According to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Hockey Canada do not seem to understand the severity of the situation they’re faced with.
His comments follow a Tuesday committee meeting that saw Hockey Canada officials questioned by MPs on the organization’s handling of sexual assault. During which interim board chair, Andrea Skinner told the committee that hockey was being made a “scapegoat” for the toxic culture that exists across society, including in politics.
“It boggles the mind that Hockey Canada is continuing to dig in its heels. Parents across the country are losing faith, or have lost faith in Hockey Canada,” PM Trudeau said.
“Certainly, politicians here in Ottawa have lost faith in Hockey Canada. It’s no surprise that provincial organizations are questioning whether or not they want to continue supporting an organization that doesn’t understand how serious the situation it has contributed to causing,” he added.
Both Trudeau and Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge have called for Hockey Canada executives to step down, following a revelation that the organization has paid out $7.6 million to settle sexual assault and abuse claims since 1989.
Hockey Canada is also facing accusations that it covered up criminal behaviour and used player fees from recreational programs to create trust funds to cover claims from sexual abuse lawsuits.
“I really hope they understand, because hockey is a really important sport to a lot of Canadians and a lot of kids, and right now this mess is doing no favours to kids across the country,” PM Trudeau said.
Hockey Quebec, the provincial federation for the sport, has moved to cut ties with its federal counterpart. In a resolution adopted Tuesday night, Hockey Quebec said it “doesn’t have confidence” in Hockey Canada’s ability to change hockey’s culture under the structure it currently has in place.