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Canada joins diplomatic boycott of Beijing Games – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Published Wednesday, December 8, 2021 12:43PM EST


Last Updated Wednesday, December 8, 2021 4:27PM EST

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will join a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year, citing extensive human rights abuses by the Communist regime in the host country.

The decision comes two days after the United States announced it would not send government officials to the Olympics over concerns about China’s human rights record, and particularly allegations of genocide against the Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang province.

Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have all since followed suit.

Trudeau said Canada too is “extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government.”

“I don’t think the decision by Canada or by many other countries to choose to not send a diplomatic representation to the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics is going to come as a surprise to China,” he said Wednesday.

“We have been very clear over the past many years of our deep concerns around human rights violations and this is a continuation of us expressing our deep concerns for human rights violations.”

A diplomatic boycott means Canadian athletes can and will still compete but no government officials will attend, including Pascale St-Onge, the new minister of sport.

While it has been rare in recent years for the prime minister to attend an Olympics, Canada normally sends multiple government representatives including cabinet ministers and often the governor general.

Last summer, Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough represented the Canadian government at the delayed Tokyo Olympics. In 2018 in Pyeongchang, Trudeau requested then-governor general Julie Payette attend for Canada. Kirsty Duncan, then the sport minister, attended both the Olympics and Paralympics along with several staff members.

Former governor general David Johnston attended for Canada at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and at the 2012 Summer Games in London.

There were some calls for countries to stage a boycott of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing over human rights concerns, or at least to refuse to attend the opening ceremonies. But former prime minister Stephen Harper rejected that idea and sent his foreign affairs minister, David Emerson, to attend the games, including the opening ceremonies.

China denies allegations of human rights abuses and is accusing the United States of upending the political neutrality of sport. Chinese diplomats slammed the decisions by the U.S. and Australia, accusing countries of using the Olympics as a pawn, and adding several times that “nobody cares” whether diplomats attend the Games.

Mac Ross, a kinesiology professor at Western University’s International Centre for Olympic Studies, said Canada is sending a message to China and the International Olympic Committee that it “will not support the hosting of Olympic Games against the backdrop of widespread human rights violations.”

Ross also said China’s accusation that the boycotts politicize the Olympics ignores how many times China itself boycotted the Games.

“The People’s Republic of China has staged full boycotts of the Olympics multiple times, on purely political grounds,” Ross said. “Why are boycotts suddenly unacceptable? The answer is simple: they place the regime’s human rights record front and centre.”

In a written statement, Canadian Olympic Committee CEO David Shoemaker and Canadian Paralympic Committee CEO Karen O’Neill said they respect the decision made by the government.

“The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee remain concerned about the issues in China but understand the Games will create an important platform to draw attention to them,” they said. “History has shown that athlete boycotts only hurt athletes without creating meaningful change.”

The Chinese Embassy in Canada has not yet reacted to Canada’s decision, but tweeted ahead of the announcement that “the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics are about athletic excellence and global unity. Stop using it as a platform for grandstanding and division.”

China threatened to take “countermeasures” against the U.S. but has not specified what that means.

Trudeau said Wednesday concerns about arbitrary detention of any foreign nationals by the Chinese government continues to be a concern but that Canada will do everything necessary to ensure the safety of Canadian athletes competing in Beijing.

“We know that our athletes need to have one thing in mind that is representing their countries to the best of their ability and winning that gold medal for Canada,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said the RCMP are always involved in ensuring security for Canada’s athletes and that Canada’s diplomatic missions in China will also be helping ensure the athletes have everything they need.

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 its decision to arrest Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States, which 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 released from Canada.

Opposition Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said he supports a diplomatic boycott but accused Trudeau of lagging behind Canada’s allies in making the decision.

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

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Prince Andrew seeks jury trial, denies Virginia Giuffre’s sex abuse claims

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Britain’s Prince Andrew on Wednesday asked for a U.S. jury trial as he again denied Virginia Giuffre‘s accusations that he sexually abused her more than two decades ago when she was 17.

Giuffre, 38, sued the Duke of York last August, alleging he battered her while the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was trafficking her.

In a filing with the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Andrew, 61, admitted to meeting Epstein in or around 1999, but denied Giuffre’s claim that he “committed sexual assault and battery” upon her.

David Boies, a lawyer for Giuffre, said in a statement that Andrew was trying to “blame the victim.”

“We look forward to confronting Prince Andrew with his denials and attempts to blame Ms. Giuffre for her own abuse,” Boies said.

Andrew’s ties to Epstein, who killed himself in a Manhattan jail cell in 2019 while awaiting trial on sex abuse charges, have undermined his reputation with the public and standing in Britain’s Royal Family.

Earlier this month, the family removed Andrew’s military links and military patronages, and said the second son of Queen Elizabeth would no longer be known as “His Royal Highness.”

Andrew’s filing was an “answer,” a common document in U.S. litigation in which defendants deny or say they lack enough information to comment on plaintiffs’ substantive accusations.

The prince’s lawyers had previously called Giuffre’s lawsuit “baseless” and accused her of seeking another payday.

Giuffre received $500,000 in a 2009 civil settlement with Epstein.

U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan has said a trial could begin between September and December 2022.

If Giuffre won at trial, Andrew could owe her damages. She has asked for an unspecified amount.

Andrew has not been criminally charged, and no criminal charges can be brought in Giuffre’s civil lawsuit.

Kaplan this month denied Andrew’s earlier request to dismiss Giuffre’s lawsuit, which the prince said he was shielded from under the 2009 Epstein settlement.

Andrew renewed that argument in Wednesday’s filing, and also said Giuffre lacks legal standing to sue because she lives in Australia.

 

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Howard Goller)

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Canada pledges non-lethal support for Ukraine, extends training mission

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Canada on Wednesday said it would send non-lethal equipment to Ukraine, and help the Eastern European country gather intelligence and counter cyber attacks as Russia builds up its military presence on its borders.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said his government would extend for three years and double the size of a mission to train the Ukrainian military called Operation Unifier.

Russia has massed tens of thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine but denies planning to attack its neighbor. The United States and Britain have started sending more arms to Ukraine.

“With rising tensions, and unwarranted Russian aggression, Canada will be there to provide ongoing support to Ukraine so that it can defend itself,” Trudeau told reporters.

Canada will also set up a task force and expand its diplomatic capacity – including in Kyiv – to coordinate support for Ukraine, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said.

“Diplomacy is the only viable path forward for Russia. Any further aggression will have serious consequences including coordinated sanctions, and Canada is prepared,” Joly said.

Defense Minister Anita Anand will visit Latvia and Ukraine “in the coming days” to visit Canadian forces in both countries, Trudeau said.

Some 200 Canadian military personnel are already in Ukraine as part of the training mission, which has been provided to “over 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers”, Anand said.

Trudeau said the training mission would be extended by three years, at a cost of C$340 million ($268.5 million), with 60 additional Canadian soldiers leaving within days. Ultimately as many as 400 Canadian trainers may be sent, the prime minister said.

Trudeau said the non-lethal equipment would include things like “body armor, optics and scopes”. Anand said it would include surveillance equipment.

Canada also said it would provide up to C$50 million in development and humanitarian aid, adding to a loan of up to C$120 million promised last week.

Canada, with a sizeable and politically influential population of Ukrainian descent, has taken a strong line with Russia since its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

($1 = 1.2661 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Steve Scherer and Ismail Shakil; editing by Richard Pullin)

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The Best Casino Restaurants in Canada

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In the past, gaming establishments that were not under the jurisdiction of the government or other related agencies have not found favour with the Canadian populace. Laws permitting single-game sports betting were passed only in August of 2021, with many people now anticipating that the day will not be far off when gambling in Canada will be allowed throughout the country.

As the world comes out of the explosive trend of playing casino games online and starts visiting land-based casinos again, one other thing has entered the public mindset. Something that the online casino experience can’t match: food. Land-based casinos come with restaurants, and in this article, Kevin N. Cochran lists out every casino in Canada that tantalizes the palettes of culinary experts worldwide. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Neros Steakhouse

With its luxury hotel next to the gambling facility, Caesars Windsor is clearly one of Canada’s top destinations. They boast a large selection of slots, including several progressives with jackpots in the six-figure bracket, as well as a variety of table games. The hotel itself boasts 700 rooms, allowing it to accommodate a large number of people.

A steakhouse, like many other casinos in Canada, is the best place to eat. Neros is a high-end restaurant, yet the costs are more reasonable than you may expect. While some steakhouses charge upwards of $50 and $60 per entrée, most things are priced between $29 and $41. When you start looking at premium cuts like bison tenderloin and 20-ounce dry-aged tomahawk ribeye, you’ll start to see prices above $50.

Ponte Vecchio

Fallsview offers a veritable feast of dining alternatives, with over 20 different establishments to choose from. Ponte Vecchio, which got the 2019 Diners’ Choice, TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and the Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence, is our favourite. This restaurant, named after a historical bridge in Florence, Italy, is, as you might expect, an Italian eatery.

Consider starting with the wine list, which is wonderful. After that, the choices can take you in a variety of wonderful directions. Authentic plates of pasta are always a fantastic choice. The Osso Buco veal shank is always a classic, but the Agnello Arrosto is the one true champion. A maple-dijon-coated rack of lamb is served with truffle polenta, tomato ragu, lamb jus, and rapini to balance out the richness.

The Victor

One of Canada’s newest gaming venues, Parq Vancouver, is a behemoth. There is roughly 72,000 square feet of gaming space in Vancouver, albeit not all of it is dedicated to the casino. There are over 600 slot machines, as well as a variety of table games such as Baccarat, Blackjack, and Jade Salons for private gaming.

There are a few good restaurants here, but we’ll start with The Victor, which serves a steak and seafood fusion. While that may sound like most steakhouses, this isn’t the case because this is a modern dining room with sushi, caviar, and ceviche on the seafood side and bone marrow, porterhouse, and wagyu on the meaty side.

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon

L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon is the place to go if you’re seeking one of Montreal’s greatest casino restaurants and want to have a unique experience. Robuchon, who regrettably passed away two years ago, was one of the world’s most celebrated chefs. A visit to L’Atelier, which means ‘workshop,’ is a wonderful experience.

The tasting menu is the way to go if you’ve hit it big at the tables or have some cash to spend. The complete trademark tasting menu is $200 per person, making it pricey. On a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, though, you may complete a four-course menu for $85.

Honey Salt

Honey Salt is a wonderful option at the Parq Vancouver if you’re searching for something a little more informal yet still stylish. This restaurant takes a farm-to-table approach and has a strong local focus. Consider it a hip neighbourhood hangout that’s still enjoyable but a little more toned down than a steakhouse.

This is the place to go if you want a golden-seared scallop. These delicate jewels are covered with a truffle jus and served with roasted or pureed cauliflower. It’s flavourful, and it’s only one of the menu’s many fascinating selections.

Conclusion

Restaurants in casino towns are often the most top-tier establishments of their ilk in that area, so if you’re planning to splurge in a casino, you might as well take a detour to get some quality grub. At the end of the day, casinos are all about having a good time, and food is probably the best medium to achieve that. So, go crazy, and feast like kings! We’ve all deserved it after the last couple of years.

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