Canada accused of refusing entry to gay athletes attending Outgames

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The Canadian government is denying gay and lesbian athletes visitor visas for the upcoming Outgames, according to opposition Mps.

Liberal politicians claim the Conservative government is delaying and in some cases refusing entry to participants in the sporting events because they are gay.

Quebec MP Raymonde Folco told the Winnipeg Sun, “I would like to be generous and say there may be another common denominator, but I don’t see it.”

She called on Citizenship and Immigration Minister Monte Solberg to explain the delay.

A spokesman for the minister said visa policies are universal, “It’s the same application process as anyone that wants to come to Canada, so all participants have to meet normal admission requirements.

“Applications for people who need visas have started to flow in and most of the applicants are still in the normal review process.”

Liberal MP Denis Coderre, a former Immigration minister, branded it “totally unacceptable.”

Outgames spokesman Pascal Dessureault expressed concern about the delays, “We would hope it would not be a factor, we live in Canada.

“We have full respect of human rights. We recognise gays and lesbians as humans and we obviously hope that they don’t discriminate people like that.”

The Outgames will be held from 26 July to 5 August 2006.