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

(Kevin N. Hume/Black Press file)
Penticton’s bike lane gets $1 million provincial grant

The grant must be used by the end of 2021

Columbia Elementary School. (Google Street View)
Pilot program comes to Columbia Elementary School in Penticton

The initiative, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, is for four-year-olds

The husband wife team of Brett Turner and Olivia Fobert are the bakers and makers behind Joy Road Catering who are opening up a pop up bakeshop this May in the former Craft Kitchen. (Facebook)
Pop-up bakeshop opening in downtown Penticton

Joy Road Catering’s Bakeshop will be offering breads, pastries, lunch bowls and a marketplace

Students from Summerland’s Okanagan College often posed for photographs on the Big Rock. The rock was on the northern slope of Giant’s Head Mountain. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Big Rock had been deposited during last ice age

Rock was once a prominent feature on Giant’s Head Mountain

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

(Phil McLachlan - Black Press file)
Enderby man prohibited from driving after colliding into Kelowna bus stop

Vehicle was towed, 35-year-old man served 24-hour driving prohibition

Columbia Elementary School. (Google Street View)
Pilot program comes to Columbia Elementary School in Penticton

The initiative, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, is for four-year-olds

A 50-year-old Lake Country man was arrested and cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl were seized from his vehicle after a concerned citizen called in the suspicious vehicle idling on the wrong side of Woodsdale Road Feb. 18, 2021. (Lake Country RCMP)
Drugs, cash seized from suspicious three-wheeled vehicle in Lake Country

Man, 50, arrested after police respond to concerned citizen’s call

Numbers of new COVID-19 cases for the week of Feb. 14 to 20 appear to be trending down for all local health areas in the North Okanagan-Shuswap. (BC Centre for Disease Control map)
Colours on COVID-19 map getting lighter for North Okanagan-Shuswap

Number of new weekly cases reported by BC Centre for Disease Control drop throughout region

Royal LePage Place, along with the adjacent Jim Lind Arena are the two ice arenas operated by the City of West Kelowna..—Image credit: contributed
$442,200 to replace aging ammonia chiller at West Kelowna arena

West Kelowna is the recipient of a provincial grant to replace the ammonia chiller

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Major renovations are planned for the Centennial Outdoor Rink in Vernon. - Photo submitted
$695K grant to get Vernon rink ready for next season

Provincial funding will go toward replacing chiller at Centennial Outdoor Rink

Smoke dissipates as fire crews respond to smoke that was billowing from a residential building in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue SE in Salmon Arm about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Residents displaced following Salmon Arm apartment fire

Crews were called to the scene at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24

Most Read