Russia – Canada invites Russian ambassador to Russia to explain anti-LGBT content

Canadian Secretary of State Mélanie Joly, Ottawa, Canada – ADRIAN WYLD/ZUMA PRESS/CONTACTOPHOTO

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly on Monday summoned Russian Ambassador Oleg Stepanov for an explanation of a spate of anti-LGBT social media posts at the Russian Embassy in Ottawa.

“As expected, the Russians have once again relied on hate propaganda. We absolutely cannot tolerate this rhetoric. This is an attack on Canadian values ​​of acceptance and tolerance,” the minister said, as reported by the CBC.

It is the third time this year that Joly has subpoenaed Stepanov.

In recent days, the Russian diplomatic mission in Canada has posted on Twitter and Telegram that the West is “imposing family values” and that “families can only consist of a man, a woman and children,” reports The Globe and Mail.

They have also accused the Canadian government of meddling in Russian affairs, targeting Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge directly.

St-Onge, a member of the LGBT community, has criticized the Russian legislation as “homophobic propaganda” and an “attack on human rights”. The embassy then reacted sharply.

These tweets came after Russia’s Duma passed a law that would tighten and expand penalties for distributing LGTBI content.

The Russian government justified this reform with the need to fight “scourges like pedophilia,” but for human rights organizations, this law marked another step in the repression of the LGTBI community.

Fines for LGTBI “propaganda” can be as high as 400,000 rubles for ordinary citizens or 800,000 rubles for civil servants. In the case of legal entities, the fine increases to 5 million (more than 79,000 euros), the Interfax agency reported.

RUSSIA URGES CANADA NOT TO INTERFERE IN DOMESTIC MATTERS The Russian ambassador has said that Moscow expects Canada not to interfere in its internal affairs after criticizing the passage of anti-LGBT law.

Stepanov explained that he explained to the Canadian authorities the nature of Canada’s “laws for the preservation of traditional values” and “the basis of state policy”.

“I reminded them that our country is a bearer and preserver of traditional values ​​and that all four traditional religions are represented in our country,” he said, as reported by the TASS news agency.

The Russian diplomat said that “Western governments, including Canadian ones, must respect the outlook on life of the majority of the Russian population.”

Stepanov called Canada’s criticism of the State Department’s passage of the law “interference in the internal affairs of Russia and an attempt to influence the independent legislative process in a sovereign state.”