Canada | John Baird | News | Russia | Sochi Olympics

Canadian Foreign Minister Denounces 'Gay Propaganda' Law In Letter To Russia

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recently mentioned his country's opposition to Russia's "gay propaganda" law in a letter to Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Federation's Minister of Foreign Affairs. Baird wrote:

Baird“In the lead-up to Sochi, Canada remains concerned about the legislation passed in June 2013 that places a ban on the ‘propagandizing of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.'"

“We encourage the Russian Federation to extend to all of its citizens – as well as foreign visitors – full human rights protections, including freedom from violence, harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation.”

Baird also wrote that Canada would appreciate Russia's cooperation in allowing its consulate quick and consistent "access any Canadian citizen, should the need arise.”

In early August, Baird spoke against Russia's law and urged the International Olympic Committee to do more to ensure the safety of everyone attending the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Canada's city of Vancouver has taken an outspoken role in criticizing Russia's anti-gay law in the run-up to the winter games. Two Canadian winter Olympians marched in protest of the law at Vancouver Pride and the city's openly gay deputy mayor visited Sochi and petitioned the IOC to add an LGBT non-discrimination clause to its charter.

Meanwhile, the French, German and American presidents have all announced plans to skip the games, as has the European Union commissioner and the British Prime Minister (though he contends that his absence has nothing to do with protesting Russia's anti-gay law).

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  1. Daddy!

    Posted by: jake | Dec 30, 2013 8:12:15 PM

  2. It should be noted that while Canada's Prime Minister has said he's not going to Sochi, that wouldn't be unusual. The PM is the head of government, not the head of state, so the PM goes to Canadian, not foreign, Olympics. For those, Canada usually send the Governor-General, and as far as I know, that has not changed.

    Posted by: Randy | Dec 30, 2013 8:16:41 PM

  3. ....also, about those bombings.....

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Dec 30, 2013 8:17:22 PM

  4. It's worth mentioning that it's an open secret in Canadian political and LGBT circles that John Baird is gay. That may explain why this traditionally homophobic Conservative government has been more outspoken on gay rights on the international/foreign affairs front than one would normally expect.

    Posted by: S.L. | Dec 30, 2013 8:34:51 PM

  5. It helps that John Baird is gay as a goose, though not publicly out. He's quite the hottie, but that doesn't make up for being a goddam closety Conservative.

    Posted by: Squirt | Dec 30, 2013 8:38:22 PM

  6. John Baird could do a hell of a lot for the gay community if he wasn't so hush hush about his orientation.

    Posted by: Will | Dec 30, 2013 8:41:25 PM

  7. It's unusual for Canadian politicians to discuss their families or personal lives in the media. Despite this, I find it dissapointing that a foreign minister generally believed to be gay has refused to mention his own sexuality while campaigning for LBGT rights abroad. There are, in fact, zero openly and publicly gay MP's in the federal Conservative caucus. This remains a symbol of the party's history as an opponent of equal rights, up to and including the votes of 134 Conservative MP's against Bill C-279 in March 2013. Minister Baird was one of only 18 Conservative MP's to vote for gender identity protections unanimously supported by every other party in the Commons.

    Posted by: Gary | Dec 30, 2013 8:41:34 PM

  8. What a hunk!

    Posted by: chasmader | Dec 30, 2013 8:49:39 PM

  9. But on the other hand Canada has many out and powerful political leaders such as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, And there are many gay Liberal and NDP members in Parliament. Over to you…Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

    Posted by: shanestud | Dec 30, 2013 8:56:49 PM

  10. Why does Canada still have a Governor General? Isn't it about time they became a fully independent nation and shed the ties of their colonial past?

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 30, 2013 9:31:29 PM

  11. The Governor General is just a figurehead representative of her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, And in keeping with our historic ties to the monarchy as when she is here she is the Queen of Canada. She is the "technical" head of state of many countries in the Commonwealth and we all keep our historical links in regards to our history. Canada is technically a Constitutional Monarchy exactly like Australia and New Zealand as well, We are totally independent its all in keeping being somewhat different from the US which we love doing. It's our history and we keep what we want. PS Americans have a huge love affair with the Royal Family and in some ways miss the fact their "connections" were severed over a couple centuries ago. Canada is independent we just keep traditions alive. She may be on the coins and the $20 but other than that she does what we tell her to do in regards to when it comes to our country. Its all symbolism and history here which we love.

    Posted by: Darrell | Dec 30, 2013 10:50:30 PM

  12. Do the French Canadians also love the connection to the Windsor Family? P.S. Some Americans do like following the affairs of the Windsor Family, in the same way they follow the lives and loves of other celebrities. You are totally mistaken if you think Americans miss the "connection" we severed with British Royalty several centuries ago. We cherish our independence and our status as a Republic. If Canadians like being a Constitutional Monarchy with a foreign monarch, that's fine. To each his/her own.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 30, 2013 11:30:39 PM

  13. Senator Lindsey Graham? Did he ordered a Chinese wife?

    Posted by: simon | Dec 31, 2013 1:40:52 AM

  14. Senator Lindsey Graham? Did he order a Chinese wife?

    Posted by: simon | Dec 31, 2013 1:41:39 AM

  15. Well I commend him for continually speaking up about Russia's disgusting laws but he really should come out.

    Posted by: Derek | Dec 31, 2013 2:08:11 AM

  16. Yum. Tie him up and bring him to me.

    Posted by: Rob | Dec 31, 2013 4:36:47 AM

  17. Another reason to love my country. Go Canada!

    Posted by: Gigi | Dec 31, 2013 8:18:44 AM

  18. The Governor General is not going to Sochi either. As with the US, the delegation will only be members of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

    Posted by: Jim Elliott | Dec 31, 2013 10:08:08 AM

  19. The Governor General is not going to Sochi either. As with the US, the delegation will only be members of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

    Posted by: Jim Elliott | Dec 31, 2013 10:08:08 AM

  20. Queen Elizabeth Rocks. But H8Ers' gonna H8. Whatcha gonna do?

    Posted by: q | Dec 31, 2013 2:06:22 PM

  21. Andrew, this French-Canadian thinks the Monarchy is great. Saves us all the headaches of electing a President as the Prime-minister is simply the leader of the party that gets the most seats in Parliament. By the way, the Queen is not a foreigner when she is present on our soil. Among her titles, she is "Queen of Canada", our "official" head of state; Canada is the only nation, other than the UK to have this honour. And as to John Baird, he has done more on LGBTI foreign issues than any other Foreign Minister. And his vote, together with that of 17 other Tories allowed the amendment of the Canadian Human Rights Act to protect transsexuals to pass Parliament with a majority. I never thought in my lifetime that I would be praising any Tory, but there is our reality, with party lines becoming blurred. He is also doing great work with the Uganda situation.

    Posted by: Denis LeBlanc | Dec 31, 2013 4:11:51 PM

  22. @Andrew: Do the French Canadians also love the connection to the Windsor Family?

    Andrew, the Quebec flag is based on the French royal flag, which seems to never get mentioned.

    Posted by: Randal Oulton | Dec 31, 2013 5:09:23 PM

  23. Denis – There are no Tories at the federal level anymore, thanks to Peter McKay. The Reform/Alliance party absorbed the Progressive Conservatives (McKay's only act as leader of the party) to become the current Conservative party.

    Anyway. More on-topic: My boyfriend was once set up on a blind date with Baird.

    Posted by: Knock | Dec 31, 2013 6:37:18 PM

  24. Canadians, that big chip on your shoulder is showing a gain. I love Canada, love visiting it, have close family relatives and friends there, but that big arose chip on the shoulder regarding the U.S.SOME Canadians (not all,some, mostly leftist and academia) gets old real fast. I don't care if the British queen is Canada's head oif state, none of my business. Personally, if asked, I'd say I would ditch the birth right foreign monarch who lives on the other side of the ocean and declare a republic with an elected hea of state. The concept of royalty is odious IMHO. But the Canadians will not ditch the queen primarily because it makes them different from the 'yanks'. Poor reason, but that's human nature for you.I predict the Australians will ditch the monarch before Canada ever does.

    And I have British (English, Scottish and Irish) lineage, including an English born and raised mother. I'm probably more British than a huge minoirityy of Canadians. But I don't have a problem saying there's no place for 'royalty and monarchs in the second decade of the 21st century. In the case if Canada, it jusdts makjes them look weak and subservient to many non-Canadians.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 1, 2014 11:46:24 AM

  25. His politics might turn some of you off. Besides being a closeted man, thus denying the federal conservatives at least one openly gay member, he is also known for being our Prime Minister's nasty attack dog. During question period when the Prime Minister or the party gets questioned over scandals or other controversial matters, it was up to Baird to smear and use ugly personal insults to derail any attempts by opposition to get at the matter. This recent support of gay rights is rather new. The conservatives gave never been very friendly to LGBT rights in general so you'll excuse us for feeling very skeptical.

    Posted by: Andy416 | Jan 3, 2014 7:00:03 AM

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