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Canadian politicians pledge support for Dalai Lama

April 20, 2008

MP's anti-China comments not our view: government

CBC News
Friday, April 18, 2008

A group of Canadian parliamentarians met with the Dalai Lama in Michigan
on Friday as the federal government distanced itself from anti-Chinese
comments made by an outspoken Calgary Conservative MP making the trip.

Rob Anders and other members of Parliamentary Friends of Tibet expressed
their support for Tibet's spiritual leader in a 45-minute private
session in Ann Arbor, where the Dalai Lama is speaking as part of a book

The Dalai Lama, who has said he will resign if violence in his homeland
persists, told reporters after the meeting that human rights and freedom
of expression are vital not only in Tibet, but in China as well.

He said the Canadians' words of support were appreciated.

"We are passing through a very, very difficult period," he said. "They
bring us their inspiration, new freshness and new hope."
MP called Beijing Games 'propaganda exercise'

Anders, a longtime pro-Tibet activist, said Thursday that "China is the
worst human rights abuser in the world."

"It's not just against Tibetans, it's against their own people, their
own population," Anders told the CBC Radio morning show The Calgary

He also called the 2008 Beijing Olympics a "propaganda exercise"
comparable to the 1936 Berlin Games and suggested Tibetans are ready to
start an "insurrection" during the Games.

Anders also said no Canadian politician should attend the Games, but he
stopped short of calling for a full-on Canadian boycott.

Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai, the parliamentary secretary to the
minister of foreign affairs, told the House of Commons on Friday that
"Canada has no plans to boycott the Beijing Olympics" but will continue
to raise the issue of human rights with China.

"The comments made by the member for Calgary West are his own views and
do not reflect the views of the government of Canada," Obhrai said
during question period.

Comments send wrong message: Rae

The Liberals say the remarks are another example of government blunders
on the international stage, including Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime
Bernier's recent suggestion Afghanistan's government should replace the
governor of Kandahar, who has faced allegations of corruption.

Bernier later clarified his remarks, saying he was trying to reflect the
UN's concerns about corruption.

Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae said Friday that Anders's remarks
send the wrong message and will damage already-strained relations with

"This government's gaffes keep growing by the hour," said Rae.

"The Conservatives seem determined to not only diminish Canada's
reputation in the eyes of the world but also to do serious damage to
some of our key international relationships."

Anders was the only MP to oppose Parliament's move in 2001 to grant
former South African president Nelson Mandela an honorary Canadian
citizenship, calling him a former "communist and a terrorist."
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