Canadian diplomats highlight country’s LGBTQ rights record


Martin Loken, minister of political affairs at the Canadian Embassy in D.C. (Photo courtesy of the Canadian Embassy in the U.S.)

Two Canadian diplomats in the U.S. earlier this month highlighted their country’s efforts to promote LGBTQ rights.

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“We are very much aligned in terms of strongly supporting the rights of LGBTQ persons, both at home and abroad,” said Martin Loken, minister of political affairs at the Canadian Embassy in D.C., on Nov. 14 during a reception that was part of the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s annual International LGBTQ Leaders Conference.

“Respect
for all human rights is a central tenet of Canada’s domestic and foreign
policy,” added Loken.

Loken
spoke three weeks after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won re-election.
A picture of Trudeau in brownface that emerged in September sparked outrage and
seriously tarnished his reputation ahead of the Oct. 21 election that saw his
Liberal Party lose its majority in Parliament.

Trudeau in 2017 formally apologized to those who suffered persecution and discrimination under Canada’s anti-LGBTQ laws and policies. Trudeau in a speech he delivered in the Canadian House of Commons also said the government agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by those who were forced to leave the Canadian military and civil service because of their sexual orientation.

A law that
added gender identity to Canada’s nondiscrimination and hate crimes law took
effect
in 2017. Canada the following year joined
the Global Equality Fund, a public-private partnership the U.S. launched in
order to promote LGBTQ rights around the world.

Trudeau is
among the world leaders who have publicly condemned the anti-LGBTQ crackdown in
Chechnya.

Refugees and asylum seekers in recent years have increasingly sought refuge in Canada. Randall Garrison, an openly gay member of the leftist New Democratic Party who represents portions of Vancouver Island in British Colombia in the House of Commons, is among those who have said the Canadian government needs to do more to protect refugees and asylum seekers, regardless of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

“While
recognizing that countries are at different stages, Canada continues to
advocate to eliminate laws and policies that discriminate against persons based
on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex
characteristics and to combat all acts of violence targeted towards LGBTQ
persons,” said Loken.

Canadian
Ambassador to the Organization of American States Hugh Adsett at the Nov. 14
reception noted his country is a founding member of the OAS LGBTI Core Group,
which seeks to promote LGBTQ rights in the Americas.

“Canada
is proud to be part of this collaborative effort to support the rights of LGBTI
persons in the Americas,” said Adsett.

Adsett also said Canada has “been working closely with” the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and other OAS-affiliated entities “to advance our collective responsibility to protect LGBTQ2 persons against human rights violations.”

Canadian Ambassador to the Organization of American States Hugh Adsett (Photo courtesy of the Canadian Embassy in the U.S.)

The post Canadian diplomats highlight country’s LGBTQ rights record appeared first on Washington Blade: Gay News, Politics, LGBT Rights.

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