NDP WANTS CONSULAR OFFICIAL FOR SOCHI GAMES

OTTAWA – The NDP delivered a letter to Foreign Minister John Baird today requesting that he ensure all Canadians are able to safely compete in and attend the 2014 Sochi Games. 

"As we enter the 100-day countdown to the Sochi Games, we are calling on the Foreign Affairs Minister to designate a consular official who will be present at the games and prepared to offer assistance to any Canadian gay athletes, spectators or allies who are endangered by anti-gay laws," said Matthew Dubé (Chambly-Borduas), NDP critic for Sport. 

"By designating a consular official, the Conservatives can demonstrate a real commitment to making sure the Sochi Games are open to all Canadians, their families and supporters," said Paul Dewar (Ottawa-Centre).

The Government of New Zealand has recently announced the sending of a similar official to assist its citizens in Sochi. 

"The anti-gay legislation now in place in Russia potentially puts LGBT athletes in danger and at risk of harassment.  This legislation also threatens family, friends, and other Canadians who wish to attend the Games and who also may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender or allies of the LGBT community," said Randall Garrison (Esquimault-Juan de Fuca). 

The MPs are particularly concerned about recent reports of non-Russians who have been detained, imprisoned, and then expelled from the country for alleged violations of the so called “gay propaganda” laws.