Monday, October 3, 2022

The Fed called for change in Hockey Canada in the wake of new allegations against the organization. CBC Sports

Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Onge is once again calling for a change in leadership of Hockey Canada in the wake of new allegations against the troubled sports body.

The Globe and Mail reported on Monday that Hockey Canada imposed player registration fees for a second fund for cases “including but not limited to sexual abuse”, according to documents obtained by the newspaper.

The news follows revelations in July that another fund, known as the National Equity Fund, was used to settle sexual misconduct claims.

CBC Sports has not independently confirmed the reports.

“I think it shows a complete lack of transparency,” Saint-Onge told reporters on Parliament Hill on Monday.

“And secondly it shows that sexual violence in Hockey Canada has been treated as an insurance problem rather than a systemic problem that needs to be addressed at the root of the problem.”

In July it was revealed that Hockey Canada had paid $7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual assault and sexual abuse claims since 1989.

Monday’s news also suggests that those at the top of the organization need to resign, Saint-Onge said.

look | ‘Leadership change needed in Hockey Canada’, says Saint-Onge

‘Hockey Canada needs a change of leadership’, says sports minister

Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Onge says Hockey Canada “does not have years” to tackle the sport’s “systematic problem” of sexual violence and toxic masculinity.

“From now on, whatever happens to Hockey Canada, it must happen with the new leadership,” she said. “I don’t see how they can rebuild the trust of people who didn’t do enough work in the past decades.”

TSN reported in May that Hockey Canada had paid an undisclosed settlement to a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of Canada’s 2018 World Junior team.

The complainant was seeking $3.55 million in damages. None of the charges have been tested in court.

Saint-Onge ordered a forensic audit of Hockey Canada to ensure that no public funds were used as part of the settlement.

‘Hockey Canada has lost enormous credibility’

An alleged sexual assault involving members of the country’s 2003 world junior team is also under investigation.

Saint-Onge and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are among those who have called on Hockey Canada officials to step down.

Board chairman Michael Brind’Amour is the only executive to resign so far. He stepped down on 6 August, months before his term ended at the end of November. He was replaced by Andrea Skinner on an interim basis.

Both Brind’Amour and Skinner are set to appear before a federal government committee on Tuesday about how the sporting body has handled allegations of sexual assault.

NDP Member of Parliament Peter Julian speaks during a March 2022 press conference in Ottawa. Julian believes there is more the federal government can do to bring about change in hockey’s national governing body. They said they have resumed their demand that Saint-Onge order an audit of Hockey Canada and their finances. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

NDP MP Peter Julian, a member of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, said hockey parents and the entire Canadian public will seek officials to be transparent when they speak.

“Hockey Canada has lost enormous credibility over the course of the summer and it remains to be seen whether tomorrow their board chair will indeed answer questions fully, completely and transparently,” he said.

“But I think the only option available to Hockey Canada is to be open and transparent with the Canadians. And they have failed miserably over the past few months.”

Julian believes there is more the federal government can do to bring about change in hockey’s national governing body. They said they have resumed their demand that Saint-Onge order an audit of Hockey Canada and their finances.

“We’ve been saying for some time that the federal government needs to share its responsibilities with national sporting organizations,” he said. “They have a very vulnerable outlook and that times have changed.”

Saint-Onge said on Monday that the federal government was using several tools to drive change in the sporting body and would continue to look at different approaches.

“Hockey Canada belongs first and foremost to its members,” she said. “It is also the parents who send the registration fee that have the power to change the organization from within, it is also Hockey Canada members who need to ask for this change.”

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