Sports Minister Bans Funding for Canadian Gymnastics

On Thursday, Ms St-Onge said she told Gymnastics Canada CEO Ian Moss last week that the union needed to speed up the membership process or funding would be frozen by then.

This is an important measure, said Rob Koehler, general manager of Global Athlete, but the Canadian government still needs to investigate decades of abuses committed in the country. The funding freeze is the headline that catches the eye. But the victims have remained silent, and the aggressors maintain their impunity.

The announcement follows a letter from more than 500 Canadian gymnasts asking the minister to suspend funding for their organization.

In the letter published Thursday, four months after Sharing devastating stories Over the years of abuse, the group Gymnasts for a changewhich represents 508 athletes, renews its calls for strict action.

This includes a third-party investigation and the suspension of funding, as happened with Hockey Canada.

The group says their initial request, submitted several months ago, was ignored by Gymnastics Canada, Sport Canada and Now from your office, at the expense of children gymnasts across the country.

The letter comes a week after a coach in Lethbridge, Alta, was accused of sexually assaulting a seven-year-old girl.

For the past four months, we have publicly barred our souls, publishing stories of the devastating treatment we have suffered at the hands of our sport.refers to the character.

We have called for an independent third party investigation to address the culture of systemic abuse in Canadian gymnastics.

The minister must now show leadership and order an independent investigation. »

Quote from Rob Koehler, General Manager of Global Athletes

Canadian Gymnastics recently announced that it has been commissioned McLaren Global Sport Solutions to initiate a culture review National Sports Authority. But gymnasts rejected this study because it is Purchased and paid for by the same organization to be investigated.

the group Gymnasts for a changewhich originally had 70 members three months ago, is calling for funding to be halted to prevent taxpayers’ money from being used in what it considers an ineffective and harmful test that would exonerate the survivors of the experiment.

St-Onge has frozen Hockey Canada’s funding after the national organization handled an alleged sexual assault and out-of-court settlement.

Thursday’s letter indicated that the Canadian Gymnastics Club and Sports Canada were aware of the potential for a large number of abuse complaints.

Mr Moss told Sport Canada CEO Vicki Walker in August 2020 – in a letter recently published by TSN – thatThere could, very soon, be a wave of historical complaints from athletes.

In April 2021, and again in December, survivors urged the Canadian Gymnastics Board of Directors to launch an independent investigation into the sport.

The gymnasts issued their first public letter on March 28, urging Sport Canada to press ahead with the investigation.

According to this timeline, both Gymnastics Canada and Sport Canada had knowledge of the suspected systematic abuse in gymnastics and had an opportunity to act for at least two years, but did nothing, allowing the abuse to continue against Canadian child athletes without intervention. We were hoping to get a better and more prompt response from you.character adds.

Emails sent to Ms Saint Ong have not been answered, according to Thursday’s letter.

The gymnasts wrote that to date, your office has taken no action to hold the Canadian Gymnastics Club or Canadian Sports to account, and all those who oversaw this abuse crisis remain in positions of power. There was no accountability, no meaningful action… We will not know for sure whether the initiation of the required investigation will prevent this latest devastating example of abuse. [à Lethbridge].

But your inaction sends a clear message to all young gymnasts that abuse in their sport does not deserve your attention; Your inaction sends a message to all aggressors and predators that the season is open for aggressors in the gym; Your inaction sends a message to all complicit in these abuses that they will not be held accountable if they turn a blind eye; Your lack of action makes you more and more complicit. »

Quote from Canadian gymnasts, in a letter to Minister Pascal Saint Ong

The gymnasts say a third-party investigation could provide information to end abuse in their sport, as well as send a message to all sports organizations that the government will hold them accountable if they are left unchecked.

Canada’s first Sports Integrity Commissioner, Sarah-Yves Pelletier, began receiving and processing complaints of abuse in sport on June 20. The office expected to receive a series of complaints once it opened, but it is unclear whether it listens to any historical complaints.

Our shared experiences of emotional, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse hold valuable facts that must be highlighted if we truly want to change things. Survivor stories must be investigated to understand how abuses have prevailed in the Canadian system for decades. To ignore the past is to risk repetition. And now, in gyms across Canada, the past is repeating itself. Violations are repeated. And the children pay the priceGymnastics books.

We need the Sports Minister to work with us to start the long-awaited investigation. We need the Sports Minister to work with us to start the long-awaited investigation. The safety of Canadian children depends on your actions and your couragewe got it.

(With information from Jean Francois Chabot)

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