Hockey Canada needs ‘thorough’ government audit of post-2016 finances, MP says – National

NDP MP Peter Julian is calling on the federal government to conduct a « thorough audit » of Hockey Canada’s finances since 2016.

The request, made in a letter to Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge on Tuesday, refers to thousands of dollars in spending attributed to the sport’s national governing body, including high-end dining, luxurious hotel suites and championship rings for board members.

A member of the House of Commons Heritage Committee, which has been scrutinizing the federation since an explosive sexual assault allegation and silent payment emerged in the spring, Julian wrote that he had also raised the matter with the CEO of Hockey Canada, Scott Smith, in another letter. .

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Julian told The Canadian Press last month that he had received tips about benefits – including meals over $5,000 – and fancy accommodations from an unnamed former board member.

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In a statement provided to CP at the time, Hockey Canada said board expenses are “regularly reviewed to ensure they are appropriate.”

St-Onge oversees Sport Canada and Hockey Canada and, according to Julian, “it is your responsibility to ensure that Hockey Canada uses government funds and hockey parent registration fees in a responsible and transparent manner.

The British Columbia parliamentarian added in his letter that the latest revelations « show that Hockey Canada has not been transparent and accountable to the public and particularly to hockey parents. »

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Hockey Canada has been under intense scrutiny since TSN first reported an undisclosed settlement paid to a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of the 2018 World Junior Team, during a gala in London, Ontario.

The plaintiff claimed $3.55 million in damages. None of the allegations have been tested in court.

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St-Onge ordered a forensic audit of Hockey Canada to ensure that no public funds were used in connection with the settlement.

Hockey Canada officials told the heritage committee in July that they used the organization’s National Equity Fund, which dips into minor hockey membership fees, to pay $7.6 million in uninsured claims in nine settlements related to sexual assault or abuse since 1989.

This figure did not include the alleged London incident.

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Hockey Canada also revealed that there is an investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving members of the country’s 2003 National Junior Team.

The federation’s current board said last month it stood by Smith, who is also chairman, and his leadership team despite loud calls for change at the top.

This prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to declare that the leadership of Hockey Canada has lost the trust of the federal government and the country in general.

The federation’s response to the scandal included the publication of an action plan and a third-party review of its governance, but the only leadership change to date has been the resignation of board chairman Michael Brind’Amour, whose term was due to end in November. .

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He resigned on August 6 and was replaced by interim Andrea Skinner three days later. Skinner then released the August 29 statement supporting Smith.

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Conservative MP Karen Vecchio, chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, told The Canadian Press last week that she believes everything Hockey Canada is doing right now has to do with optics.

« It’s actually dishonest, » she said. « I believe that. »

« Nobody gives up, it’s great, » Vecchio added sarcastically. “You have done such a good job so far.

« It’s like going back to the same restaurant that keeps giving you bad food. »

– With files by Lori Ewing

© 2022 The Canadian Press


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