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Joint Statement from Global Athlete and Gymnasts for Change Canada

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29 July 2022: Global Athlete and Gymnasts for Change Canada commend the bipartisan work of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for their diligent action and impassioned inquiry over the past few days. Their visceral reaction to the atrocities and dereliction of duty by Hockey Canada and Sport Canada transcended party lines to place the victims of abuse first.

We commend the honorable Committee members for exposing the truth. The series of questioning over the past two days made it abundantly clear that we are only beginning to uncover the magnitude of abuse and systemic failings in Canadian sport.

“Having had the opportunity to engage with members of the Heritage Committee and the Minister of Sport, we are encouraged by their openness to further consider our calls for a third-party judicial investigation into the toxic culture and abuse in gymnastics and by extension all Canadian sport,” said Gymnasts for Change Canada spokesperson Kim Shore.

Canadian athletes of all ages have suffered long enough. Survivors of abuse need to be heard and respected as the necessary agents of change. Whistleblowers must be protected to ensure the truth is exposed. Enablers who covered up abuse or failed to act to protect victims must be brought to the forefront and held to account to ensure history never repeats itself.

“It is time to rethink sport in Canada. It is time to correct the power imbalance between sporting organizations and athletes that has fostered years of abuse.  The only way to commence the reconciliation process and to develop a Canadian sport system that is safe and fit for purpose is to engage the brave athletes that have come forward. Victims of abuse need to be a part of the solution,” said Global Athlete Director General Rob Koehler.

On behalf of over 500 gymnasts, we implore the Prime Minister of Canada, the Minister of Sport and Members of Parliament to extend their bipartisan cooperation to yield our call for an independent judicial investigation to end the endemic child abuse in Canadian gymnastics. Sporting organizations in Canada can no longer operate with autonomy. Oversight, accountability and transparency must guide the future of Canadian sport.

The original press release can be found here : https://globalathlete.org/our-word/joint-statement-from-global-athlete-and-gymnasts-for-change-canada

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