Heritage committee postpones vote on Hockey Canada inquiry
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The Canadian Heritage Committee adjourned on Wednesday without reaching a consensus to open an investigation into the 2018 sexual assault allegations linked to Hockey Canada.
The committee will then meet on Monday, which is the earliest possible time for a vote to move forward with an investigation to take place.
The question was whether the committee would work simultaneously on Bill C-11, to amend the Broadcasting Act, and on the Hockey Canada study. All parties spoke passionately about the importance of investigating Hockey Canada and looking into what the organization knew about the incident and whether taxpayer dollars were used to settle the ensuing lawsuit.
“If we’re the leaders of this country, what are we saying to the victims if we’re not prioritizing that? And I think there’s an opportunity for all parties to work together, because I think everyone world wants to fix this,” Michelle Ferreri, Conservative MP for Peterborough-Kawartha and associate member of the committee, said during Wednesday’s deliberations.
Ferreri is also a member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women and urged the Heritage Committee to prioritize Hockey Canada’s investigation. She later added that “without accountability there is no change”.
Representatives from three of the four parties on the committee have come out in favor of addressing both Bill C-11 and Hockey Canada, devoting separate sessions to the two issues with the goal of addressing them before the House recess. summer. Conservative representatives, however, reluctant to pass C-11 and facing charges of filibuster, expressed concerns that prevented a vote from taking place before the meeting concluded.
For an investigation to move forward, all parties must agree on how and when to proceed.
In a lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court in London, Ont., on April 20, a woman alleged she was sexually assaulted in June 2018 by eight Canadian Hockey League players, including some team members. Canada of the 2017-2018 World Junior Championships. The alleged incident took place in a hotel room in London after a Hockey Canada Foundation event at which the World Junior Team was honoured. The woman, who wishes not to reveal her identity, did not name the players involved – they are referred to as John Does 1-8 in the official statement.
The allegations, which have not been heard in court, first came to light publicly last month when TSN reported the settlement involving Hockey Canada, the CHL and the eight players. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.
Hockey Canada released a statement after the settlement was announced, saying it contacted local law enforcement after learning of the alleged assaults in 2018 and retained the services of Henein Hutchison LLP to “undertake a thorough and independent internal investigation.” make recommendations on areas for improvement that we have implemented. and will continue to prosecute.” The organization also said the woman behind the allegations chose not to speak to police or Hockey Canada’s independent investigator. Details of the internal investigation have not been released. not been made public.
Last week, Canada’s sport minister, Pascale St-Onge, said she was ordering a forensic audit to determine if public funds had been used in Hockey Canada’s settlement of a lawsuit brought by a person alleging sexual assault by some of the organization’s players.
“The purpose of the financial audit is to ensure that Hockey Canada has complied with its funding agreement with Sports Canada and to ensure that no public funds have been used to settle this agreement,” St-Onge said in French. .