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Canada joins U.S., U.K., in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics – National Post

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Said China’s foreign ministry of the Australian diplomatic boycott: ‘Whether they come or not, nobody cares’

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OTTAWA – Canada will not be sending diplomats to the Beijing Olympics in early February, effectively joining a diplomatic boycott with the United States, United Kingdom and Australia denouncing China’s alleged human rights violations.

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“As many partners around the world, we are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Wednesday, flanked by Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly and Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge, as well as MP and former Olympian Adam Van Koeverden.

As the boycott only involves diplomatic staff and government officials, Canadian athletes will still compete at the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympic games beginning next February. The foreign minister argued that Canada’s decision sends a “strong signal” to China without unfairly affecting athletes working to compete in Beijing.

  1. A card calling the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

    John Robson: There is value in a diplomatic boycott of the Olympics

  2. A snowboarder stands in front of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo in Zhangjiakou, Hebei province, China, on Nov. 20, 2021. Canada should join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the Games, writes Tasha Kheiriddin.

    Tasha Kheiriddin: A diplomatic boycott of Beijing is a no-brainer, except in Ottawa

  3. In this file photo taken on December 01, 2021, people walk past the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics logo at the Shougang Park in Beijing. - Canada will not send officials to the Beijing Olympics in February, Trudeau announced on December 8, 2021, joining the US and other allies' diplomatic boycott of the Games.

    Matt Gurney: Trudeau’s diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics the absolute least he could do

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Joly and St-Onge said their top priority for the country’s athletes competing in China was their safety, and that the RCMP would be working with the Canadian Olympic Committee to ensure they are properly protected during the games.

But neither minister was able to provide details of what that meant.

“There are already agents that have been hired to ensure the security of the athletes and we’re still in discussion with the RCMP with (Public Safety Minister) Marco Mendicino. Everything will be in place to make sure that the athletes are safe,” St-Onge said.

China is facing strong and increasing international criticism over what many countries, including Canada, have called the “genocide” of its Uyghur minority, as well as its recent strongarm tactics to increase its control over Hong King by cracking down on democracy and civil liberties via a security law enacted during the pandemic.

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China also recently released two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, who were detained for over three years due to what Canada described as “hostage diplomacy.”

Federal opposition parties criticized the Trudeau government for taking so much time to decide to boycott the Games and not acting sooner to push for them to either be postponed for one year or even relocated to another country.

According to former Canadian ambassador to China Guy St-Jacques, delaying the games for one year to allow an international investigation into human rights abuse allegations in China would have been the clearest and most effective message Canada could have sent.

But a widespread diplomatic boycott is the second-best option at this point and will still send a strong message to Chinese President Xi Jinping without requiring Canadian athletes to suffer the consequences of a full boycott, he said.

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“It will have an impact because this will result in a loss of face for President Xi Jinping. We know that he wanted to use the Olympics to showcase that China’s a modern country, a superpower that knows how to organize things,” said the former ambassador.

It will have an impact because this will result in a loss of face for President Xi Jinping

“He was hoping that having foreign leaders there would confirm that, in fact, China has become so powerful that nobody would dare to criticize it,” he continued, adding he expects many more if not all members of the European Union to join the boycott.

The U.S. was the first country to formally announce that they would send no diplomatic envoys or staff with their athletes to the upcoming winter games during a press conference on Monday, citing China’s “ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang” against the Uyghur people.

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“U.S. diplomatic or official representation would treat these games as business as usual in the face of the [People’s Republic of China]’s egregious human rights abuses and atrocities in Xinjiang, and we simply can’t do that,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a briefing.

Two other Canadian allies, Australia and then the U.K., followed suit on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, each denouncing China’s repressive actions and human rights violations against its own people.

Joly said that she has used every opportunity possible to discuss the Olympics with Canada’s allies in the G7 and NATO, likely to exhort them to follow suit in the diplomatic boycott.

“There are still many countries studying the question but clearly, I want to make sure as I’m heading to the G7 … that I raise this issue and I want to make sure that more countries in the world send a strong signal,” Joly said.

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The decision is likely to aggravate Canada’s already strained relationship with Beijing, notably as the Trudeau government is also expected to announce a formal decision on whether Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will be allowed to participate in Canada’s 5G network.

In an interview with National Post last week, China’s ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu warned that such boycotts are not in line with the values of the Olympic Games.

“It is for the people. It is for humanity. It is not for politicians,” Cong said. “It is against the spirit of the Olympic Games to politicize these issues.”

China has denied any wrongdoing in Xinjiang and said abuse allegations are fabricated.

Its foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing in Beijing that Australian politicians were engaged in “political posturing.”

“Whether they come or not, nobody cares,” he added.

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Soccer-USMNT embrace the cold as World Cup qualifying heats up

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Bone chilling conditions are forecast for the next three U.S. men’s national team World Cup qualifying matches and the players on Wednesday said they were excited to battle the elements and their opponents.

Snow, frigid wind and sub-zero temperatures will likely greet the USMNT when they host El Salvador in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 27, take on Canada in Ontario three days later, and close out the window against Honduras in Saint Paul, Minnesota on Feb. 2.

Defender Walker Zimmerman said the prospect of cold weather brought back memories of the USMNT’s 1-0 win over Costa Rica in March 2013’s Snow Clasico in Colorado.

“I’m really excited,” Zimmerman told reporters on a call.

“I was talking to my wife over the break and I was saying, I want it to be freezing, I want it to be cold, I want it to snow. I want to be part of something so iconic, something like that game that I really remember seeing when I was growing up.

“And I think the guys are ready to embrace it.”

Forward Paul Arriola said he and his team mates have played in cold weather before and trust in their support staff to help them get ready.

“The staff on the national team do a tremendous job, and we have full confidence in them to prepare us,” he said.

“And we have our own duties as professional players and players on the national team to be ready for every possible condition.

“We’ll embrace the cold, and it will be a really good environment for the fans as well.”

The U.S. are second in the standings for the CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers with 15 points, a point behind Canada and one ahead of rivals Mexico.

The top three in the eight-team group qualify automatically for Qatar 2022 with the fourth-placed finisher going into an intercontinental playoff for another spot.

The team are eager to put behind them the humiliating loss they suffered at the hands of Trinidad and Tobago in 2017, which prevented them reaching the World Cup in Russia and led to a complete rebuild.

 

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Toby Davis)

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Sportsnet announces revised schedule for postponed NHL games – Sportsnet.ca

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Sportsnet and the NHL have announced changes to the broadcast schedule for the 2021-22 NHL season. The changes account for a large number of games that were postponed in recent weeks due to a surge of COVID-19 cases across the league.

As a result, the following updates have been made to Sportsnet’s national and regional broadcast schedules. Please note that all times are Eastern.

For the most up-to-date broadcast schedule, please visit our TV Listings page.

For a complete list of every game rescheduled by the NHL on Wednesday, click here.

National

January

Monday, Jan. 31
New Jersey at Toronto, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet

February

Monday, Feb. 7
Carolina at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Rogers Hometown Hockey)
New Jersey at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Rogers Hometown Hockey)

Wednesday, Feb. 9
Chicago at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Vegas at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE

Saturday, Feb. 12
Columbus at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Boston at Ottawa, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)
Toronto at Vancouver, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Winnipeg at Nashville, 7 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
NY Islanders at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)

Sunday, Feb. 13
Buffalo at Montreal, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Ottawa at Washington, 12:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hometown Hockey)

Monday, Feb. 14
Toronto at Seattle, 9 p.m., Sportsnet
Chicago at Winnipeg, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West
Edmonton at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet ONE

Tuesday, Feb. 15
Edmonton at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 16
Minnesota at Winnipeg, 7 p.m., Sportsnet (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)
Anaheim at Calgary, 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 17
Anaheim at Edmonton, 9 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 19
St. Louis at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet and CityTV (Hockey Night in Canada and Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi)
Boston at Ottawa, 7 p.m., Sportsnet ONE (Hockey Night in Canada)
Seattle at Calgary, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)
Anaheim at Vancouver, 10 p.m. (Hockey Night in Canada)

Sunday, Feb. 20
Minnesota at Edmonton, 8 p.m., Sportsnet ONE

Monday, Feb. 21
Toronto at Montreal, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Seattle at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet

Wednesday, Feb. 23
Buffalo at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.

March

Monday, March 7
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet
Edmonton at Calgary, 9:30 p.m., Sportsnet

April

Monday, April 4
Toronto at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m., Sportsnet

Monday, April 18
Calgary at Chicago, 8 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)
Dallas at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet (Hometown Hockey)

Wednesday, April 27
Montreal at NY Rangers, 7:30 p.m. (Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey)

Regional

February

Tuesday, Feb. 8
Vegas at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)
Arizona at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)

Wednesday, Feb. 9
NY Islanders at Vancouver, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)

Thursday, Feb. 10
Toronto at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)

Friday, Feb. 11
NY Islanders at Edmonton, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)

Tuesday, Feb. 15
Columbus at Calgary, 9 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)

Thursday, Feb. 17
Pittsburgh at Toronto, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)
Vancouver at San Jose, 10:30 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)

Saturday, Feb. 19
Edmonton at Winnipeg, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Oilers region)

Monday, Feb. 21
Winnipeg at Calgary, 4 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)

Tuesday, Feb. 22
Toronto at Columbus, 7 p.m., Sportsnet Ontario (Maple Leafs region)

April

Tuesday, April 19
Calgary at Nashville, 8 p.m., Sportsnet West (Flames region)
Ottawa at Vancouver, 10 p.m., Sportsnet Pacific (Canucks region)

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'Strongest team in all of snowboarding': Canadian squad named for Beijing Olympics – CBC Sports

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Canadian snowboarders brought home four medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.

The team looking to build on that number was announced by Canada Snowboard on Wednesday, including all four previous medallists — Sébastien Toutant (the lone gold medallist), Max Parrot, Mark McMorris and Laurie Blouin.

Joining them in slopestyle and big air are Darcy Sharpe, Brooke Voigt and Jasmine Baird. Meanwhile, the halfpipe team features Derek Livingston, Brooke D’Hondt and Elizabeth Hosking.

Missing from that list is Liam Brearley, the emerging 18-year-old who won a medal in all three disciplines at the 2020 Youth Olympics. Brearley, of Gravenhurst, Ont., was victim of a roster crunch, as Canada earned the maximum four quota spots in slopestyle and big air.

Megan Farrell and Arnaud Gaudet will compete in parallel giant slalom, while the snowboard cross squad includes Zoe Bergermann, Tess Critchlow, Meryeta O’Dine, Audrey McManiman, Eliot Grondin, Kevin Hill and Liam Moffatt.

CBC snowboard analyst Craig McMorris, the older brother of Mark McMorris, said the Canadians should be a force.

“I think it is the strongest team in all of snowboarding, especially in male slopestyle and big air with Max Parrot, Sebastien Toutant and Mark McMorris all returning for their third Games. The skill is there. And the veteran wisdom and experience is there as well,” he said.

Notable omission

The omission of Brearley reveals the overwhelming strength of the men’s slopestyle and big air squad. Toutant and McMorris both sit in the top five of World Snowboard’s slopestyle ranking, while Parrot is ranked first and McMorris fifth in big air.

Parrot pre-qualified for the Olympic team before the season began in October, with the stipulation that he remain in the top-30 of rankings. He has since not competed in World Cup races, freezing his ranking in place.

The final decision may have come down to Sharpe vs. Brearley, with each similarly ranked in the two disciplines. 

“[Sharpe] was out for a long time and his points freeze, then he comes back and his points unfreeze but then he gets COVID so he can’t compete, and that was crucial in deciding the team. So I feel like it was an extremely, extremely tough job,” McMorris said.

WATCH | Mark McMorris discusses difficulties of qualifying in pandemic:

Mark McMorris on realities of trying to qualify for an Olympics in a pandemic

14 days ago

Duration 6:34

The Canadian snowboarder is back for this third Olympics and talks to CBC Sports about taking fans behind the scenes in a documentary, competing in a pandemic and what he expects from Beijing 2022. 6:34

Parrot, the Bromont, Que., native who won slopestyle silver in 2018, is a recent cancer survivor. 

The 27-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma about 10 months after the Olympics but returned to competition less than a year later, winning X Games big air gold in the process.

Mark McMorris, the 28-year-old from Regina, enters his third Games looking to upgrade on the bronze he won each of the past two times — this time free of a near-fatal crash directly in his rearview mirror.

Toutant, 29, of L’Assomption, Que., experienced an eventful Pyeongchang Olympics as he recovered from a last-place finish in slopestyle to become the big air champion.

WATCH | CBC Sports’ Returning Champions series features Sébastien Toutant:

Returning Champions: Sébastien Toutant

15 days ago

Duration 3:33

Canadian snowboarder Sébastien Toutant reflects on winning Olympic gold in Big Air at PyeongChang 2018, his disappointing performances in Slopestyle, and his hopes for Beijing 2022. 3:33

Blouin back for more

On the women’s side, Blouin, 25, overcame some adversity in Pyeongchang herself after a crash in training left her participation in the Games at all in question.

But the Quebec City native bounced back in a big way en route to earning slopestyle silver.

“I’m really happy, it seems like 2018 was yesterday and now it’s crazy that we’re already looking ahead to the next Olympics,” Blouin said.

Along with McMorris and Sharpe, Blouin is set to compete at the winter X Games beginning Friday in Aspen, Colo., as part of her Olympic tuneup. 

WATCH | Blouin takes slopestyle bronze at Calgary World Cup:

Laurie Blouin earns bronze in World Cup snowboard slopestyle

18 days ago

Duration 3:18

Stoneham, Que.’s Laurie Blouin finished 3rd in the women’s snowboard slopestyle competition during the FIS Snowboard World Cup in Calgary. 3:18

D’Hondt, 16, is projected to be the youngest Canadian athlete in Beijing.

“It doesn’t feel real yet. I’m so grateful for this opportunity, and couldn’t be more excited to represent my country in Beijing,” D’Hondt said.

Meanwhile, Craig McMorris suggested that Baird, the 22-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., could be an emerging star for Canada.

“I don’t think she has the tricks to be on the podium yet, but she’s still super young. So I think after these Games, if she still keeps going and training at the rate she is and learning, I think she’ll definitely be a threat in 2026,” he said.

Full team

Women

  • Brooke D’Hondt — Calgary (halfpipe)
  • Elizabeth Hosking — Longueuil, Que. (halfpipe)
  • Megan Farrell — Richmond Hill, Ont. (parallel giant slalom) 
  • Jasmine Baird — Georgetown, Ont. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Laurie Blouin— Québec City (slopestyle/big air)
  • Brooke Voigt — Fort McMurray, Alta. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Zoe Bergermann — Erin, Ont. (snowboard cross)
  • Tess Critchlow — Big White, B.C. (snowboard cross)
  • Meryeta O’Dine — Prince George, B.C. (snowboard cross)
  • Audrey McManiman — St-Ambroise-de-Kildare, Que. (snowboard cross)

Men

  • Derek Livingston — Aurora, Ont. (halfpipe)
  • Arnaud Gaudet — Montcalm, Que. (parallel giant slalom)
  • Mark McMorris — Regina (slopestyle/big air)
  • Max Parrot — Bromont, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Darcy Sharpe — Comox, B.C. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Sébastien Toutant — L’Assomption, Que. (slopestyle/big air)
  • Eliot Grondin — Sainte-Marie, Que. (snowboard cross)
  • Kevin Hill — Vernon, B.C. (snowboard cross)
  • Liam Moffatt — Truro, N.S. (snowboard cross)

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