Charmaine Crooks Testifies In Front Of Heritage Comittee
On Thursday, newly elected Canada Soccer president Charmaine Crooks testified in front of the Heritage Committee in Ottawa via Zoom.
The meeting was actually delayed an hour due to multiple votes happening in the House of Commons.
Crooks opened with a statement saying how she is the first woman to be president in Canada Soccer’s 111-year history, while also being the first woman to be president.
A native of Jamaica born to a family of nine children, she moved to Canada at age six and was the first female athlete to compete in five Olympics for track and field.
She also sat on many boards and was pressed quite a few times during the meeting.
It got off to a hasty start as Conservative MP Kevin Waugh came out with the following statement:
The national teams are pissed of,” he said before asking her what needs to be done. Crooks responded with the following:
“What we did in the past wasn’t perfect, but we are working to make it better.”
“We want to make sure all voices are heard,” added Crooks, who did say that the CSB deal isn’t perfect and needs to be modernized.
She was originally scheduled to testify last week before the CSA election last Saturday in Saint John, New Brunswick, but requested to delay the testimony due to her election campaign.
It was reported that Victor Montagliani had reached out to several people insisting they vote for Crooks, and she was asked about it by Liberal MP Anthony Housefather.
“That would be a disservice to me and my role and I had no knowledge of it,” she responded.
She was also asked about the meeting where former Canada Soccer President Nick Bontis made the ‘bitching’ comment about Christine Sinclair, and there is proof she was at the meeting – but Crooks denies it, saying it was not on her schedule.
Crooks said one of her main focuses will be on pay equity and making sure gender equality is at the forefront of it all.
In response to when Sinclair testified that she had not reached out once appointed as the interim president when Nick Bontis stepped down, she says there was a process to do it.
“I was informed I had to go through coaches but I can confirm a few weeks after I did sit down and have a meeting with Christine Sinclair, Janine Beckie, Quinn, and Sophie Schmidt.”
When pressed again about the CSB deal and stating many players believe it should be ripped up, Crooks reiterated that the deal needs to be modernized.
Shields also asked if she would consider running again after finishing the one-year term.
“That will be discussed at a later date and if they are pleased with my work,” she said.
Conservative MP Rachael Thomas questioned Crooks’s honesty and bluntly asked if she was lying due to the fact there were questions that she was fully open to answering – somewhere she tensed up.
“I took an oath and everything I have said is the truth and I reject that notion,” she responded.
After the meeting, I was able to get a reaction from Thomas, who was – once again – was not happy with the testimony.
“I think our objective as a committee is to get answers on behalf of the athletes. We heard from the four senior players and what we heard from them is they are severely disappointed with Canada Soccer in regards to equal pay and it is not in place,” said Thomas.
“In addition to that, you have the Canada Soccer Business deal that was signed with Canada Soccer and that didn’t give the women a fair shake either, and Mrs. Crooks has been there the entire time.”
“She has been there since 2013, so why didn’t she speak up and use her voice on behalf of the women’s team? She didn’t, and she failed to do that. Then she came to committee and skirted our questions and made herself look like she is invested in real change.”
“If she was serious about it, that change should have started in 2013 – and that was the time to use her voice.”