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The Harper Foreign Affairs record on LGBT issues

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“Speaking the truth to power …  too many countries currently have regressive and punitive laws on the books that criminalize homosexuality … Draconian punishment and unspeakable violence are inflicted on people simply for whom they love and for who they are … I called on my colleagues to repeal regressive laws in their own countries because I firmly believe it is the role of the state to protect its people regardless of gender, sexuality or faith … We’re working with allies like the EU and the United States on encouraging the decriminalization of homosexuality. We’re working with all political parties in the House of Commons to fight those who restrict the basic human rights, from Kampala to St. Petersburg. And I want to mention my colleague, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney, has been working to make Canada a safe haven for Iran’s persecuted gay community.” – John Baird, in Address by Minister Baird at Montreal Council on Foreign Relations Luncheon, September 14, 2012 – Montréal, Quebec

“It [Iran] provides aid, comfort and support to terrorist organizations, and it is guilty of widespread and massive oppressions of the human rights of its own people, including the oppression of religious minorities. This regime stands for everything we parliamentarians should stand against … Sometimes the truth hurts. I know that staying silent is never an option when people stone women, when they hate gays, when they incite genocide, when they say they want to wipe the Jewish people, the Jewish state off the map, when they dishonour the U.N. obligations, when they spread hateful and racist rhetoric. … It is extremely important that as an international community we speak with one voice.” – John Baird, in “Baird calls out Iran on human rights violations,” The Globe And Mail, Oct. 22 2012

“Canada views the government of Iran as the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today … Under the circumstances, Canada can no longer maintain a diplomatic presence in Iran … Iranian diplomats in Ottawa have been instructed to leave within five days … Severing relations with the religious dictatorship ruling Iran and standing by the Iranian people … are the only way to rid the world of a terrorist and fundamentalist regime” – John Baird, in “Canada closes embassy in Iran, to expel Iranian diplomats,” Reuters,  September 7, 2012

“Stand up to the violent mobs that seek to criminalize homosexuality. Draconian punishment and unspeakable violence are inflicted on people simply for whom they love and for who they are.” – John Baird, in “Warriors for gay rights: The Conservatives have become unlikely LGBT supporters,” National Post, Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012

“Stephen Harper said his government would champion Canadian values … Someone being put to death because they are a sexual minority is abhorrent to Canadian values.” John Baird in “John Baird’s easiest political victory: The foreign affairs minister’s defence of gay rights was a political no-brainer,” Maclean’s, August 9, 2013

“Dozens of Commonwealth countries currently have regressive and punitive laws on the books that criminalize homosexuality … Throughout most of the Commonwealth Caribbean, colonial-era laws remain on the books that could impose draconian punishments on gay people simply for being gay. This contributes to social stigma and violence against gay people … We will continue to press countries in the Commonwealth to live up to their international obligations, and uphold the basic contract any government should have with its people … The criminalization of homosexuality is incompatible with the fundamental Commonwealth value of human rights.” – John Baird, in “John Baird points finger at gay rights abuses in African, Caribbean countries,” National Post, Monday, Jan. 23, 2012

“The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canada’s foreign policy. Canada stands up for human rights and takes principled positions on important issues to promote freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.” – Rick Roth, a spokesman for Baird’s office said in reference to the criminalization of homosexuality in Uganda, Kenya and Russia, in “Women’s group slams Baird over anti-gay laws stance”. CBC News. August 8, 2013

“This mean-spirited and hateful law will affect all Russians 365 days of the year, every year. It is an incitement to intolerance, which breeds hate. And intolerance and hate breed violence.” – John Baird, in “Baird adds to global chorus of outrage at Russia’s ‘hateful’ anti-gay legislation,” The Globe And Mail, Friday, Aug. 2, 2013

“In the lead-up to Sochi, Canada remains concerned about the legislation passed in June 2013 that places a ban on the ‘propagandizing of non-traditional sexual relations among minors’ … We encourage the Russian Federation to extend to all of its citizens – as well as foreign visitors – full human rights protections, including freedom from violence, harassment or discrimination based on sexual orientation,” – John Baird, in “Baird denounces Russia’s anti-gay law in lead-up to Sochi Olympics,” The Globe And Mail, Sunday, Dec. 29 2013

“Canada calls on Nigeria to immediately ensure that all its citizens enjoy equal basic rights … The Government of Nigeria must protect all Nigerians, regardless of sexual orientation.” John Baird, in “Canada Condemns Nigerian Bill Further Criminalizing Homosexuality,” November 30, 2011

“Canada is deeply concerned that Nigeria has adopted a law that further criminalizes homosexuality. This law can be used to impose prison sentences of up to 14 years. We call on Nigeria to repeal this law and to promote and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Nigerians regardless of their sexual orientation. Canada has clearly spoken out against human rights violations committed against people on the basis of their sexuality, and we will continue to do so.” John Baird, in “Canada Concerned by Increased Criminalization of Homosexuality in Nigeria,” January 13, 2014

“Canada follows the human rights situation in Russia very closely. A number of human rights developments are of concern, including the recent legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality. These developments are troubling and Canada has raised its concerns directly with Russian authorities. The promotion of Canadian values has been and will continue to be featured prominently in our ongoing dialogue with Russia.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada-Russian Relations, Ottawa, Ontario, 30 August 2013

“Coordinate efforts in support of human rights, including promoting freedom of religion and beliefs, combating violence against women, and decriminalizing homosexuality.” – Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Human Rights and Development, Canada-France Enhanced Cooperation Agenda, Paris, France, 14 June 2013

“France and Canada will continue to cooperate closely on issues related to democracy, human rights and good governance, particularly through La Francophonie. They recall their common commitment to fight discrimination, as well as to support universal decriminalization of homosexuality.” – Stephen Harper, in “Canada-France Joint Statement on the Occasion of the Visit to Canada by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault,” Ottawa, Ontario, 14 March 2013

“The current legislation before Parliament in Uganda is vile, it’s abhorrent. It’s offensive. It offends Canadian values. It offends decency. We strongly condemn that and the Prime Minister will make that strong condemnation as well.” – John Baird, in “Harper to press Uganda <br/>on ‘abhorrent’ anti-gay law,” The Globe And Mail, Monday, Sep. 10 2012

“I did raise it directly with the president of Uganda and indicated Canada’s deep concern and strong opposition. We deplore these kinds of measures. We find them inconsistent with frankly I think any reasonable understanding of human rights. I was very clear on that with the president of Uganda.” – Stephen Harper, in “Harper lobbies Uganda on anti-gay bill,” The Globe And Mail, Thursday, Aug. 23 2012

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