Critics: Ottawa wasting time on Doan controversy
Published Thursday, May 3, 2007 10:51PM EDT
Critics have slammed Canada's government for calling Team Canada officials before a Commons committee, while the prime minister and some MPs have tried to distance themselves from the proceedings.
"Whatever has been needed to be aired has been aired, and I think common sense has prevailed," Stephen Harper told reporters in Mission, B.C. "What Canadians want is to get on with supporting Team Canada."
Tory MP Pierre Poilievre said his constituents were angry that politicians had focused on the issue.
"What the constituents in my riding are saying is they'd like to put the politicians in the penalty box, so Team Canada can put the puck in the net," he told The Canadian Press.
An online petition against the committee had more than 8,700 signatures by Thursday evening. The petition, found at www.savedoan.ca, begins in bold letters: "Tell your government to butt out!!!"
One signatory wrote: "This is one of the most foolish things our government has done in a while. They need hobbies."
Liberal candidate Martha Hall Findlay said there are far more important issues the government should be investigating.
"Frankly, MPs should be dealing with issues like the environment or what's happening in Afghanistan," she told CTV's Mike Duffy Live.
"I don't think Canadians will look at this as being the best use of the time and tax payers' money involved in what members of Parliament do."
Shane Doan, a right-winger for the Phoenix Coyotes, has said he was trying to pacify goalie Curtis Joseph after a loss to the Canadiens in 2005, when linesman Michel Cormier thought he heard Doan utter "F---ing French. Did a great job."
However, Doan maintained he said "Four French referees in Montreal, Cuje, figure it out."
Doan's sister, Leighann Reimer, maintains he would never have uttered the slur.
"He's being judged unfairly by people who don't know Shane," she said.
"I think you can find a lot more people showing their support, who would say the real Shane wouldn't say this."
The National Hockey League has cleared Doan of any "wrongdoing" in the matter and Nicholson said he should be free to represent Canada on the national team. NHL president Bob Nicholson said Doan is a Christian who "says 'fudge' a lot if he gets upset."
Rene Fasel, president of the International Ice Hockey Federation, said politicians should not have involved themselves in the decision.
"It's totally unacceptable that politicians should interfere with things like the selection of a national team's captain," he told The Canadian Press.
"As the president of the IIHF, I express strong disapproval of political interference in something that is an obvious sports issue and decision."
The 12 MPs on the Commons' official languages committee supported a Bloc motion to summon Hockey Canada officials for Thursday's hearing.
Committee chair Guy Lauzon, one of five Conservatives on the committee, charged the Bloc Quebecois were trying to exploit francophone-anglophone tensions.
But Bloc MP Luc Malo said Hockey Canada should never have appointed Doan because of the controversy, and pointed out that Doan has offered to step aside as team captain.
"Why don't you follow the logical suggestion of Mr. Doan himself and give the 'C' to someone else?" he said.
Some MPs, including legendary goalie Ken Dryden, have said Hockey Canada is accountable to Parliament because it receives funding from the federal government.
With files from The Canadian Press