr. Kenney said in January he “cannot think of a more obvious case of persecution.”

The Canadian government has also recently voiced concern over the anti-gay laws in Russia. For their part, two Canadian Olympians showed their solidarity with LGBT Russians by marching in Vancouver Pride.

Though it is unclear how many people have already fled the country due to that nation's aversion to LGBT individuals,  according to The Globe and Mail, approximately 140-225 Russians arrive in Canada every year claiming refugee status. It is also uncertain at this time whether the Canadian government will now begin tracking the number of individuals seeking asylum due to their sexual orientation.

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  1. Excellent news, but yolks are for eggs, not Putin's anti gay regime (yoke)

    Posted by: Brian1 | Aug 15, 2013 8:10:04 AM

  2. Another reason to love Canada!

    Posted by: Jack M | Aug 15, 2013 8:13:30 AM

  3. Wonderful news.

    Fill in the blank - Take that, Mother _u_ _ _ _.

    Answer - Take that, Mother Russia.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Aug 15, 2013 8:17:55 AM

  4. I look forward to the day that the US opens its doors (and heart) to gay refugees being persecuted in other countries the way Canada has.

    Posted by: jleo71 | Aug 15, 2013 8:32:07 AM

  5. The True North strong and free!

    Posted by: frostburn | Aug 15, 2013 8:43:55 AM

  6. I second the above commenter: Another reason to love Canada.

    Posted by: Tom Chicago | Aug 15, 2013 8:56:24 AM

  7. Canada is grossly underpopulated, arguably the most underpopulated nation on Earth. The U.S. on the other hand has the 3rd largest population of any nation on Earth. Canada need more people, hence it's government policies regarding immigration. It's difficult in this respect to compare Canada with the U.S.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 15, 2013 9:02:27 AM

  8. I'd love to sponsor a Russian asylum-seeker. We are a gay couple, I speak some Russian (and want to learn more), we have a big house, and can afford it. I'd jump at the chance to get some Russian LGBT out of that hell hole. I'm going to check out the Immigration Canada website right now.

    Posted by: Jeff | Aug 15, 2013 9:11:54 AM

  9. Canada is considerably larger than the USA. Canada is the 2nd largest country in the world, second to Russia. So it's not because they're underpopulated it's because they care & have room for more... :D

    Posted by: frostburn | Aug 15, 2013 9:15:11 AM

  10. And the GLBT community in the US should assist in this process by financially contributing to help GLBT Russians make the move to Russia. I think Canada should also accept GLBT asylum seekers from Mississippi and Alabama while they are at it :-)

    Posted by: KJPNYC | Aug 15, 2013 9:20:28 AM

  11. RATBASTARD we do not have anti-oppressive immigration policies In Canada because we need more people. We have enough people. You're right, It is difficult to compare the US with Canada in this case: Canada welcomes the LGBT persecuted and champions the cause of LGBT citizens around the world (and this is our Conservative party); while the US still has anti-gay legislation on the books in some parts and LGBT face discrimination daily (refusal of service, back of the bus, violence and even death - 11 violent anti gay attacks in NYC in May of THIS year). Seriously, the Don't Say Gay bill in Missouri and Tennessee is the same in practice as the propaganda bill in Russia - the antigay sentiment is the same, it just hasn't passed in the US. So you're right, the US cannot compare. It shouldn't actually be judging either.

    Posted by: Matt | Aug 15, 2013 9:26:34 AM

  12. RATBASTARD~ I think you need to educate yourself a little. We are NOT underpopulated. We are actually quite highly populated in most of the areas people live here. I don't think we are going to ship people in and then ship them north. We are a caring country. We care about humans and that people should have the right to a life free of persecution. We have big hearts and believe in making the world a better place. We provide free health care to all our people so that everyone is taken care of. We are proud to be a country that cares. Your statement is rude and pretends that we have some kind of ulterior motive. I assure you, that gaining citizenship in Canada is not as easy as you like to pretend it is. If what you were saying was true we would be just handing out citizenship to anyone who applied.

    Posted by: Lyndsay | Aug 15, 2013 9:41:08 AM

  13. "And though he believes many in Russia would be interested in seeking safety in Canada, for others it might not be possible due to the financial burdens faced with coming to America"

    Canada isn't America, but it is in North America if the editor wants to add a little edit.

    Posted by: DavidP | Aug 15, 2013 10:15:34 AM

  14. Once again, Canada leads the way.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Aug 15, 2013 10:16:10 AM

  15. Every day I wake up and thank my lucky stars I live in this wonderful country and today I thank them twice!

    to DAVIDP ... does it bothers you that Canada is part of America the same way the the United States "of" America is? Pity, it strikes me you could do much worse in terms do neighbours to share the hemisphere with.

    Posted by: yvr man | Aug 15, 2013 12:11:20 PM

  16. After hearing the news, Russian LGBT responded, “You know, it’s not really that bad here. We’re adjusting. Thanks Canada but we’ll be fine.”

    Posted by: Frank | Aug 15, 2013 12:26:18 PM

  17. Dear Frank, you are an idiot.

    Posted by: John | Aug 15, 2013 12:45:43 PM

  18. So what are they going to do with the people who have been waiting for residency for years?

    Posted by: bloke | Aug 15, 2013 1:13:55 PM

  19. @Frostburn,

    The U.S. is the 3rd largest country area-wise, with the 3rd largest population, on Earth. Canada is GROSSLY under-populated. Of course most of Canada is a resources rich wasteland with a climate most humans wouldn't want to live in year round, which is why most of Canada's population lives in the extreme southern edge of the country, along the border with the U.S. But it's still very under-populated. Even the U.S. compared to over-populated Asia and Europe is under-populated with 320 million people.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 15, 2013 1:29:55 PM

  20. @Ratbastard. Canada is not under populated. Most of the land is not arable and can't really support a larger population. That is why so much of the population is huddled in that thin arable strip along the US border. And good gravy, I have no idea why such a bizarre concept from a foreigner would even have a bearing on the particular topic at hand.

    Posted by: Randal Oulton | Aug 15, 2013 1:47:38 PM

  21. Glad that I'm Canadian.

    Posted by: Anon | Aug 15, 2013 1:48:00 PM

  22. Why the heck is the US not following suit for gay refugees worldwide? #shameful

    Posted by: Joel V | Aug 15, 2013 2:31:13 PM

  23. Canadians can be VERY touchy regarding ANY criticism or even just mild neutral observations about Canada. I thought you guys were stronger than that? Many Canadians certainly have no problem voicing disapproval or expressing observations about the U.S. and Americans.

    And the U.S. does take in refugees, of all kinds, in large numbers. The Tsarnaev clan of Cambridge,MA were 'refugees', who received a ton of public assistance. Just one example, there are MANY more. It's estimated we have minimum 20 million ILLEGAL 'migrants' alone [a low ball figure].

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 15, 2013 4:25:32 PM

  24. Ratbastard: (Appropriate choice of a name btw.)
    While much of what you say is accurate, you are mistaken on one crucial point: it is BECAUSE of our compassion as a country - not population - that we open our borders to our sisters and brothers, the only expectation being that they feel safe and can be who they are; If you ask nicely we might just consider letting you visit us.
    Also: it's not that we're touchy. We just don't care for ignorant, misguided, uninformed stupidity from people whose logic is flawed while their arrogance remains intact.

    Posted by: Canada | Aug 16, 2013 6:57:11 PM

  25. OMG I wanna sponsor Pavel Petel!

    Posted by: dumbnhung | Aug 16, 2013 8:44:15 PM

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