Vancouver’s Gay Deputy Mayor Tim Stevenson To Visit Sochi Olympics Via Private Fundraiser: VIDEO


Tim Stevenson, the deputy mayor of Vancouver, British Columbia will be making a visit to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where he will petition the IOC to add a non-discrimination clause for LGBT persons to the charter. Stevenson, an openly gay man, has received the financial and ideological support of real estate magnate Bob Rennie and developer Peter Wall. The two have each pledged $25,000 to the trip fund, which Stevenson has estimated will amount to $100,000. Ethical concerns have risen, however, and some question the validity of the trip and its donors.

The Province reports:

Simon Fraser University political science professor Patrick Smith said the project seems noble, but could put Stevenson and Vision in conflict-of-interest danger.

Rennie, known as Vancouver's "Condo King," runs Vancouver's biggest real-estate firm. Also, Rennie Marketing Systems has earned millions selling condos at Vancouver's troubled Olympic Village project.

"It's not like there is a conflict, but there is the appearance or potential for a conflict, and both of those are real," Smith said on Wednesday.

"There is an ethical consideration here. This is one of the biggest developers in the city, and a developer that does business with the city. So what will happen the next time something with Bob Rennie comes up? Will Coun. Stevenson recuse himself?"

Smith said he believes the city could make a strong case to publicly fund Stevenson's official trip to Russia: "If the city wants this, the high road is putting your money where your mouth is."

Stevenson has maintained that the trip is not a conflict of interest for any of the parties involved, but rather an important statement about the rights of all humans.

"I just really believe that if they came for you last night, they're coming for me in the morning, and let's just make sure that these things aren't happening on the earth," he said.

Robertson said that at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, "Regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, everyone was included, everyone was welcome here.

"Sadly, as we are learning, this does not appear to be the case with the 2014 Sochi Winter Games."

What do you think of Stevenson's proposed trip? Would you help fund his endeavor?  


  1. Mike Ryan says

    I’m a big advocate for boycotting the games. I hate seeing anyone spend money on or for Russia, they certainly don’t deserve it. I hated it when Elton, Weir and Roberts went over claiming they were doing so to help the Russian gay people but what came of those follies? Nothing. Weir is so pro-Russia he is seen as a traitor to America. Roberts and Elton went there for themselves and the pot of money they came away with. Their presence didn’t help any one gay person and soon after Elton’s visit a bounty was placed on the heads of gay or perceived gay teachers. My advice would be to boycott the games and take the money you would have spent helping Russian gays get out of Russia altogether. That would, at least, save more gay lives and that’s what we all really want.

  2. Paul R says

    Those costs seem rather inflated, even taking into account a 3-member delegation and Olympic pricing.

  3. Steve says

    I am not in favor of this trip. I am in favor of lobbying Olympic sponsors to support non-discrimination against athletes based on ethnicity, ability, age, etc., and sexual orientation. I am deeply disappointed that the IOC does not already have such a policy in place.

  4. Jason says

    As a British Columbian I applaud Mr Stevenson. The world is slipping on it’s moral ground if we turn a blind eye to the unfolding demonization of LGBT people for economic convenience. This is a parallel to Germany in the 1940’s and it’s important to remember that LGBT people were equally persecuted with the Jews then. This is a deliberate division tactic to drive people into fear and retribution rather than focusing on the failures of Russian government.

  5. says

    “Their presence didn’t help any one gay person and soon after Elton’s visit a bounty was placed on the heads of gay or perceived gay teachers.”

    Actually the bounty placing was before Elton’s visit and has no connection to it, as people pointed out last time you made the false link. Public figures are certainly open for criticism (or praise depending on your POV) for going to Russia and how they behave there, but facts matter. The truth is you have no idea if Elton helped LGBT Russians because you aren’t one.

  6. andrew says

    I think the Deputy Mayor’s trip sounds like a good idea. The more gay and gay friendly people who go to Sochi, and comment about their opposition to Russia’s anti gay policies, the better.

  7. Markt says

    It’s intersting how the posts are split. There is a mindset that the strongest thing you can do is withhold whatever it is you have to withhold. Targeted boycotts can be very successful. But the idea that a single person or a very limited number not going to Russia will be helpful has no basis that I can see. Going and speaking up has a benefit that I can understand. The differences aren’t opinions so much as personality traits. Some people just think punish and withhold. Reaching out and speaking up is stronger and braver I think.

  8. 604brian says

    Agreed MarkT!
    Tim Stevenson has always been a strong advocate for the gay community here in Vancouver. And Bob Rennie as an openly gay businessman has been a positive representative and supporter for the community. I have been acquainted with both of them over the years, and my sense is that these two would be doing this because they think they can affect change.
    I wonder if the high cost is related to legal advice that will be needed for both Russian law, and through negotiations with the IOC.

  9. ratbastard says

    He sounds like a typical bought-off municipal politician. Sounds like he’s owned by big Vancouver real estate interests. There are a lot more of his type in cities across North America an the world.

  10. says

    Can’t believe that it’s 2014 and we are still concerned about people’s sexuality that will never effect us in any way whatsoever. Don’t these people have real problems like bills?