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Want to Support Gay Rights in Russia? Buy Canadian Products


Canada's Minister of Citizenship Chris Alexander said this week that Canada will look favorably on refugee claims from Russian gays seeking asylum.

There has been much ado since Russian President Vladimir Putin put his John Hancock on a law designed to "protect" children from homosexuality by subjecting Russians and visiting foreigners to thousands of dollars in fines and even jail time for publicly expressing gay-affirmative views.

Most of the rest of the civilized world doesn't much care for legislation that criminalizes the spreading of tolerance of "non-traditional sexual orientations" -- in addition to earlier enacted policy that prohibits international gay and lesbian couples from adopting Russian orphans -- and so a string of protests and boycotts ensued.

Activists and human rights groups called on the United States to withdraw from the upcoming Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, considering the law will be imposed on its athletes. Last month, columnist and radio host Dan Savage launched the #DumpStoli and #DumpRussianVodka campaigns that have reportedly inspired gay bars from Vancouver to Sydney to pour out their inventories of Russian-brand vodka.

Granted, this isn't a terribly well-brainstormed act on Savage et al.'s part, considering the Luxembourg-based SPI Group, which owns Stolichnaya Vodka, is not only unaffiliated with the Russian government but also has proven loyalties to the LGBT community.

Now, just in the nick of time, before we commenced the Dostoyevsky book burnings and smashing of our Russian nesting dolls, a voice of reason has called from above. No, not God. Canada.

Admonishing the Russian government's persecution of its LGBT population, Canada's Minister of Citizenship Chris Alexander said on Monday that Canada will welcome Russian gays seeking asylum and stated any refugee claims "related to this particular issue will of course be looked at very seriously by our very generous system."

This very generous system already opens Canada's borders each year to between 140 and 225 Russians fleeing religious, ethnic, sexual orientation, and other forms of oppression by the government. About half of these claimants are granted refugee status. Canada even enacted a policy specifically aimed at resettling gay Iranian and Iraqi refugees.

If we're willing to punish Russian brands for their government's draconian policies, it only seems fitting to reward Canadian companies for their homeland's progressive ones. For consumers interested in starting a buycott of Canuck commodities, consider picking up a product, getting a service, or buying stock in an iconic Canadian company like Molson (NYSE:TAP), TD Bank (NYSE:TD), Royal Bank of Canada (NYSE:RY), Bank of Montreal (NYSE:BMO), BlackBerry Limited (NASDAQ:BBRY), Hudson's Bay Co. (TSE:HBC), Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ:LULU), Tim Hortons (NYSE:THI), or Canada Goose, which is not a public company, but makes great winter gear (pictured).

Disclosure: Minyanville Studios, a division of Minyanville Media, has a business relationship with BlackBerry.
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