No federal government representative will attend the games. Canadian athletes will still be allowed to compete. The US, UK and Australia have already announced they will not be sending official delegations to the games – a collective attempt to send a message to China that its human rights abuses have not passed unnoticed.
Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill, Trudeau said the government was “extremely concerned” by the “repeated human rights violations committed by the Chinese government.” He said Canada would show its displeasure with the Communist regime by retaining delegates who would normally attend high-profile events like the opening and closing ceremonies.
When asked if he expected Beijing to return to snub China as it prepares to welcome the world, Trudeau said “it shouldn’t come as a surprise” to the regime.
“For months we have been coordinating and discussing the issue with our allies,” he said.
MPs, senators and civil society groups have pushed the Trudeau government to hold China accountable for its crackdown on democratic rights in Hong Kong and the continued abuses of the Uyghur Muslim minority.
Earlier this year, the House of Commons passed a motion calling violence directed against religious minorities in China’s Xinjiang province “genocide”. The motion followed a report by the Commons subcommittee that China was persecuting its Muslim minority through mass detentions in concentration camps, forced labor, state surveillance and control measures. population – policies, according to the report, designed to “eradicate Uyghur culture and religion.”
In the motion, MPs also called on the federal government to use its influence to pressure the International Olympic Committee to move the games out of China “if the Chinese government continues this genocide.”
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said on Wednesday that her party’s pressure to move the games had “no traction with Mr. Trudeau” and that a diplomatic boycott was the best thing to do.
While horrified by reports of violence in Xinjiang, O’Toole said a full boycott would be unfair for Canada’s Olympic and Paralympic athletes who trained so hard for the biggest event. sportsman in the world.
Trudeau agreed that Olympic athletes should not pay the price for China’s abuse. “They have to have one thing in mind and that is representing the country to the best of their ability and winning a gold medal for Canada,” he said.
Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly said decision to withdraw diplomats and keep Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge and others at home was prompted by reports of abuse from Xinjiang , an oil-rich territory in the northwest of the country.
“It is clear that it is important for us to send a strong signal to China because we are extremely concerned about the allegations concerning the Uyghurs,” Joly said.
Joly said she raised the possibility of a boycott with her allies in almost every meeting she has had since her appointment to the Foreign Ministry in October. She said she would travel to a G7 meeting in the UK this weekend to pressure other dissenters, such as France and Germany, to join the boycott.
“Canada has taken a leadership role on this file – it is consistent with our foreign policy. Canada always stands up on human rights issues, ”she said.
Canada-China relations deteriorated after China detained two Canadians – Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig – in an apparent act of retaliation for the 2018 arrest of Huawei leader Meng Wanzhou for fraud in the United States. In September, the two were released by the Chinese Communist regime after the legal dispute involving Meng was partially resolved by U.S. prosecutors.
The Western world’s relations with China have deteriorated over the past two years. China has been accused of covering up the first outbreaks of COVID-19 and of pushing World Health Organization (WHO) officials to praise its response to the pandemic rather than scrutinize its actions.