Canada Hockey | Leaders eagerly awaited

(Ottawa) Hockey Canada leaders have a “serious soul-searching” to do and it will be up to them to convince the public that they are in the best position to end the “toxic masculinity” that plagues the organization , believes the Minister of Sports of Canada, Pascale St-Onge.

Posted at 5:00 a.m.

Melanie Marquis

Melanie Marquis
The Press

Officials from the organization will meet on the grill of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Wednesday. In the case of three of them, it will be a second appearance – during their first, at the end of June, they had delivered a performance that the elected officials of the committee had brought down in flames.

Minister St-Onge hopes that they will appear “with a slightly different attitude from the first appearance”. Because “several elements” had then been passed over in silence – the use of a fund to settle sexual assault cases out of court, for example, she said – and it is time for management to put their cards on the table. table.

“I expect them to arrive with answers to the many questions that parliamentarians have asked them, to the many questions that have also been raised in the public space,” she said in an interview. Among these questions that torment some, including the minister herself: the questioning of their leadership.

I would like management to tell us how they are the best people in place to put into action the changes that are necessary to transform this culture of silence and this toxic masculinity that reigns within Hockey Canada. This is a fundamental question.

Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sports

Mme St-Onge did not claim their departure on Monday.

“If they remain in office, they must explain why they are going to do what has not been done,” she said on this subject the day before her appearance before the same committee. The minister will be preceded by an associate from the firm that led the investigation into the alleged 2018 incident in London, Ontario.

Expected return

We bet that the deputies are ready to do battle with them again.

Because last week was particularly disastrous for Hockey Canada.

Last Monday, The Canadian Press reported that a reserve fund was used to pay for settlements in sexual assault cases.

Tuesday, the Globe and Mail wrote that a player who allegedly took part in London’s alleged gang rape had contacted the victim in an attempt to dissuade her from speaking to the police.

Friday, finally, Hockey Canada wanted to take the lead by revealing – instead of TSN, which was on the spot – that a gang rape would have been committed in Halifax in 2003.

Hockey Canada presents an action plan

This week, the organization began it by releasing an action plan “to end the culture of silence and toxic behavior in the world of hockey”.

This is based on six pillars, including the establishment of a new mechanism for reporting and handling complaints of sexual violence and harassment.

It also reiterates the intention to proceed with a governance review.

On that, Minister St-Onge allows herself a suggestion, in the form of a question.

“Should there be more women on the Hockey Canada Board of Directors? One of the problems is sexual violence against women,” she says.

Currently, two of the nine directors are women.

Canadian sport ‘in crisis’

Repeated scandals at Hockey Canada made so much headlines last week that they overshadowed another at Gymnastics Canada.

The “systemic culture of abuse” that prevails there has prompted the group Gymnasts for Change, which represents 508 athletes, to call for a freeze on federal funding.

As she had done previously for Hockey Canada, Pascale St-Onge has temporarily turned off the tap.

I think we are at a pivotal moment in the history of hockey and the history of sport. Since taking office, I have said that Canadian sport is in crisis, because I have received about eight letters from athletes who play different sports who report to me cases of abuse, mistreatment or discrimination .

Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sports

Changing the culture in sport won’t happen overnight, but in the case of Hockey Canada, “it’s not the first time we’ve heard things,” and “it’s not the first time that we hear pious wishes”, she insists.

It remains to be seen what the Hockey Canada bigwigs – Tom Renney (CEO), Dave Andrews (Chair of the Hockey Canada Foundation), as well as Brian Cairo (Chief Financial Officer) – will deliver as advocacy to MPs in Ottawa on Wednesday. .

Players demand ‘thorough’ investigation

The National Women’s Team players intend to be part of the “necessary process to bring the truth to light” regarding the alleged gang rape case that occurred in 2018 on the sidelines of an event organized by Hockey Canada. The players of the most recent Canadian women’s national teams from the Beijing Olympics and the World Championship have spoken out for the first time on the scandal that has surrounded Hockey Canada for several weeks. These, including Quebecers Marie-Philip Poulin and Ann-Renée Desbiens, shared a long statement on their social networks on Monday – in English and French – in which they address the executive and the members of the board of directors. administration of the organization. “The allegations we are reading and hearing about are extremely disturbing and completely unacceptable. […] All the facts related to this appalling situation must and will be revealed. After all, the only way to heal a hurt is to fully admit it,” they write.

Katherine Harvey-Pinard, The Press

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