New discriminatory laws against gays and lesbians
Why is John Baird silent on the issue?
The Harper government opposes a boycott of the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, next winter.
The NDP agrees with Harper.
"This is not the time to talk about boycott," said Paul Dewar the NDP spokesman on foreign affairs issues.
But Dewar wants the Harper government to criticize more openly the Russian government's new laws against gays and lesbians.
It is a crime now in Russia to be gay or lesbian. The law is especially aimed at gay or lesbian activists and their parades, posters and gay pride rallies, lumped in under the new crime for "propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations."
Those found guilty face fines of up to $ 3,000 or 15 days in jail. That includes foreigners.
The law applies to Russian citizens, as well as foreign athletes, officials and spectators at the Olympics.
Simply openly supporting gays and lesbians is a crime in Russia. Even journalists and columnists who write favoring freedom of sexual orientation are targets.
It would not take much for an Canadian athlete or spectator who defies the new Russian law to end up in jail.
Dewar said the foreign minister John Baird must clarify the position of the Canadian government and then dialogue with his Russian counterpart to ensure that all Canadian athletes are safe before they go to Sochi.
Canadian gays and lesbian organizations perceive John Baird, a committed bachelor, as their hero and ask why Baird is not speaking out openly against Premier Vladimir Putin's discriminatory law against gays and lesbians in Russia, nor why there are no safeguards against the jailing of gay athletes and spectators.