Gymnasts repeat plea for help from federal government

Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Seven months after first calling on the federal government to launch an independent investigation into the toxic climate in their sport, more than 500 active and retired gymnasts have repeated their plea.

Gymnasts for Change Canada (G4C), a group that started out with only 70 members, wrote an open letter Wednesday to federal sports minister Pascale St-Onge, imploring her to get moving.

“You have the power to launch the legal investigation that the gymnasts desire, we read in this letter. Every day that passes without action from the Canadian government is another child who suffers the most heinous form of emotional, physical and sexual abuse. Every day that nothing is done is another day when the brave survivors of the sport must find even more strength to fight against a system that has failed to protect them and puts a future generation. »

Gymnastics Canada announced last week that it plans to join Sports Without Abuse and is working with the Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner (BCIS), which was created to serve as a one-stop, independent window to handle these types of complaints.

Minister St-Onge froze Gymnastics Canada’s funds in July, saying the federation needed to speed up its BCIS membership process.

Gymnastics Canada also hired McLaren Global Sports Solution (MGSS) in June to analyze its safe sport policy and procedures, but G4C claims neither BCIS nor McLaren are truly independent.

Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan, former sports minister, demands a public inquiry that will shed light on abuse cases in all sports, much like the Dubin Commission, which shed light on doping in Canadian sport in 1989.

Former Gymnastics Canada board member Kim Shore says there are precedents, particularly in Australia and the UK, for independent public inquiries.

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