Minister Joly to summon Russian ambassador over anti-LGBTQ messages

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Minister Joly to summon Russian ambassador over anti-LGBTQ messages

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly (archives)

Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly has asked her ministry to summon the Russian ambassador following messages published on social networks against the LGBTQ community.

The latter days, the Russian Embassy in Ottawa posted a message on Twitter and Telegram that claimed that the West is interfering with Russia's family values ​​and that a family cannot be composed only of a man, a woman and children.

The embassy added images of a striped rainbow flag and Orthodox icons of Adam and Eve.

One ​​of the messages denounces the fact that Canada confuses the concepts of individual sexual preferences and universal human rights and resumes an amalgam with pedophilia. The first post was posted on November 24, just days after five people were killed in a shooting at an LGBTQ bar in Colorado.

The messages came as Russia recently expanded a ban on children's exposure to what Moscow considers gay propaganda. Authorities can therefore now charge a Russian citizen for an act they believe could incite an adult to be gay or transgender.

Canada was one of 33 countries to sign a joint statement condemning the law, prompting the Russian Embassy to retaliate. Our country does not interfere in the internal affairs of Canada, the embassy wrote. Moscow expects the same respectful attitude from Ottawa towards the legislative process in Russia.

The Embassy of Russia in Ottawa (archives)

Despite extensive documentation of persecution of LGBTQ people in Russia, including disappearances in Chechnya, embassy maintains there is no discrimination in Russia when it comes to minority rights sexual and other.

In response to the first Twitter post, Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge, who is lesbian, called Russia's treatment of LGBTQ people a shame and a violation of fundamental human rights.

Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge

The Russian Embassy responded with a photo of the Russian Romanov Imperial Family, and asked Ms. St-Onge: Please reflect and explain how you came into this world. The family photo shows the last Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, his wife and their five children, all of whom were murdered by Bolshevik revolutionaries in 1918.

The embassy does not ;did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I am deeply offended by anti-LGBTQ messages from Russians on Canadian soil. It is unacceptable for a foreign dignitary to make hateful statements that go directly against our Canadian values. »

—  Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sports

When asked about this at a press briefing in Ottawa, Minister St-Onge welcomed the wish of her colleague from Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, to summon the Ambassador. We ask for the respect of the people who are with us on this subject, she underlined.

Minister Joly's office demands that the publications be withdrawn. Unsurprisingly, Russians have once again chosen hate propaganda, spokeswoman Maeva Proteau wrote. We absolutely cannot tolerate this rhetoric, let alone the comment that followed Minister St-Onge's response. This is an attack on Canadian values ​​of acceptance and tolerance.

If Global Affairs Canada were indeed to summon Ambassador Oleg Stepanov, it would be the third time this year. The federal Liberal government has previously stated that it has no intention of ordering the closure of the Russian Embassy, ​​as it wishes to maintain its own diplomatic presence in Moscow.

The main federal opposition parties have also united in denouncing recent Twitter posts from the Russian Embassy in Canada.

Asked about the subject, the Conservatives referred The Canadian Press to a statement made on the same social network a few days ago by their Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Michael Chong. We believe in family. It exists in all forms, can we read there.

The New Democratic Party (NDP) for its part condemned the hateful and disgusting tweets through a written comment from its deputy leader, Alexandre Boulerice. We promise to fight against all those who incite violence and hatred against people in the LGBTQ community.

Same story on the side of the Bloc Québécois. Its gender equality spokesperson, Andréanne Larouche, said such talk has no place in a modern democracy. Sexual orientation should in no way be an obstacle for anyone in their life choices, she added in an emailed comment.

Maria Popova, who holds the Jean Monnet Chair in European Law at McGill University, says Moscow has increasingly embraced Orthodox Christian nationalist rhetoric, which notably foresees a clash of worldviews with the ;West.

LGBT rights are actually a big motivation for Russia's invasion of Ukraine, she reminds.

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They constantly talk about how Ukraine has gay soldiers in its ranks – that it's part of the contamination, so to speak, of Ukraine by Ukraine. x27;West. It's part of the narrative they use to make this war look defensive, which of course it isn't.

According to her, Russia probably trying to sow division where it can.

She says Russian diplomats have no problem publishing hate speech and outright lies they know to be falsehoods.

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