Canada should align with allies on Olympic diplomatic boycott: Trudeau


Published December 8, 2021 at 11:36 am

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada’s decision on a boycott of the upcoming Winter Olympics should be in line with its allies.

Trudeau says Canada has been talking to other countries for “many months” about the issue and an official announcement is expected later Wednesday.

“We know that on issues like this it is important to make sure that we are working with our allies,” he said.

The United States was first to announce a diplomatic boycott Monday, meaning American athletes would still compete in Beijing but no U.S. political officials would attend.

Australia and the United Kingdom have both now followed suit.

They cite human rights concerns including allegations of genocide against the Muslim Uyghur minority in China’s Xinjiang province.

China denies those allegations and is accusing the United States of upending the political neutrality of sport.

David Cohen, the new U.S. ambassador in Canada, said Tuesday he expected Canada to join the boycott.

“I have a high level of confidence that Canada and the United States will be aligned on our China policy, including our policy with respect to the Olympics,” he said.

Canada’s diplomatic relationship with China is still strained following nearly three years of tension over China’s detention of two Canadians. Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were finally released from Chinese prison in September.

Canada always alleged they were detained in retaliation for Canada’s decision to arrest Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States, who wanted her extradited there to face fraud charges.

The “two Michaels” as Kovrig and Spavor came to be called, were freed the same day Meng struck a plea deal with the U.S. and was freed from house arrest in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2021.

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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