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article imageCanadian Government Sticks Their Nose Where it Don't Belong

By Carolyn E. Price     May 1, 2007 in Sports
Hockey Canada is being called by the Canadian government to appear before the House of Commons' Official Languages Committee to explain why they gave the captaincy of Team Canada's team at the world tournament in Russia to Shane Doan.
At issue is a derogatory remark Doan allegedly made toward a French-Canadian linesman during a game in December 2005.
Shane Doan is the captain of the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes and has always denied making any racial slurs. The allegations have not been proven and Doan was cleared by the NHL after the league investigated the incident.
Doan said that during a game against the Montreal Canadiens, there was a skirmish and he was trying to calm down his goaltender Curtis Joseph. Doan maintains that he wasn't even talking to any of the referees or linesmen.
But NHL linesman Michel Cormier insists Doan called him a "F---ing Frenchman."
"While skating alongside me while I was headed toward my room, that's when (Doan) said the words, 'F------g Frenchman, did a good job,' and he skated away,'' said Cormier. "(We were) side by side.''
But Doan insisted: "I didn't say anything even remotely close to what is being said that I said. I guess that's probably the most frustrating thing is that you can talk to my teammates, you can talk to anybody that knows me. I wouldn't have said that. Some of my best friends are French-Canadians."
But on today in the House of Commons, the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP all supported a Bloc Quebecois motion that demanded officials from Hockey Canada and Sport Canada appear before the House of Commons' Official Languages Committee this coming Thursday. Both Hockey Canada and Sport Canada are funded by the federal government but are considered to be arm's length bodies. The officials are being asked to explain their choice of Doan as captain of Canada's national team at the IIHF World Hockey Championship.
Doan's response to the shenanigans going on in the federal government (like we don't have anything better to get excited about right now): "I'd rather you call me the worst hockey player in the world and say that I don't deserve to be on the team," Doan said after a team practice in Mytischi, Russia. "Anything like that, that's fine. You can say whatever you want. But don't question my character. Don't question the basis of what I am."
It should be noted that Shane Doan is a devout Christian who is often teased by his teammates because he doesn't and won't swear. He is valiantly defending his name and character. The Alberta-born Doan said he's always taken "incredible pride" in being a role model and has always been conscious of how he's carried himself during his 11 years in the NHL.
"I don't understand how people can attack somebody when I was cleared by the NHL,'' said Doan." Anybody that does any type of investigation into it would realize I never said it. And yet, they can just throw it out in the House of Commons? Those are our leaders. Those are the people that we're supposed to look to.''
On Monday in Commons, Opposition leaders Stephane Dion, Jack Layton and Gilles Duceppe suggested Doan was unfit to lead the Canadian team because of the derogatory comments he allegedly made in the game. Leave it to good old Jack Layton to make the suggestion that the comments that Doan is alleged to have made has "cast a shadow" on the team.
Remember, these are allegations that were investigated by the NHL and Mr. Doan was cleared.
Doan is suing Liberal MP Denis Coderre for defamation. In his claim, he says that he has been falsely accused of making anti-French comments. Coderre has counter-sued.
Coyotes CEO Jeff Shumway said "there's not a nicer guy in the world" than Doan. "I wasn't around when whatever happened, happened, but I have never heard Shane say a bad word about anybody," Shumway told the Canadian Press in an interview from Phoenix. "It would certainly surprise me if he ever said anything like that."
Team Canada forward Mike Cammalleri said he can't imagine his captain ever offending anyone. "Anybody that knows Shane will tell you that it's a very hard thing for any of us to believe that he said something like that," he said. "He's pretty much the perfect leader when you think of a guy you want for Team Canada."
And Team Canada Coach Andy Murray strongly defended the player he chose to be the captain of his team. "He's leaving four kids to come over here. He's done enough that he probably had the right to maybe say no and he never has said no to Canada."
This is an absolute farce on the part of our federal government. The player was cleared by the NHL and there is a case that is currently before the courts.
What I don't get is why the government thinks they should get involved in this situation in the first place. As I said earlier, surely there are better things they could be doing with their time. And as far as Layton is concerned, why doesn't he just appoint himself judge, jury and executioner.
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