Thursday, September 29, 2022

Hockey culture suffers from a 'systematic problem' of sexual violence, says minister. CBC News

Warning: This story contains graphic details that some readers may find disturbing.

Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Onge says Canada’s hockey culture has a “systemic problem” of sexual violence and toxic masculinity, which Hockey Canada has failed to change.

his comment was a reaction A Fifth Estate Inquiry It identified at least 15 group sexual assault cases involving junior hockey players investigated by police since 1989 – half of which surfaced in the past decade.

At least 50 players have been made accused in the alleged offences. Half was charged and only one was convicted after pleading for a lesser offence, fifth estate found it.

“We are talking about a systemic issue,” Saint-Onge told CBC News on Thursday.

“We’ve heard these stories before. This isn’t the first time we’ve talked about a toxic culture in hockey. But nothing has been done, or not done enough, in the last ten years. It’s a terrible legacy. Is.”

Saint-Onge on Thursday denounced Hockey Canada, arguing that the organization does not have the luxury of years to change its culture. She said this toxic culture in sport has been “normalized for a very long time.”

“A lot of players have become men who have never taken responsibility for their actions and what happened,” she said. “But it’s also about people in management and leadership roles who have failed all those years.

“So far, I don’t think what has been done is certainly enough.”

Hockey Canada faces calls for a change in its leadership; One of those calls came from Saint-Onge. The hockey organization has been under intense public scrutiny since May after a woman filed a complaint $3.5 million lawsuit Eight hockey players – some of them members of the 2018 world junior hockey team – sexually assaulted them.

Hockey parents were outraged to learn that Hockey Canada had used a fund in part of their registration fee to pay for settlement in that case and others.

Saint-Onge suspended Hockey Canada’s funding in June — the strongest sanction at its disposal, she said. A series of major sponsors followed suit and pulled their financial support for the hockey organization.

Hockey Canada must meet a number of conditions before federal funding can resume. But Saint-Onge did not close the door on further terms after the completion of a series of financial audits and ongoing investigations.

“I am giving myself all the flexibility to decide when federal funding will be resumed,” she said.

Hockey Canada is facing a “real sustainability problem”, Saint-Onge said, as parents wonder whether they should sign their children up for hockey and provincial associations are trying to recover their dues. threatened.

“It cannot take two, three, four, five years to change the culture,” she said. “Hockey culture needs a 180 degree change and it needs to happen now.”

Hockey Canada says it is taking action

In a statement, Hockey Canada said that “while culture change cannot happen overnight,” it is “taking immediate action to eliminate unfair action in and around our sport.”

The hockey organization said it had made progress on its plan to address the “toxic” culture by introducing a third-party complaint mechanism, introducing mandatory training for national teams, and working on updating its policies.

“We are committed to making the changes necessary to improve the culture of Canadian sport, including taking a leadership role in prioritizing safe play in Canada,” Hockey Canada said in a statement to CBC News on Thursday.

The hockey organization is encouraging anyone who feels they have been the victim of abuse, sexual violence or any other form of abuse to come forward and report it.

Hockey Canada said it was “important to note” that it appointed a former Supreme Court justice to review the third-party ruling.

Hockey Canada President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Smith told a Commons Committee on July 27 that the goal of his organization is to “eliminate persons who are victimized in hockey and to eliminate any inappropriate activity in the sport.” (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

House of Commons committee to resume next month

The only member of Hockey Canada’s leadership to have publicly resigned during the controversy, Michael Brind’Armor, is due to testify on a House of Commons committee on October 4.

Brind’Amore is the former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hockey Canada. He stepped down in early August, saying “there is no need to wait for a new era.”

The Commons Committee has expanded its review of how Hockey Canada handles cases of allegations of sexual harassment to include other sports.

Andrea Skinner, the new interim chair of the Hockey Canada Board, is also being called to testify next month. She was first elected to the board in November 2020, serving as a member of the Risk Management Committee and chair of the Human Resources Committee.

The committee has asked Hockey Canada’s board of directors to submit any notes taken during in-camera sessions during discussions on the 2018 group sexual assault case and settlement.

You can watch the Fifth Estate documentary Anatomy of a Scandal Thursday at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. in Newfoundland) on CBC-TV or stream it CBC Gems,

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