Canada’s Olympic organizers will warn athletes to watch what they say in China next year, out of fear of a national security law in Hong Kong that has been used to arrest Beijing’s critics.
David Shoemaker, chief executive officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee, said athletes have the right to speak freely, but they will be counselled on what “they might consider not commenting on, perhaps, at least until after the Games have taken place,” he said.
Shoemaker also rejected calls for a boycott of the Beijing Olympic Winter Games next February, saying that it is unlikely to affect Chinese policies toward Muslims and could make things worse for detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
Cathal Kelly: “Let the Games go ahead. Let Canadian athletes participate fully. Let Ottawa do its best to leverage whatever goodwill comes out of the Olympics to effect good works for those suffering in China. And let principled protest by individuals moved to do so go unhindered, at least by the Canadian sports establishment.”
Opinion: “Faced with only two options – go or don’t go – our approach is to be present and join the conversation. We believe we can amplify voices and use people-to-people connections to effect change, regardless of how aspirational or difficult that might seem at times. When our Olympians and Paralympians compete in Beijing, Team Canada will showcase Canadian values and help build essential bridges between nations, not walls.”
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Canada the only G7 country to take vaccines from fund that helps developing countries
Canada is the only Group of Seven country to draw on a supply of COVID-19 vaccines meant primarily for developing countries, leading to fresh charges of hoarding against a country that is already a world leader in vaccine purchases per capita.
The COVAX program pools funds from wealthier countries to help buy vaccines for themselves and for 92 low- and middle-income countries that can’t afford to buy on their own.
The vast majority of countries receiving the first vaccine shipments from COVAX are low- and middle-income countries, according to information released Wednesday by Gavi, the vaccine alliance that is co-ordinating the program.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
McKinsey settles for $573-million over role in opioid crisis: McKinsey & Co., the consultant to major corporations and governments around the world, has agreed to pay US$573-million to settle investigations into its role in helping “turbocharge” opioid sales, a rare instance of it being held publicly accountable for its work with clients.
Proud Boys added to Canada’s list of terrorist groups: The federal government has added the Proud Boys to its designated list of terrorist organizations along with 12 other groups, including Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliates, calling it a “neo-fascist organization that engages in political violence.”
Laurentian University’s CCAA filing could cause more money problems: Laurentian University’s move to seek creditor protection could cause further financial problems if prospective students decide not to enroll in the school next year. The university is working to restructure quickly so that existing and prospective students don’t enroll elsewhere.
Privacy commissioners say U.S. facial-recognition company broke laws: Canadian privacy commissioners say that U.S. technology company Clearview AI has broken laws intended to safeguard Canadians’ privacy by providing its powerful facial-recognition software to police.
Global stocks push for further gains: World stock markets were pushing for a fourth day of gains on Thursday as a near one-year high in oil prices, a revitalized U.S. dollar and rising bond yields refocused attention on inflation and normalizing economies. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 edged up 0.26 and 0.31 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.06 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended down 0.66 per cent. New York futures edged higher. The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.11 US cents.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Robert Lawrie and Philippe Couillard: “A substantial investment is necessary to clear the enormous backlog in our Canadian health care system. However, simply investing enough to get us back to the former standard, without making our overall health care system more efficient and customer friendly, would be a missed opportunity. On this World Cancer Day, we call on our governments and health care leaders to be forward-thinking so that we can have a more efficient health care system for all Canadians. We must invest more now to build it back better.”
Brad Wheeler: “The cachet is premium. Although Saturday Night Live isn’t prime time, it’s prime real estate, this season rented out to the Weeknds and the White Stripes of the world, not friends with connections. If host [Dan] Levy wants to bring his own music with him on Saturday, he’ll need to carry an iPhone.”
TODAY’S EDITORIAL CARTOON
Does it makes sense to buy now, pay later for online purchases?
Millions of online shoppers have started to use buy now, pay later services – or BNPLs for short – as a way to manage the purchase of goods in pretty much every retail category imaginable. Unlike traditional layaway plans of yore, these services are good for purchases as small as an eyeliner from Sephora, an aromatherapy candle from Anthropologie, a sweater from Frank and Oak or an air fryer from Hudson’s Bay. And the bonus? You get it right away.
MOMENT IN TIME: FEB. 4, 1979
Crowds brave the cold for horse racing on the Rideau Canal
At the first major horse races held on the frozen Rideau Canal, only the trotters were hot. The sulky-based spectacle, organized by horse-racing historian William Galvin as part of Ottawa’s Winterlude Festival, was attended by about 35,000 curiosity-seekers who lined the banks of the canal and braved sub-zero temperatures to take in the unconventional affair. Drivers from across the country competed in nine races. In keeping with the wintery weather, the standardbreds had spikes welded to their shoes. According to the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame, the city’s last significant equines-on-ice contest had taken place on the Ottawa River in 1898, a snowball’s throw away from the Parliament buildings. Eighty-one years later, among the crowd on the Rideau Canal was prime minister Pierre Trudeau, who took a break from constitutional amendment considerations to attend the races with his three young sons – including future leader Justin Trudeau. The second-biggest celebrity was NHL great Bobby Hull, who drove 15-year-old trotter Prince Demon in a quarter-mile dash against a few local hockey players. The horse won easily. The whole thing was a Hull of a show. Brad Wheeler