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  Rise of the rainbow hawks: How Conservatives and Canada’s gay-rights activists made common cause
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ContributorMonsieur 
Last EditedMonsieur  Aug 24, 2013 06:34am
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AuthorJonathan Kay
News DateSaturday, August 24, 2013 02:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionPlenty of Westerners have expressed disgust at Russia’s new law criminalizing the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.” But few statesmen have put the issue in terms quite as blunt as has Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. “This mean-spirited and hateful law will affect all Russians,” he told an interviewer earlier this summer. “It is an incitement to intolerance, which breeds hate. And intolerance and hate breed violence.” Mr. Baird also revealed that Canadian officials have personally pressed the issue with their Russian counterparts on no fewer than eight occasions.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper hasn’t just come around to gay rights: He has made the issue a centrepiece of Canada’s foreign policy. His government has fiercely rebuked draconian anti-gay laws in Africa, to the point of infuriating the social-conservative group REAL Women of Canada, which this month publicly denounced Mr. Baird for using his position “to further his own perspective on homosexuality.” The Conservative government has offered protection to persecuted gays in Iran and worked diplomatic channels to convince Russia to scotch plans to ban foreign adoptions by gay couples.

And in an odd twist, the Tories’ hard-line stance against homophobic governments overseas has boomeranged back to powerfully influence the mainstream conservative view of homosexuality here in Canada — a rare example of a foreign-policy posture setting the agenda on an otherwise purely domestic social issue.
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