As Canadian citizens we enjoy a quality of life that few other places in the world can appreciate. This is our privilege, and one of the many reasons that a life in Canada is so coveted; we enjoy many rights and freedoms that are easy to take for granted. Canada has been a world leader when it has come to advancing not only human rights in general, but more specifically the rights of the LGBTIQ community.
The Winter Olympics has always been Canada’s time to shine. We all get excited when we watch Canada compete on a world stage in the sports we excel at best. They are a great teaching tool to teach kids about different nations and cultures, and there’s always a special thrill of excitement and national pride when the games come.
Russia, the next site for the Olympic Winter Games in 2014, is committing some horrible human rights violations. We cannot turn a blind eye to the plight of not only Russian citizens, but those citizens of other nations that are endangered by the anti-LGBT laws that have been created in this part of the world. We need to stand up and put pressure on them to change.
Calling for the Canadian Olympic Committee to withdraw the team from competition, and boycott Sochi 2014 is not intended to punish the Canadian athletes who have worked hard for this opportunity. It is our hope that Canadian Olympians will stand with us and speak out against these violations, and let the world know that we cannot in good conscience participate in these games if Russia insists on oppressing its citizens.
That is not the Canadian way.