Ottawa, ON – John Nater, Conservative Shadow Minister for Canadian Heritage, Richard Martel, Conservative Shadow Minister for Sport, and Karen Vecchio, Conservative Shadow Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, issued the following statement on the two emergency committee hearings concerning Hockey Canada’s handling of sexual assault allegations: 

“The hearings at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage into Hockey Canada’s involvement in allegations of sexual assault have heard the testimony of a secretive and unaccountable organization where allegations of sexual assault have been covered up. It is clear that Hockey Canada sweeps cases under the rug and moves on. Senior management within the organization has not shown Canadians that they are capable of taking the necessary actions to hold perpetrators accountable and prevent acts of sexual violence from occurring in the future.

“This has to change.

“Yesterday, we learned that government officials have known about the 2018 sexual assault allegations for four years. It is unacceptable that the Minister neither asked to be made aware of this kind of information nor did officials take it upon themselves to inform the Minister.

“While the decision for the government to suspend funding to Hockey Canada is a necessary step, Minister St-Onge needs to do much more to reform the culture within her own department and the sports world.

“How can Canadians trust the leadership of Hockey Canada to enact meaningful change when they sat on these serious accusations for all these years? Moreover, how can Canadians trust the Minister of Sport, when she has been kept in the dark by her own department?

“The fact of the matter is, the government has failed Canadians by not following up on the allegations and continuing funding to Hockey Canada when they knew the seriousness of the allegations.

“Funding cannot be resumed until Hockey Canada’s officials are held accountable. That means there must be a change in leadership. Furthermore, by sitting on this information and taking no action, a significant change is needed in Sport Canada. The Liberal government must take responsibility and ensure the sports world is safe for all participants.

“Conservatives will continue fighting for transparency and accountability from Hockey Canada, Sport Canada, and the Liberal government, to make sure that the toxic culture is eliminated, and protecting victims takes precedence over protecting hockey players and government officials.”