June 9th, 2023 - 6:12pm
OTTAWA, ON – Windsor West MP Brian Masse rose in the House of Commons today to make a member’s statement in continued support of Dr. Victoria Paraschak’s advocacy and online petition calling for the Government of Canada to call an independent, judicial review of abuse in Canadian sport.
Masse made the following statement, “Mr. Speaker, once again I am standing up for Canadian athletes who are demanding an independent national public inquiry into abuse in sports in Canada. To date, over 1,000 athletes in 14 sports and 27 organizations have called on the government for a national inquiry. The Liberal response has fuelled outrage by survivors and sports advocates who feel ignored in their request to drop the piecemeal improvements and implement a national strategy. Band-aids will not heal these athletes and abuse in sports is not new. Athletes are the heart of the sport system and deserve better protection and meaningful changes. Sports needs to change. Consider how poorly the Toronto Blue Jays have dealt with their own locker-room hate. The Liberals and the Blue Jays need to get off their “Bass” and do the right thing.
It is time for the Minister to move forward and provide a time frame for the national inquiry into abuse in sports. Canada’s abused athletes and concerned citizens are calling for this national inquiry, not for small, piecemeal improvements to the existing system. Masse stands behind his constituents and these advocates for real change to Canadian sports – to uproot the system that has allowed for rampant abuses to occur.
These ‘recent’ revelations of abuse in the Canadian sport system as claimed by the Minister of Sport are not in fact recent, but instead span three decades, with abuses against our athletes having been reported even in 1993. Athlete well being must be at the heart of the Canadian sport system; not the protection of existing authority structures in sports. And yet the efforts taken by the Minister have not addressed these problematic and underlying systemic issues.
An independent judicial inquiry is needed to address this crisis – not a departmental investigation – as laid out in the Inquiries Act. Several ongoing Federal, Provincial, and Territorial structures overseeing sport governance already exist, which justifies the viability of a national inquiry from the grassroots to elite levels of sports. A mere Departmental investigation will not be viewed as independent or trustworthy by concerned members of the public and abuse victims and will only be another injustice borne by the victims. It’s time for the Government to act to protect Canada’s youth and athletes.
On March 31st, Masse delivered petition e-4302, presented by Dr. Victoria Paraschak of Windsor on the issue of abuse in sports. Masse will continue to, alongside his NDP colleagues, put pressure on the Canadian to bring judicial review to abuse in Canadian sports for everyone.