An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
I CAUGHT A FEW ENDS of curling on TV last weekend. It was an international competition called the Curling World Cup Grand Final.
I thought, “What the hell?” This event was being held in Beijing. There were several Canadian teams. They were playing against Chinese teams. Not only that, who was coaching the Chinese? Canadians.
Normally, I would have thought nothing of it, but under current circumstances, it offended me.
Here we are, being bullied right and left by one of the world’s two super powers, and we’re teaching them how to curl?
There’s an unwritten rule that we don’t mix sports and politics, though it happens with the occasional boycott of the Olympics.
But it seems hypocritical to me that while China imprisons and sentences Canadians to death and does its best to cripple our economy, we carry on business as usual in sports.
Awhile back, I suggested a grassroots approach to the problem through our countless organizations and businesses with ties to China. Maybe we need to include sports.
What if we refused to compete against Chinese athletes?
Drastic? Sure. But think of it. Curling is but one example — it’s a sport at which Canada is the best in the world. If China and Canada are scheduled to play each other, but the Canadian team refuses to take the ice, that would be noticed.
Now, extend that to tennis, track and field, gymnastics, figure skating and even hockey, where China is trying to build competence. Sure, our professional athletes would kick, but it’s time to step up.
As they say in politics these days, we have to use every tool in our toolbox. And when it comes to China, we don’t have a lot of tools. Sports are one.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.