Purged with questions before the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee, Hockey Canada bonzes had to admit that they were never able to identify the eight players allegedly involved in a gang rape case in 2018 and that athletes weren’t required to cooperate with the investigation. . Nothing to reduce the rumbling of the body.
• Read also: Public funds used to cover a gang rape?
Both Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, and Tom Renney, chief executive, looked pretty bad during the exercise in front of elected officials in Ottawa.
Even after many questions, there are still several gray areas regarding the events that would have taken place on 18 and 19 June 2018, at a gala of the Hockey Canada Foundation in London.
Scott Smith, president and chief executive officer, Tom Renney, chief executive, and Dave Andrews, president of the Hockey Canada Foundation, testified before elected officials in Ottawa yesterday.
The independent investigation which lasted 26 months launched by the sports federation will therefore not have allowed the presumed culprits to be identified.
“Neither the investigation nor the London police were able to confirm who the defendants were,” Smith said, while Renney recalled that the complainant had accepted an out-of-court settlement and had not participated in the survey.
“We can only respect his wishes,” he said.
No public funds
Also according to the two representatives of Hockey Canada, the public funds used to finance the organization were never used, neither to define the out-of-court settlement nor for the legal costs incurred.
Smith also said that Hockey Canada had done things correctly.
“You have to take a step back before you imply that we’ve covered this up. The police were promptly notified. We started an investigation. We offered support to the young woman.
“The process we went through in this case is common. Agreements like this are common and are made to protect everyone involved. They arise from a mutual agreement. Nobody was forced into silence, “she insisted.
Même en voulant démontrer sa bonne volunté dans affaire, Hockey Canada s’est fait poivrer de questions concernant le fait que les 19 joueurs présents lors des événements qui ont dérapé en 2018 n’ont pas été tenus de reply à des questions durant l ‘investigation.
On this point, Renney told the committee that only four to six hockey players would cooperate. Information that Smith later contradicted by speaking in place of 12-13 players.
Be that as it may, it was enough for Hockey Canada to be identified as an accomplice in this sexual assault case in the eyes of some politicians, including Sébastien Lemire, a member of the Québécois Bloc.
“I can sense from your answers that you have been more or less proactive. You made incomplete requests and reports. You don’t know what happened, but you rushed to pay to cover it up.
“There is a certain form of complicity that you demonstrate. I sincerely hope that you have not put pressure on the victim to be able to secure this out-of-court settlement. To me, in this story you act like John Doe 9, “he swore, referring to the eight unidentified players.
– With Guillaume St-Pierre, Parliamentary Office
Too many unanswered questions
In the eyes of the elected officials who questioned the leaders of Hockey Canada, the apparition did not bring the expected clarifications.
“I think it left a lot of questions unanswered,” said Peter Julian of the New Democratic Party.
“I think the fact that they didn’t force players to take the survey leaves most Canadians baffled. If you do an investigation, everyone must be obliged to participate, “he later complained in a press scrum.
Hockey Canada president and chief operating officer Scott Smith also said the federation has faced “one or two cases” of sexual assault per year, during the “last five or six years.” There are two investigations currently underway and on which the organization did not want to provide further details.
“This sexual assault must be the last, but it seems not. There continue to be cases. They talked about a dozen cases and two investigations. It leaves me worried. Hockey Canada has not taken all the necessary measures, ”Julian said.
Code of conduct to be reviewed
Hockey Canada is currently revising its Code of Conduct. This is another measure that does not seem to move the elected members of the committee.
“What is the value of a code of conduct if you don’t participate [à une enquête] when there are horrific allegations of sexual assault? ” Mr. Julian asked.
On this matter, Mr. Smith revealed that in the future Hockey Canada Code of Conduct, players may be required to cooperate in such investigations. He also admitted that the organization was “probably behind” in terms of educating players in terms of preventing such events.
The committee has not decided on the next steps to take, but it does not appear that the removal of subsidies from Hockey Canada is part of the solution.
“They made a mistake, but we will penalize young players across the country if we don’t fund national institutions like Hockey Canada or Soccer Canada. The way to ensure a safe environment for all is not to deprive a national association of funds,” he said. said Anthony Housefather, Montreal MP for the Liberal Party of Canada.
– With Guillaume St-Pierre