Conservatives urge feds to consider boycotting Beijing Olympics over China tensions

OTTAWA – The federal Conservatives are urging the Trudeau government to consider a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics being held in Beijing.

A statement from Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Michael Chong says a boycott should be on the table over “China’s increasing threats and gross human rights violations.”

“President-elect Biden has called for a ‘united front’ of democracies, and this week in the UK there are calls for a ‘coalition of democracies’ to stand up to China,” Chong writes.

“By working with allies to take action, Canada would be signaling to Beijing that its wrongful detention of Canadians, breaches of international law in Hong Kong, use of coercive diplomacy and gross human rights violations have consequences.”

The federal government has already said decisions about boycotts are for the Canadian Olympic Committee to make.

The strained relationship between Canada and China has escalated since the detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor in December 2018, which are widely seen as retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CEO Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver International Airport just days earlier.

Chong notes any boycott would have to be “part of a wider plan to work with our allies to reset relations with China.”

He adds “Canada is a winter-sport powerhouse,” and that any winter games without its athletes would be unsuccessful.

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