By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com December 30 2013 8:00 AM ET
Canada is making preparations for things to go wrong in Russia when Sochi hosts the Olympics in February, a newly public letter shows.
Canadian media outlets are reporting on a letter sent this month to Sergey Lavrov, the Russian minister of foreign affairs. In it, Canada's own foreign minister, John Baird, warns that his country's leadership "remains concerned" about the so-called "gay propaganda" law that Russia passed this year despite assurances it won't be enforced on visitors. Baird calls for cooperation should a Canadian citizen get caught up in an unforeseen mishap.
"We have developed a comprehensive consular strategy to manage any issues that may come up during the Games and trust that we can count on your government's full cooperation," the letter states, according to a copy posted by The Toronto Star. "We are confident that the Russian government will allow speedy and regular access to any Canadian citizen, should the need arise." It goes on to ask for a suggested point of contact and advises that "in the circumstances that any cases arise, our ability to respond quickly will contribute to the international perception of the success of the Games."
Baird has in the past railed against Russia's propaganda law, calling it "mean-spirited and hateful." He said Canada had lobbied privately to stop it from passing but was unsuccessful.