The Conservative government’s defence of gay rights abroad appears to have sharply divided Canadian conservatives. Some say it’s a natural fit for a government that has made the promotion of human rights on the world stage a priority, and aligns with the priorities and values of Conservatives and non-Conservatives alike.
“It’s just the right thing to do, to stand up for the rights of the individual no matter what country they live in,” said Stephen Taylor, director of the conservative National Citizens Coalition. But others have warned it will cost Prime Minister Stephen Harper support from within his own party.
“I’ve already seen some feedback from some of the conservative, the real conservative base,” said Brian Rushfeldt, president of the right-wing advocacy group Canada Family Action. “I think the potential of Harper and the Conservatives losing some support is very real.”
Even Conservative MPs are divided over the issue, which on the surface appears to be an outlier among many other foreign policy positions the Tories have adopted since coming to power.
“We’ve got much more important things to be doing in terms of a foreign affairs agenda along the lines of trade and health issues and various other issues that we can help these countries in,” said Conservative backbencher Maurice Vellacott. “So I don’t think we have to be promoting that in other countries. We have far too much and far more important things to be doing.”
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird refused to say Friday whether he was worried Conservative members and supporters will turn against the government over the issue.
I am not sure that Vellacott speaks for many others than himself on this issue. Â Even the right wing Toronto Sun is speaking out in favour of John Baird.
Canada is a defender of human rights. Full stop.
That’s pretty much our response to REAL Women of Canada picking a fight with John Baird.
The foreign affairs minister has recently spoken out against the oppression of gay people in various countries — such as Uganda, with their proposed “kill the gays” bill.
REAL Women don’t like that. They think Canada has no business poking around in Uganda’s affairs — despite the fact we send them tens of millions in aid every year.
They also don’t like Baird chastising Russia for their bizarre new law against non-traditional lifestyle propaganda — whatever that means.
What it seems to mean is that gay people could be arrested for waving a flag, writing their opinions or having a parade.
Well, sorry ladies, but Canadian athletes will soon be heading to Russia and we should do all we can to make sure they compete and come home safe and sound.
Telling other countries what to do and wading into their social issues should be kept to a minimum. But sometimes you’ve just got to stand up for your values. And persecuting people because of their religion, gender, sexual orientation and so on, is one of the things we oppose as Canadians.
And there you have the problem of the religious right in Canada. Â They scream loud and clear when someone they agree with is persecuted but if that person doesn’t, they don’t even want them protected and everyone sees that. Â I have no problem in having a belief system but no one deserves to persecuted for theirs. Â