OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada will not call for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games over China’s treatment of Tibet because it would only harm Canadian athletes, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Tuesday.
Protesters in London and Paris disrupted the Olympics’ global torch relay this week to protest against China’s clampdown in Tibet. Harper said Canada would not consider calling for a boycott.
“There has been no cabinet discussion of this. No cabinet discussion is planned. I don’t anticipate any kind of boycott of the Games themselves,” he told a news conference, saying that not even the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, was calling for athletes to stay away.
“Experience would suggest that such boycotts are generally not effective and really in the end only harm the athletes involved who have trained for so many years to compete in these events. So I don’t see either in this country or internationally a push for that,” he said.
Harper, who has already made it clear that he will not attend the opening ceremony, said Ottawa still intended to send a delegation to the event.
Canada will host the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Rob Wilson