On the Gaydar: B.C. Liberals ad controversy, Russia vs. Canada, Edmonton Eskimos, and more

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      Here’s a roundup of recent LGBT news from across Canada, including British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario. 

      Russia versus Canada on LGBT rights

      Prominent allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin have accused Canada of interfering with a national vote on same-sex marriage.

      During Pride Month, five countries—Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S.—issued a joint statement on June 27 to call upon Russia to protect all LGBT citizens.

      Canada’s ambassador to the Russian Federation, Alison LeClaire, stated in a video that LGBT rights in Russia has been complicated by “an increase in violence and intimidation of the community by local authorities and other actors” and that the constitutional amendment would “would lead to an increasingly less inclusive national legal framework”.

      On June 29, several panelists heavily criticized LeClaire on the national TV show 60 Minutes, including comments such as "she will burn in hell”.

      Human-rights museum CEO resigns

      In the wake of allegations of homophobia, racism, and sexual harassment, Canadian Museum of Human Rights CEO John Young resigned on June 25.

      As previously reported, staff had reportedly been asked to censor LGBT content from guests during tours, including religious school groups, at the museum, which is located in Winnipeg.

      B.C. Liberals ad controversy

      Press Progress reported on June 30 that B.C. Liberals spent over $1,700 over the past 18 months on advertising in Christian lifestyle magazine The Light alongside anti-LGBT content.

      The magazine features articles criticizing bans on conversion therapy and anti-SOGI content by activist Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson.

      B.C. Liberal MLA Simon Gibson writes a monthly column for the magazine.

      On June 30, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, who appears in ads in the magazine, issued a statement on social media that there is “no room in the BC Liberal Party for homophobia, transphobia or any other form of discrimination” after news broke.

      Alberta premier’s controversial speechwriter

      Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has resisted calls to fire speechwriter, Paul Bunner, who was discovered to have written controversial and discriminatory articles in the 1990s and 2000s.

      In addition to expressing racist, sexist, and Islamophobic views, he also wrote homophobic articles about HIV and AIDS, conversion therapy, and more.

      Edmonton football player released

      Edmonton Eskimos wide receiver Christion Jones tweeted his opposition to same-sex relationships on June 27 during global Pride celebrations.

      "Man ain't suppose [sic] to be with a man,” the 27-year-old player originally from Alabama wrote. “A women [sic] is not supposed to be with another women [sic].”  

      He then engaged in arguments with other Twitter users who criticized his post.

      Consequently, the Edmonton Eskimos announced on June 28 that the 27-year-old Jones had been released from the team. The Canadian Football League issued a statement, without mentioning Jones, to condemn discriminatory remarks.

      Jones has since apologized and is meeting with members of Edmonton’s LGBT community and the CFL Players’ Association.

      The team has been facing a renewed attention to its controversial name, as Eskimo is considered a colonial or derogatory term and has been supplanted by Inuit.

      Albertan rainbow walk defaced

      A rainbow pathway in Airdrie, Alberta, had been repainted after being vandalized with homophobic slurs on June 19. But on June 27, it was found to be tarred and feathered.

      Pride perseveres in Ontario

      Although the town council of Emo, Ontario, voted against honouring June as Pride month, Borderland Pride of the Rainy River District went ahead and threw the township’s first Pride celebration.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook. You can also follow the Straight's LGBT coverage on Twitter at @StraightLGBT or on Facebook.