Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole speaks at a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai

Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole speaks at a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Kawai

O’Toole calls for relocation of Beijing Olympics due to China’s ‘genocide’ of Uighurs

Beijing has denied any wrongdoing in Xinjiang province, saying it is running a voluntary employment program

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is calling on the government to push for the 2022 Winter Olympics to be moved outside China amid “genocide” against minority Uighurs.

“I think Canadians would agree that it would violate fundamental ethical principles to participate in an Olympic Games hosted by a country that is committing a genocide against part of its population,” he said Tuesday.

O’Toole said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should reach out to the International Olympic Committee to seek to move the games. Canada “should not be sending athletes to China in the middle of a genocide,” he said, but stopped short of stating Canada should boycott the Olympics — or step up to host them.

China has been accused of using forced birth control to limit Uighur births and detention camps to indoctrinate the mostly-Muslim minority into mainstream Chinese society.

Beijing has denied any wrongdoing in Xinjiang province, saying it is running a voluntary employment and language-training program.

Trudeau said genocide is an “extremely loaded” term that should be applied cautiously and in strict accordance with internationally recognized criteria.

“There is no question there have been tremendous human rights abuses coming out of Xinjiang,” he said Tuesday.

Use of the word must be “properly justified and demonstrated so as not to weaken the application of ‘genocide’ in situations in the past.”

Whether the term applies to China is “something we should be looking at in the case of the Uighurs,” he said.

The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee along with the International Olympic Committee “are looking very closely” at calls for relocation of the games, Trudeau added.

O’Toole’s demand follows a letter from more than a dozen federal lawmakers from all parties earlier this month, calling for relocation of the games outside China due to what they deemed a “genocidal campaign” against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities.

The letter, whose signatories include 13 MPs as well as gold medallist Jean-Luc Brassard, came after a call from some 180 human rights groups to boycott the Beijing games, slated to kick off Feb. 4, 2022.

Ottawa’s delicate handling of the issue comes amid heightened tensions with the global superpower over the past two years following Beijing’s demand that Canada release a top executive of communications giant Huawei who is wanted on fraud charges in the United States.

Meng Wanzhou, who is also the daughter of the company’s founder, denies the charges, which China says are politically motivated as part of a U.S. effort to stifle the nation’s economic expansion.

Former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and Canadian entrepreneur Michael Spavor were rounded up by Chinese authorities nine days after the RCMP arrested the Chinese high-tech scion at the Vancouver airport in December 2018 on a U.S. extradition warrant.

Bob Rae, Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, called on the United Nations in November to investigate whether China’s persecution of ethnic Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang constitutes genocide.

A Canadian parliamentary subcommittee concluded in an October report that China’s treatment of Uighurs does amount to genocide, a characterization the country rejected as baseless.

READ MORE: Canada should consider hosting 2022 Winter Olympics, says Green Leader Annamie Paul

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

ChinaConservative Party of CanadaOlympics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Farmer Bob at the Farmers Market in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Kelowna farmers’ market manager wins BC Farmers’ Market Award

The awards were given out via a virtual conference in mid-February

Kelowna Olympian Malindi Elmore has been honoured locally for her contributions to the sport of running. She is one of five Okanagan athletes who received an athletic excellence award from PacificSport Okanagan, this week. (Contributed/UBC Okanagan)
Kelowna athletes, coaches, businesses honoured for achievements during pandemic

Among them, Kelowna’s Malindi Elmore and Jacob Rubuliak named Community Sport Heroes

The City Park dock in Kelowna was underwater due to rising Okanagan Lake flooding in 2017. (OBWB photo)
Okanagan facing extreme flooding risk

Water board calls for updated Okanagan Lake level management

On June 23, 2020, Sunrise Rotary announced it will be donating $50,000 in support of the Bridge Youth and Family Services for the construction of the “Okanagan Youth Recovery House” project for young people under the age of 19 who are experiencing addiction. (Contributed)
Interior Health adds 10 youth substance-use treatment beds in Kelowna

The Bridge Youth and Family Services will operate the beds

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
COVID-19 exposures on two Kelowna flights

The BCCDC announced two Pacific Coastal Airlines had potential COVID-19 exposures

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals of Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Two Vancouver police officers were struck by a car when the driver learned he was being arrested for allegedly using a fraudulent credit card to pay for food. (Vancouver Police Department)
Driver being arrested for alleged food order fraud rams Vancouver police with car

Two officers are in stable condition, suffering with soft tissue injuries following the incident

A discarded blue surgical mask is shown hanging in a bush in Montreal, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
B.C. RMT suspended for not wearing a mask after confirmed by undercover clients

College of Massage Therapists has 5 open files, said suspension necessary to protect public

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

From left to right, Slackwater Brewing’s assistant brewer Carri Kemp, co-founder Kelsey Peyton & shareholder Lyndi Cruickshank. Slackwater Brewing is releasing their second annual brew for International Women’s Day on March 8. (Submitted)
Penticton female brewmasters are “Making Waves” with their latest beer release

Making Waves is available across B.C. on March 8 in honour of International Women’s Day

Most Read