Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird points finger at gay rights abuses in African, Caribbean countries

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    Jan 24, 2012 7:13 AM GMT
    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/01/23/john-baird-points-finger-at-gay-rights-abuses-in-african-caribbean-countries/

    Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird urged Commonwealth countries to protect the rights of homosexuals Monday, singling out African and Caribbean countries for criminalizing homosexuality and failing to protect gays from homophobic attacks.

    Canadian gay rights activists said they were both “stunned” and “delighted” to hear Baird defend gay rights abroad.

    Addressing a meeting of the Royal Commonwealth Society in London, Baird called laws criminalizing homosexuality a “hangover” from a bygone era.

    “Dozens of Commonwealth countries currently have regressive and punitive laws on the books that criminalize homosexuality,” Baird said. “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,” he said.

    Baird called on Commonwealth governments to follow the example of “progressive countries” like Canada and the United Kingdom, and not “wilfully ignore” their obligations to protect the rights of citizens regardless of sexual orientation.

    “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,” he said. “The criminalization of homosexuality is incompatible with the fundamental Commonwealth value of human rights.”

    [...] Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale Canada, said she was both “stunned” and “delighted” to hear Baird sticking up for persecuted gays around the world.

    Egale Canada is a Toronto-based human rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

    “I didn’t know it could possibly come out of mouths of one of our Conservative government members,” she said. “Kudos to Mr. Baird for stepping up.”
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    Jan 24, 2012 7:34 AM GMT
    Really?

    Sounds like an April fool's joke concocted by Jason Kenny.icon_lol.gif
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    Jan 24, 2012 7:40 AM GMT
    26mileman saidReally?

    Sounds like an April fool's joke concocted by Jason Kenny.icon_lol.gif


    The fear of Liberals and the NDP in Canada ... that if the Conservatives become socially liberal... it may mean a lasting majority for the CPC. icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 24, 2012 7:55 AM GMT
    What about Saudi Arabia? Oh nevermind they give us oil.
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    Jan 24, 2012 8:05 AM GMT
    JakeBenson saidWhat about Saudi Arabia? Oh nevermind they give us oil.


    The address Baird made was in front of the Royal Commonwealth Society in London in front of the Commonwealth. Saudi Arabia wasn't there and is not a part of the Commonwealth.

    Baird has also challenged Saudi Arabia in the past on other rights issues -
    http://www.torontosun.com/2011/09/28/baird-slams-saudi-ban-on-women-drivers

  • Jan 24, 2012 8:52 AM GMT
    Well if they become socially liberal, then cool, I'd be fine with the conservatives.
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    Jan 24, 2012 3:05 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    26mileman saidReally?

    Sounds like an April fool's joke concocted by Jason Kenny.icon_lol.gif


    The fear of Liberals and the NDP in Canada ... that if the Conservatives become socially liberal... it may mean a lasting majority for the CPC. icon_smile.gif



    What a bullshit extrapolating remark.

    Mr Baird said he was going to be doing what he is doing when he got into office. Good for him. Canada needs people like this.

    He was ghastly as a Provincial Social Services minister in Ontario and made some bad financial decisions which cost a bundle, but this portfolio is one where we think he'll shine.

    We're waiting to see what his stance is on freedom of religion; the demands by some for Sharia law for example.