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Feds freeze Hockey Canada funding

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(OTTAWA) Hockey Canada’s “flawed, inappropriate, outdated” leadership is pushing Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge to suspend federal funding. And if the organization hit by gang rape allegations wants to regain access to public funds, it will have to show its credentials.

Posted at 12:29 PM
Updated at 3:49 pm

Melania Marchese

Melania Marchese
The print

The sanction was announced Wednesday, two days after the organization’s senior executives testified before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in Ottawa.

We haven’t received many responses during this appearance, but what we have learned about their handling of the event is extremely disturbing and disturbing.

Pascale St-Onge. minister of sport

She was not kind to the organization, which on Monday she accused of perpetuating a “culture of silence”.

“They have to arrive in 2022, change the culture and adopt best practices,” the minister said at a press conference in parliament on Wednesday afternoon.

Hockey Canada will have to meet two conditions for the reopening of the federal funds tap.

As a first step, they must disclose the recommendations of the firm Henein and Hutchison, which conducted the independent investigation, and “the concrete details of their plan to implement the change.”

Thereafter, they must become signatories to the Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner, which started the first phase of its operations on June 20.

As long as Hockey Canada does not comply with these conditions, “it will not receive any further payments or new funding from Sport Canada,” the minister said.

The announcement of the block was first made in an interview with TSN, where the story was first published.

When Pascale St-Onge left the parliamentary committee room on Monday evening, he had not closed the door on the idea of ​​cutting supplies to Hockey Canada, without signaling his intention to act quickly.

Rather, he insisted on the importance of completing the financial audit initiated when the report broke out.

“My leverage to shed as much light on this story as possible is the financial review that is currently underway. […] We will continue with the audit and there is nothing left out, “he said.

If the government has opted for a freeze rather than a permanent withdrawal of its funding, it is because there is more than one men’s youth team in Hockey Canada, the minister explained.

“You know, there is also a women’s hockey team, Paralympic teams. So for now it’s a gel […] We will evaluate later, ”he noted.

Hockey Canada on Wednesday did not react to the announcement of this sanction, nor did Toronto law firm Henein and Hutchison.

Unsatisfactory testimonials

At the committee table last Monday, no elected officials were satisfied with the explanations offered by senior Hockey Canada officials.

Incidentally, they dropped in when they learned that Hockey Canada had signed the friendly settlement check on behalf of the eight former Canadian Hockey League (CHL) players whose identity is unknown.

“We took on this responsibility because we wanted to respect the wishes of the young woman, who did not want to be identified and who did not want the names of the players to be made public,” said Scott Smith, president of Hockey Canada, following Monday’s meeting of the committee.

They were also shocked to learn that no athlete had been forced to participate in investigations into these events dating back to the spring of 2018, but also that there have been other cases of alleged sexual misconduct by players over the past five or six years.

In this regard, Minister St-Onge expressed this: “I cannot accept that this is the norm in our national sports organizations, and even Canadians should not do it”.

As reported by the TSN network for the first time, an out-of-court settlement came weeks after the alleged victim filed a $ 3.55 million lawsuit on April 20 against eight former CHL players, against the league and against Hockey. Canada.

Independent investigation required

On Wednesday in the House of Commons, a motion presented by the Québécois Bloc calling for an independent investigation into this matter was unanimously approved.

We want to know “if this was an isolated event or if there are gaps in the way Hockey Canada deals with reported sexual assault, sexual harassment and other types of misconduct,” the motion states.

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