The QMJHL will have to explain itself to the National Assembly

The QMJHL will have to explain itself to the National Assembly

The QMJHL will have to explain itself; the National Assembly

Jacques Boissinot Archives The Canadian Press Isabelle Charest has subtly invited her colleagues from the Committee on Culture and Education to summon the commissioner of the QMJHL, Gilles Courteau , to explain.

The Minister responsible for Sport, Isabelle Charest, has doubts about the leadership of Gilles Courteau at the head of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (LHJMQ), in the midst of a scandal over abuse in hockey locker rooms. She will be able to hear him explain himself to the parliamentary committee.

On Wednesday, Ms. Charest subtly invited her colleagues from the Commission for Culture and Education (CCE) to summon the commissioner of the QMJHL to the National Assembly to explain the alleged perpetuation of violent initiations to inside the circuit locker rooms. “I would be very ready to [hear it]. I will not put pressure on the commission, but I would be very much in favor of it being done,” she said in a scrum.

In the following minutes, Prime Minister François Legault went further. “We're going to have a parliamentary committee,” he confirmed to the media.

The day before, Quebec solidaire had sent a request for an initiative order to hear both the LHJMQ and Hockey Quebec in parliamentary committee. The support of the Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois was acquired, but the Coalition avenir Québec had not officially given its approval. It is the members of the committee who decide whether or not to approve an initiative mandate.

Rape and intimidation


In a recent judgment of the Superior Court of Ontario, twenty former players of the three major junior leagues in Canada reported rapes and acts of kidnapping and intimidation perpetrated over decades in the framework of initiation ceremonies. After remaining silent on the alleged acts, the commissioner of the QMJHL, Gilles Courteau, granted his first interviews in the last hours.

At 98.5, he claimed that “no one ever told [him] about a situation similar” to the scenarios discussed in the affidavits compiled in the judgment. In the same breath, he admitted hearing stories of confinement in a bus lavatory and cookies being inserted into his anus.

“I was not reassured by his explanations,” said said Wednesday Isabelle Charest, when asked about the role of the QMJHL in this story. Is Mr. Courteau part of the problem? “That's a great question,” replied the elected caquiste.

According to her, appointing a woman to lead the circuit would be “fantastic” to end the “toxic” culture in hockey . “During the discussions we have had over the past few years, there are often questions that are not answered. This morning, he says he is aware of certain things which, in my opinion, are degrading situations, “she continued.

Ms. Charest agreed that it's the league who will decide whether Mr. Courteau still deserves to occupy the seat of commissioner. However, she hopes to see more women in positions of power in hockey in Quebec. “It would bring a renewal, a different way of thinking,” she said.