Canada | Gay Rights | News | Russia | Sochi Olympics

Canadian Foreign Minister Voices Concern About Russia's 'Hateful' Anti-Gay Law, Sochi Games

BairdCanadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird spoke out today, blasting Russia's vicious anti-gay law and the announcement from that nation's sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, that the Russian Federation would enforce its "homosexual propaganda" law during the 2014 Sochi Olympics. As reported earlier today, Mutko's remarks are directly opposed to assurances given by "the highest levels" of the Russian government to members of the IOC that LGBT athletes and visitors would not be targeted by Russian authorities during the Sochi Games. Baird told The Canadian Press:

"As concerned as we are about the Olympics, that's nothing. That's two, three, four weeks for the athletes and participants and the visitors...This mean-spirited and hateful law will affect all Russians 365 days of the year, every year. It is an incitement to intolerance, which breeds hate. And intolerance and hate breed violence."


"We wanted more than a verbal commitment to the IOC. And now the comments by the Russian sports minister, Vitaly Mutko, are of deep concern. The Olympics is a great celebration of international sport, of international co-operation. This type of law being enforced flies in the face of the entire Olympic spirit."

Baird insists that he and others in the Canadian government have attempted to lobby Russia away from their extreme anti-gay views since the anti-gay propaganda law was first proposed in January. Citing criticism he received in the past for being "too vocal" in denouncing the human rights abuses committed by Uganda's virulently anti-gay regime, Baird said he and his aides were cautioned against being too outspoken in their condemnation of Putin and the anti-gay laws, instead being advised "to work behind the scenes quietly." 6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac4f3038970d-800wi

Attempting to explain the history behind Russia's recent animosity towards its LGBT population, Baird points to a meeting of G8 foreign ministers in May 2012 as an early warning sign that Russia was keen to take action against the LGBT community:

"I can recall being in Washington when (then U.S. secretary of state) Hillary Clinton was chairing the G8 foreign ministers meeting and we put, as part of our statement, support for sexual minorities. Russia put an asterisk beside it saying they were not on board. This did not just pop out of nowhere."

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. @Jim_Elliott Baird is not out. He's in a glass closet.

    Posted by: Chuck LeDuc Díaz | Aug 2, 2013 7:17:36 AM

  2. You know what would really help? If John Baird would finally come out of his "open secret" closet and head over to Russia as Canada's openly gay Foreign Minister. It's not like there's no precedent either. Look at Germany. His advocacy is kind of hypocritically covering the self-loathing as the Federal Conservatives in Canada does not have a single openly gay MP.

    Posted by: andrew | Aug 2, 2013 7:48:49 AM

  3. There is nothing wrong with being outspoken when it comes to human rights on this planet.

    Frankly I'm hoping my country just decides to boycott the Sochi Olympics completely.

    It's time we stand up for what's right, and not cave in because of political pressure

    Posted by: Christopher King` | Aug 2, 2013 11:00:37 AM

  4. @TCW - how dare you comment on Ottawa's most infamous chickenhawk!

    i'm impressed by this, actually, as Baird has FOR YEARS been living in a glass closet. this is something he's done that i'm actually truly genuinely impressed by.

    it's disgusting, like we've all stated, that major world leaders are refusing to flat-out condemn what's happening in Russia.

    what you permit, you promote.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Aug 2, 2013 12:14:33 PM

  5. At least the Canadian Government has taken a stand, although short of outright boycotting Sochi, it's all rhetoric and useless blah blah blah.

    Posted by: david from Edmonton | Aug 2, 2013 1:41:31 PM

  6. Is it possible to hold the Olympics in any of the recent holders that have enough of the facilities available for use?

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Aug 3, 2013 10:33:05 PM

  7. Yes Jerry6;
    Move it to Calgary Canada, they have all the facilities and could likely use the money, and they are ever so Gay Friendly up there!

    Posted by: EJC | Aug 11, 2013 2:24:50 PM

  8. « 1 2

Post a comment


« «Colorado Recognizes First Gay Divorce« «