On June 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law legislation that contains a provision that allows the government to arrest and detain gay (or "pro-gay") foreigners for up to 14 days before they would then be expelled from Russia.
In 2014, Russia is to host 2014 Winter Olympics; many LGBT Canadian athletes, and their family and friend will be in attendance and must not be placed at risk. These citizens will not benefit from the same protections afforded Minister John Baird.
Indicative of the atmosphere greeting our LGBT athletes, supporters and John Baird; an attempt to obtain a Pride House was struck down by the Russian Ministry of Justice, which refused to approve the registration. The ban was upheld by Krasnodar Krai Judge on the basis of inciting "propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation which can undermine the security of the Russian society and the state, provoke social-religious hatred, which is the feature of the extremist character of the activity”. It would be inconceivable that Canada would attend games that criminalize or subject Jews or blacks to such treatment.
Canada has a glorious history of LGBT advocacy and fittingly was the pioneer as the hosts of the first Pride House at the last Winter Olympics. In London last year, Minister Baird again took to the moral high ground before an audience of leaders, on the issue LGBT stating "We don't compromise on basic rights,"
Given the legacy and the words of our minister, Canada must boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
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