Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

(Un)real women

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Foreign Minister John Baird is getting some action from a right-wing women's group for his unequivocal support of the human rights and civil liberties of homosexuals in Russia and around the world. Mr. Baird and the Harper government should rest assured most Canadians find REAL Women's criticisms off base.

Who does John Baird think he is, Gwendolyn Landolt, vice-president of the association, asked indignantly in a press release Wednesday, "using taxpayers' money to promote his own personal agenda and endeavouring to set standards of the laws of foreign countries?"

As foreign minister, Mr. Baird serves as this country's spokesman and global ambassador. His efforts to highlight the abuses of human rights -- lately, the passage of anti-gay laws in Russia -- express the deeply held values Canadians have enshrined in statutes, including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Based on the foundation of tolerance and respect, they are laws to emulate.

If Ms. Landolt sees that as a personal crusade, it is she, not John Baird, who is out of touch with her country.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien, Shannon Sampert, and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 9, 2013 $sourceSection0

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