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Pro-Tibet cross-Canada cyclist wheels into Montreal today
The Gazette[Sunday, July 27, 2008 14:45]
Aims to reach Vancouver in August. Momentum is building, athlete says

ALAN HUSTAK

Montreal, July 26: David Kay's cross-Canada Race for Rights to raise awareness about human rights violations in China arrives in Montreal this afternoon.

Kay, who won a silver medal in rowing with Team Canada at the 2003 Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic, is bicycling across the country for the Canada-Tibet Committee, which supports the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile.

Kay began his 7,700-kilometre stretch in St. John's, N.L., on July 13, and expects to reach Vancouver at the end of August.

He has no support vehicle. In a cellphone interview from Trois Rivières yesterday, Kay said momentum for his effort is building.

"It's going well," he said, "the last four or five days have been blissful. The Canada-Tibet committee isn't really represented in Atlantic Canada so the sendoff in Newfoundland was sparsely attended, but once I reached Halifax, I started to get more media attention." Each leg of Kay's journey is dedicated to specific victims of the uprising in Tibet.

As he makes his way through Quebec, Kay is cycling in the memory of two monks who, according to the Times of London newspaper, were killed by Chinese police at a monastery in Sichuan province July 12.

"From my perspective, the ride is not so much a protest as it is a call to the Chinese government to uphold the incredible promises it made to get the Olympics," he said.

Kay's arrival in Montreal, planned for 3:30 this afternoon at Chez Gasté on Ontario Ave. E., will focus on a rally planned for Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Aug. 7, the day before the summer Olympic Games open in Beijing.

Nazanin Afshin-Jam, a former Miss Canada who was born in Iran and lives in Vancouver, came up with the idea to get various groups concerned about what is happening in China to join forces with the Canada-Tibet Committee for the Ottawa demonstration.

Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler, Liberal opposition critic for human rights, and David Kilgour, the former Edmonton MP who was co-chairperson of the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet, are also expected to take part in the demonstration at noon.

With the support of the Institute for Public Affairs of Montreal, organizers hope to send a busload of activists from Montreal to Ottawa.

"Governments around the world have an obligation to keep the pressure on the government of China to respect human rights, and in the case of Tibet, to reach an agreement with the Dali Lama the guarantees an autonomous Tibet within China," said Dermod Travis, executive director of the Canada-Tibet Committee.

For information about the rally, visit www.tibet.ca or telephone 514-487-0665.

ahustak@ thegazette.canwest.com
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