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Hockey Canada: Canadian Tire cuts ties as group ‘continues to resist’ change – Global News

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Hockey Canada is losing more major sponsorships — at least one apparently permanently — ahead of the 2022-23 season due to continued concerns from companies about the federation’s handling of sexual assault allegations.

The flight of sponsors comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday warned that Hockey Canada’s refusal to take the matter seriously could spur efforts to “get rid” of the organization.

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Canadian Tire confirmed in a Thursday statement to Global News that it had made the decision to “end its partnership with Hockey Canada.”

“In our view, Hockey Canada continues to resist meaningful change and we can no longer confidently move forward together,” a statement from the company read.

“CTC is proud of our commitment to sport and will continue to invest in our beloved national game by re-directing support to hockey-related organizations that better align with our values.”

In the last 24 hours, Telus, Tim Hortons and Scotiabank have also all confirmed they will not support men’s hockey programs in the upcoming season.

“We are deeply disheartened by the lack of action and commitment from Hockey Canada to drive necessary cultural change,” a spokesperson for Telus wrote in the latest statement.

“TELUS will not be sponsoring Hockey Canada’s men’s hockey programs for the 2022-23 season, including the upcoming World Juniors tournament. We remain passionate fans and supporters of the sport of hockey and stand committed to enabling systemic change to make hockey safe for all.”

Read more:

Tim Hortons, Scotiabank cut Hockey Canada sponsorships for 2022-23 men’s programs

As the backlash continues to grow, Prime Minister Trudeau slammed Hockey Canada leadership as he walked into a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

“Hockey Canada has completely lost the confidence of Canadians,” he said.

“The longer it takes (Hockey Canada) to realize that, the more difficult it’s going to be, not just for them, which is fine, but for kids in hockey, for juniors, for people who rely on that organization to play the sport they love and to have winter activities this winter.”

Trudeau added that it is “inconceivable” that Hockey Canada leadership continues to “dig in.”

“It’s not like there’s something extraordinarily special about the people at Hockey Canada that means they are the only people in the country that can run an organization like this. There’s lots of people who could run it,” he said.

“There needs to be wholesale change … They need to realize that if we have to create an organization, get rid of Hockey Canada and create an organization called Canada Hockey instead, people will look at doing that. There is a lack of understanding that they’ve lost the confidence of Canadians, and the sooner they get to that, the better it’ll be for everyone.”


Click to play video: 'MPs grill Hockey Canada execs over handling of sex abuse claims'



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MPs grill Hockey Canada execs over handling of sex abuse claims


MPs grill Hockey Canada execs over handling of sex abuse claims

Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge echoed Trudeau’s call for widespread change at Hockey Canada as she left a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

“I think that (Hockey Canada) needs new leaders, new directors and new experts to renew this organization,” she said.

“It needs to be rebuilt.”

As sponsors continue to drop their support for Hockey Canada, the hockey-playing families can find themselves caught in the middle, according to Theresa Bailey, the founder of the Canadian Hockey Moms website.

“It makes me sad because Hockey Canada is not just the management and board of directors, it’s everyone who plays within that bubble,” she said.

“So all of us are feeling uncomfortable about something that we’re associated with, but that we didn’t make decisions related to and don’t support.”

But Bailey said she understands why sponsors are choosing to pull away from Hockey Canada.

“They have a social responsibility, and I think that they are paying attention to the outrage of families and fans,” she explained.

“They have a responsibility to act.”

The decision from multiple sponsors to pull their support comes after members of Parliament repeatedly pressed Hockey Canada officials for answers during a heated meeting on Tuesday about the organization’s handling of sexual assault.

Read more:

Hockey Canada failing to grasp ‘serious’ situation amid outcry: Trudeau

The development also follows a Globe and Mail report, published on Monday, that revealed Hockey Canada put player registration fees towards a second fund “for matters including but not limited to sexual abuse,” according to documents obtained by the newspaper.

News of the first fund, Hockey Canada’s National Equity Fund, first broke over the summer. The use of the fund to cover sexual assault and abuse settlements sparked an outcry from parents, politicians and sponsors across the country.

During a committee meeting in July, executives told MPs that the fund — which was fuelled in part by children’s registration fees — had paid out $7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual assault and sexual abuse claims since 1989.

CFO Brian Cairo told MPs during a July committee meeting that $6.8 million of that total was related to Graham James, a former Canadian junior ice hockey coach who pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault in 1997. Uninsured settled claims made up another $1.3 million of the payouts, $1 million of which resulted from four incidents from a single perpetrator.

Hockey Canada said in July it would no longer use this fund for sexual abuse claims.

— With files from Global News’ Mike Armstrong

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Canada’s government will review RCMP equipment contract with ties to China: Trudeau

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The federal government is reviewing an RCMP equipment contract with a company that has ties to China’s government, the prime minister said Wednesday.

Radio-Canada reported that the federal Procurement Department awarded a $549,637 contract to Ontario-based Sinclair Technologies last year to build and maintain a radio frequency filtering system for the Mounties.

Sinclair Technologies’ parent company, Norsat International, has been owned by Chinese telecommunications firm Hytera since 2017. The Chinese government owns about 10 per cent of Hytera through an investment fund.

At a press conference in Montreal Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he found it disconcerting that while some government security agencies have warned about foreign interference in Canadian institutions, other parts of the civil service would sign a contract with “questionable levels of security” for the RCMP.

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Trudeau said he has “real questions” for the public servants who signed the contract and his government plans to review the process to make sure federal contracts are not leaving Canada exposed to security threats.

A Public Services and Procurement Canada spokesperson said the department did not take security concerns and Sinclair’s ownership into consideration during the bidding process, Radio-Canada reported.

In a written statement, Martine Cardozo, sales director for Sinclair Technologies, said the company is independently registered and operating in Canada and its products are trusted by public safety experts globally.

Cardozo declined to comment further, citing client confidentiality.

The United States Federal Communications Commission banned the use of Hytera technology for the purpose of public safety, government security and surveillance of critical infrastructure in 2021 when it was deemed a risk to national security.

In February, Hytera was indicted on 21 counts in an espionage case after officials alleged that the company stole trade secrets from U.S.-based competitor Motorola Solutions. Hytera has denied the allegations.

“It is astonishing to me that Justin Trudeau’s contracting system would have allowed a company whose parent owner in the United States is charged with 21 different espionage offences, to install technology on our police force’s system in order to block espionage,” Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said in a rare exchange with the press outside the House of Commons Wednesday.

The contract must be cancelled, said Poilievre, who insisted the prime minister take responsibility.

“I mean, it’s almost something that you’d expect to be out of a spy novel, but characters in spy novels would never be that incompetent,” he said.

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino said he has instructed his staff to look closely at the contract and the process by which it was awarded.

“We’re eyes wide open about the threats that are posed by hostile state and non-state actors,” Mendicino said after a Liberal caucus meeting Wednesday.

“One of the reasons why we put in place a process that looks at the potential opportunities, or vectors, for foreign interference in the context of contracts is to secure Canadian national interest, to secure our national security.”

Radio-Canada reported that the RCMP expressed confidence in the security of the system and said any contractors involved needed to obtain a security clearance.

Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said government needs to apply a level of scrutiny when it comes to “geopolitical challenges with respect to China.”

“We need to remain more vigilant to prevent things like that, understand the why and how something can happen,” he said outside of the Liberal caucus meeting.

Conservative deputy whip Chris Warkentin called the contract “incomprehensible” and called for an immediate review.

“Just last week they came out with significant announcements that said that they were going to get serious about Canadian security. This violates every reasonable thought that any person would have when it comes to national security,” he said.

Sinclair Technologies, the RCMP and the Procurement Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Canadian Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

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B.C. finance minister replaced in Premier David Eby’s new-look cabinet

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B.C. Premier David Eby to reveal new cabinet with health, safety, housing priorities

British Columbia Premier David Eby has unveiled a new-look cabinet that includes eight first-time ministers and removes Selina Robinson from the finance ministry.

Former forests minister Katrine Conroy takes over the finance portfolio, while Robinson moves to post-secondary education and future skills.

Robinson announced just last month that the NDP government had a surplus windfall of $5.7 billion dollars, allowing Eby to spend on his priorities of housing, health care and public safety.

The highest-profile appointment among the crop of newcomers goes to Niki Sharma, who takes over from Eby as attorney general.

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Sharma, who was previously Parliamentary secretary for community development and non-profits, had tears in her eyes Wednesday as she received a standing ovation at the Government House ceremony, where the ministers were sworn in by Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin.

“Our cabinet represents the diversity of our province,” said Eby, who took over as premier from John Horgan on Nov. 18. “Together they are a strong team. They are going to take on the big challenges facing our province.”

Eby described Conroy as “rural tough,” and says he chose her for finance because he has worked with her for a decade.

“British Columbians want her on their side,” Eby said of Conroy, who represents Kootenay West in B.C.’s southeast.

He cited her as having a background in agriculture, adding “she’s a hunter and she is tough.”

Eby would not categorize Robinson as having been demoted and said she will have an important role in ensuring institutions prepare students for challenging economic times.

He also said Robinson would use her experience in the business and non-profit sectors to bring success to her new ministry.

Eby said he couldn’t be more excited about getting down to work, and sought to quell suggestions of an early election, ahead of the scheduled vote in October 2024.

“I don’t know how many times I can say it, I am committed to a fixed election date for B.C.,” he said.

Ravi Kahlon, who was co-chair of Eby’s leadership campaign, will take on the new Housing Ministry.

Bowinn Ma will be the minister of emergency management and climate readiness, while Rachna Singh, a former Parliamentary secretary, is elevated to cabinet as the education minister.

The other newcomers include Pam Alexis in agriculture, minister of state for child care Grace Lore, Jobs Minister Brenda Bailey, minister of state for trade Jagrup Brar, minister of state for workforce development Andrew Mercier, and minister of state for infrastructure and transit Dan Coulter.

Eby said his ministers were a strong team ready to take on big challenges.

“They’re accepting this responsibility at a time when we’re facing significant head winds. Global inflation is driving up costs of essentials for families, like groceries. Global economic uncertainty is raising anxiety, health care systems across Canada are under strain, and B.C. is no exception.”

Those keeping their jobs include Adrian Dix in health, George Heyman with environment, Mitzi Dean as the minister of children and family development, Rob Fleming in transport and Harry Bains in Labour.

Deputy premier Mike Farnworth also remains the solicitor general and minister in charge of public safety.

Exiting cabinet are George Chow who held the trade portfolio, Nicholas Simons from social development, and Katrina Chen from child care.

Chen released a statement on Tuesday saying she had asked not to be considered for cabinet as she concentrated on recovering from long-term trauma suffered because of gender-based violence, including as a child.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

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Quebec’s auditor finds Education Department ill-prepared for pivot to online learning

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Quebec‘s auditor general says the province’s Education Department was ill-prepared when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to shutter in March 2020 and it still does not have a complete picture of the learning delays that resulted.

Guylaine Leclerc expresses concern in her audit of the Education Department that the lack of data won’t permit for effective remedial measures, meaning some students could drop out and be deprived of a diploma.

Her report says it’s not irreversible, but it’s important to know where students are struggling to be able to put appropriate measures in place.

The report also finds the province was slow to provide school boards, known as service centres in Quebec, with guidance on the minimum educational services to be offered in the spring of 2020, which led to widely different offerings depending on the school district.

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Many service centres also did not have the necessary computers to pivot to online education, and for some that situation persisted 18 months into the pandemic.

Leclerc was also critical of the department’s purchase of $42 million in video-conferencing equipment that remains largely unused.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.

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