The Current

Should Canada boycott Sochi 2014?

A growing number of LGBT activists and athletes say boycotting the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics won't change Russia's anti-gay laws.
Russia has enacted a new law against homosexuality, which could land someone in trouble for holding hands with someone of the same sex ... let alone stealing a kiss from them. In response, voices are rising across the West to condemn the law as discriminatory and urge a boycott of the Sochi Winter Olympics. 

Not supporting a boycott doesn't mean that you don't support gay rights. I think we have to stand up. We have to protest, but there's different ways to do it.Mark Tewksbury, former Olympic athlete

Calls for a boycott of the  Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have sparked a debate within the gay sports world and beyond. An athlete standing on a podium and waving a rainbow flag could send a strong message in Sochi. But for some that doesn't go far enough.

Should Canada boycott the Sochi Olympics to condemn discrimination against the gay community? Or would such a move just punish the nation's athletes? We heard from:

  • Olympian Blake Skjellerup: The professional speed skater has put a lot of thought into this issue. As a gay athlete, he feels the need to do something. Just not a boycott.

  • Activist Alan Klein: He's the co-founder of "Queer Nation," an LGBTQ activist organization and believes that snubbing Sochi might be the best way to make a point.

  • Activist Nikolai Alekseev: He may have been the first person to be arrested under a municipal anti-gay propaganda law that was passed last year in St. Petersburg. But Nicolai Alekseev doesn't think an Olympic boycott will help his cause.

Statement from the Canadian Olympic Committee

The IOC continues to work to ensure that the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media and it has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.

This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar, Megan Griffith-Greene and Leif Zapf-Gilje.

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