Another Pride parade, more Olympic athletes
Canadian Olympians have already marched in the Toronto, Vancouver, and Whistler Pride parades.
And today, several showed up for the annual bash in Ottawa.
It comes as some in the LGBT community—including Vancouver–West End NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert—are calling upon the federal government to boycott the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, unless President Vladimir Putin reverses antigay laws.
Chandra Herbert told reporters earlier this month in Vancouver that federal politicians should reflect on whether they're willing to send Canadian athletes to a country that would lock them up if they were Russian and were even suspected of being homosexual.
“Are they going to put Canadians in harm’s way by saying you can go to Russia to support your loved ones, but you may end up in jail if you happen to be seen holding another person’s hand?” Chandra Herbert asked.
Olympians who've marched in Pride parades invariably say that they don't support a boycott.
We can expect a similar message next weekend when more athletes march in the Calgary Pride parade.
It's understandable why athletes would react negatively to any talk of a boycott after training most of their lives to get to the Olympics.
It's also easy to see why Chandra Herbert and many others want Ottawa to ramp up pressure on Putin. He's sucking up to Russian Orthodox Church leaders with his country's repressive legislation targeting gays and lesbians, but perhaps this will change with enough international opprobrium.
But sometimes, all these athletes marching in the parades smacks of a subtle Canadian Olympic Committee propaganda program to spread the message that Canada should be competing at Sochi.
Why else would the Canadian Olympic Committee have a photographer on-site and staff working on weekends to ensure the pictures were sent across the country?
(This is regardless of the good intentions of individual athletes who show up at the parades to show solidarity with the LGBT community.)
The COC can sugar-coat its pro-Sochi message by noting that the athletes are promoting equal rights through their actions.
But the reality is if a former Olympian stepped forward and called for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Games, it's extremely unlikely that a high-quality photograph of this ex-athlete would end up in the Georgia Straight inbox, courtesy of the COC.