Canadian opposition party calls for visa bar for anti-gay Russian MPs

One of the opposition parties in Canada's federal parliament has called for Russian politicians who backed a recent law that bans 'homosexual propaganda' to be barred from visiting Canada.

The New Democrat Party has opened a petition and called on members of the public to sign it. The proposal could make it impossible for President Putin to visit Canada.

Paul Dewar, the NDC's 'Critic for Foreign Affairs' told Canadian journalists 'When it comes to this issue you need to put actions behind your words. What we've seen in Russia is something that is truly reprehensible.' Other NDC MPs supported the proposal.

Illegal to provide information about gay relationships to those under 18

In June 2013, the Russian parliament passed a law which made it an offence to provide information about non-traditional sexual relationships, particularly homosexual ones, to people aged under 18. President Putin signed the Act on 30th June making it law.

Anyone convicted of providing such information to young people could now be ordered to pay a fine of up to 5,000 roubles (£100, $155). People in positions of authority such as teachers could be ordered to pay 50,000 roubles and schools and businesses up to 500,000 roubles (£10,000, $15,500).

The law caused considerable negative comment among western liberals who saw it as contrary to human rights. Some high profile figures such as the British actor Stephen Fry called on the International Olympic Committee to cancel the Winter Olympics, which are due to be held in Russia in 2014, and reschedule them elsewhere.

NDP has backing of gay groups

The NDP proposal has gained support from a wide range of Canadian pro-gay and human rights groups and also from other organisations such as unions and health organisations.

However, the campaign is unlikely to be successful. The ruling Conservatives and the other main opposition party, the Liberals, have refused to support the NDP. Marc Garneau, the Liberal Party's Foreign Affairs Spokesman was asked 'Does it make sense to you to do this?' He replied 'No, it doesn't'.

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