Editorials - Oct. 14, 2022
Money talks, board walks
Losing federal funding from Sport Canada wasn’t enough for the Board of Directors of Hockey Canada to stand up and take responsibility for a system rife with cover-ups and payouts. In June, 2022, the public began hearing about a settlement for a victim of a gang rape by members of the Canada’s junior men’s team in 2018. As further information came out, not only had this money been paid out of a fund established with player registration fees, but the organization had been using this fund since at least 1989 to pay settlements to victims in 21 sexual assault cases that were typically kept out of the media.
As if all of this coming out now weren’t bad enough, it took a long list of corporate sponsors to withdraw their support before the organization took steps to change direction this week. First, interim chair Andrea Skinner stepped down as the first sponsorships were cancelled. Once the rest of the board realized that the flight of money was not ending with her sacrifice, the CEO and the entire board of directors capitulated to public demand and submitted their resignations.
Since it took a public explosion of disgust and an almost complete withdrawal of funding sources for any self examination to begin, it will remain to be seen whether the organization can change what has been an organizational philosophy of protecting bad players at the expense of the rest of the players. – DS
In case of emergency...
It’s hard to imagine an outcome of the Public Order Emergency Commission that will benefit Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. His controversial decision to invoke the Emergencies Act earlier this year after weeks-long protests occupied Ottawa and closed border crossings in both Alberta and Windsor came under fire immediately. Not only was it the first time the act had been used since it became law in 1988, but many who sympathized with the Freedom Convoy movement felt the federal government was undercutting the right to protest.
Trudeau himself will be called to testify, as will other high-level elected officials, and while Canadians deserve the truth about this extreme measure, the commission’s outcome is unlikely to change many minds. If Trudeau is found to have gone too far, his detractors will surely see it as catching him red-handed. If the opposite is found, his detractors will scream that the fix is in and continue believing what they believe. Trudeau is in a no-win situation with this proceeding.
The occupation of Ottawa earlier this year captured international attention. People who agreed with the protestors saw it as a glorious coming together of like-minded individuals in the face of tyranny. Copycat protests were even held around the world, celebrating Canadians as being the first through the door. Meanwhile the majority of Canadians (according to poll after poll) saw it as a sad chapter in the country’s history and wanted it over. However, Trudeau’s use of the act was more divisive, with an Angus Reid poll suggesting that just under half of those surveyed (46 per cent) agreed with the use of the act.
Regardless of the commission’s findings, Trudeau is unlikely to see his popularity rise at its conclusion. Canadians deserve to know the truth about what happened in Ottawa and it might be ugly. – SL
What being a councillor means
With the board set for local elections (check last week’s issue of The Citizen for a rundown of who is running where), there are some interesting match-ups with a lot of new blood interested in joining Huron County’ municipal councils.
Fresh eyes are important to keeping the political process working well. While having some members return to council (preferably through being re-elected instead of acclaimed) can provide a steady hand, having new people on board can lead councils in new and exciting directions.
However, those new council members need to be sure they’re ready to listen and learn before they start implementing changes, and that’s even more important for those who ran for council because of a personal issue or grudge. While many people may think that running for council is a way to make a change they’re interested in, they may soon find out that, at best, they are one voice of many or, at worst, that change just isn’t allowed for one reason or another.
New councillors need to keep their eyes and ears open for their first meetings to get a feel for not only how things run, but also for what is really within their power to change.
That sentiment is especially important for people who are running for Mayor or Reeve without having any prior council experience. It can be very difficult to captain a ship when you’ve never been on board before.
Our new council members need to take the time to familiarize themselves with what powers they have, what powers they don’t and the fact that they are one voice on their council, and that’s nowhere near enough to make sweeping changes they may be promising in their campaigns. – JDS