Canada's NDP

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January 27th, 2023

Liberal government has failed to keep athletes safe

In response to comments from former Minister of Sport, Kirsty Duncan, on the Trudeau government’s failure to tackle abuse in sport, NDP Sport Critic Blake Desjarlais and NDP Critic for Women and Gender Equality Leah Gazan, issued the following statement:

“Discrimination and harassment have no place in Canada’s national sports. Canadians count on their government to do everything in their power to keep sports safe for our athletes of all ages — but the reality is that the Liberal government has failed to stamp out harassment, abuse and discrimination in sports.

Under Liberal and Conservative governments, sports organizations like Hockey Canada lacked accountability. Before their handling of sexual assault allegations exploded last year, former Sports Minister Kirsty Duncan said that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals knew about the problems within Hockey Canada. But no meaningful action was taken to prevent allegations of abuse and harassment from being brought forward.

This is shameful. This is a government that says one thing and does another when it comes to respect for girls and women — in sport and in their cabinet.

Athletes, children and young people deserve a government that puts their safety and well-being first. When warnings of misconduct are brought to the attention of the highest office, Canadians expect their Prime Minister to stop it — not push back or find excuses.

New Democrats will not stand for the Liberals’ inaction in the face of abuse, harassment and discrimination in sport. Canadians expect better and deserve better. We will continue to hold the government to account — which includes the study on Women and Girls in Sports at the Committee on the Status of Women. New Democrats will fight to ensure concrete measures are in place to stop the permissive culture that has been allowed to fester in sports organizations.”