Canadians expect government to speak out on Russia's anti-gay law: PM -

Canadians expect government to speak out on Russia’s anti-gay law: PM


MIRAMICHI, N.B. – Stephen Harper has waded into the controversy over Russia’s new anti-gay law.

Speaking in Miramichi, N.B., the prime minister says Canadians expect his government to defend human rights.

Harper says Canada is not a country where people are jailed or killed for their political positions or for engaging in certain consensual acts between adults.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird also expressed hope that the controversy would be resolved before the Games begin in February.

The controversial Russian law bans so-called “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” and imposes fines on people who stage gay pride rallies.

Russia says it has no intention of changing the law as international pressure builds ahead of next year’s Winter Games in the Black Sea resort locale of Sochi.

“I think it’s important to recognize there are some controversies in this matter, but the reality is that our position is that we don’t imprison or kill people for acts committed freely between adults,” Harper said.

“We don’t imprison people for their expressing political positions. I think our position in this regard represents the position of Canadians and they expect that we speak in favour of these rights.”

For his part, Baird expressed concern about what the anti-gay law will mean for Canadian athletes and spectators at the Games.

“We are concerned, obviously, about Canadian athletes and other participants, spectators and attendees of the Olympics there,” Baird said during a conference call with journalists.

“But we should be very clear: they’re only going to be there two or three weeks. The people of Russia will have to deal with this law 365 days of the year, every year. Let’s hope that decency will prevail.”

There have been calls for protests, a boycott and petitions to move the Games to Vancouver, where they were staged in 2010.

Baird, who is in Brazil on trade talks, says the furor over the law is a chance to put President Vladimir Putin’s Russia under the microscope.

“We’ve got an important opportunity for the free world to be able to focus on what’s happening in Russia in the recent weeks and months, and hopefully that can yield a change.”

The foreign affairs minister also says he was pleased that the International Olympic Committee asked the Russian government to clarify parts of the law.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said Russia provided written re-assurances about the law on Thursday, but some parts remain unclear.

“We are waiting for the clarifications before having the final judgment on these reassurances,” Rogge said.

Russia’s sports minister has said Olympians must respect the country’s laws during the Sochi Games.

However, the Russian government says it will respect the private lives of Olympic athletes.

With files from The Associated Press

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Canadians expect government to speak out on Russia’s anti-gay law: PM

  1. This is stupid. The IOC knew Russia’s policy on LGBT when they awarded them the Games, it’s nothing new. It’s a bit late to be making an issue about it now. If it was that important to the IOC they should have disqualified Russia from the outset. The blame lies with them, not with Russia. Any anyone talking about moving Games that are 6 months away to Vancouver is drinking Drain-O.

    • not true – the legal changes were made in February, well after they were awarded to Russia. While Russia may not have been pro-gay in the past, they have criminalized homosexuality and now promote physical violence against civilians doing nothing wrong. That said, moving the games to Vancouver will not happen.

    • The games were awarded to Russia in 2007, John.

  2. Russia will suspend the law for the Olympics, because they’re not about to go around arresting foreign athletes and audiences.

    Protests and demonstrations should be interesting though. Could even help Pussy Riot who recently called Putin ‘homophobic vermin’. LOL

    • It’s what they will do to their own is going to be the problem.

      • Yeah, and Uganda is even worse…but there’s not much we can do about it. It’s up to the Russians to fix it.

        Russia is hell on immigrants, blacks and now gays….backwards with a vengence.

        Medvedev was better even in the short time he was there.

  3. Boring!

    Tell us about Australia’s “One Nation Party” candidate, Stephanie Banister.

    She’s one funny sheila!

  4. “……..Harper says Canada is not a country where people are jailed or killed for their political positions or for engaging in certain consensual acts between adults…….”

    Did the Prime Minister actually append the modifier “certain” to the phrase “consensual acts between adults”?
    Dear oh dear!
    Please to list the other consensual acts between adults which would result in a custodial sentence?

    If one holds the “political position” that the Holocaust did not occur or seeks membership in the political wing of Hamas, rightly or wrongly, is not one jailed in Canada?

    • Canada has Nazis and KKK….it’s not illegal.

      • You missed my point entirely. You do not seem to me to be particularly thick, perhaps you are just not trying hard enough?

        • You can’t make a point when you’re wrong to begin with.

          • Dear oh dear.
            It just goes to show the utter folly of teaching people to read and write. Perhaps in your case it has nothing to do with ‘trying hard enough’? For instance, try as I might, I would not beat Usain Bolt in a 100 meter foot race. A girl’s got to know her cognitive limitations.

  5. OOOPPPSY Conservative real women spoke out of turn , They will be spanked for that