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Home > India > News > Report

Canada PM to skip Olympics opening

Ajit Jain in Toronto | April 10, 2008 10:57 IST

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced that he will not be going to Beijing [Images] this August for the opening ceremony of the Olympics [Images].

While Harper said he will likely send a high-level delegation for the ceremony, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the federal government is considering a total boycott of the ceremonies to underline Canada's [Images] anger at China's crackdown on activists campaigning for a free Tibet [Images].

MacKay said the Cabinet is yet to discuss the issue and arrive at an official position.

Harper, meanwhile, advised China to take seriously the global concern about its human rights record, because these concerns are 'likely to grow rather than diminish if we see a repetition of the current pattern.'

Speaking against the backdrop of protests in London [Images], Paris and this week, San Francisco as the Olympic Torch touched these cities, McKay said the world's anger could no longer be denied.

'It's impossible to not see the reaction that's occurring around the Olympics,' Defence Minister MacKay is quoted as saying. 'It's become a forum of expression for people and their concern over what is happening in China.'

There have already been protest marches and demonstrations in Toronto, Ottawa and elsewhere in support of Tibet; there is also anger over Ontario's Industry Minister Sandra Pupatello leading a business delegation to China at this juncture.