Friday, May 4, 2007

Further to the below...

A couple more things that occurred to me after writing the original post. Some of these thoughts were developed in the comments below; others came to me as I wrote in on Colby Cosh's interesting post over at canada.com.

1) Denis Coderre is a lot of things, not all of which are flattering, but he is not a separatist. Similarly, while some Quebec hockey writers are known to go over the top when it comes to French-English flare-ups, they're not all cut from the same cloth in that regard. My citing Fran├žois Gagnon (below) was deliberate in that regard, because he is decidely not a wingnut. He and his colleagues may have had a rough ride over the Kovalev thing (which I ain't goin' nowheres near for all the tea in China), but he's not a reflexively anti-English talking head.

I raise this because, more than once, I've seen or heard suggestions that this whole thing is reducible to separatists and/or anti-anglo types trying to stir merde. This kind of dismissive sterotyping is plain wrong. The issue should be discussed on its merits, not dismissed because the guys doing the complaining are francophone Quebecers.

2) On the merits of the issue, I want to come back to the point that this is all the NHL's fault. They're the ones who failed to send a strong message about not tolerating anti-francophone taunts or other ethnic slurs; they could have, for example, fined the Coyotes team and/or the coach for failing to control his players. And they're the ones who allowed this gaping chasm between the official record and Cormier's report to go unexplained, despite persistent questions in the francophone media.

3) Having said it's all the NHL's fault, and having already said that I believe Shane Doan's accounting of the incident, there are all sorts of things that Doan could have done to stop the snowball effect. Doan could have been more proactive in speaking out against that type of language. He could have said something like: "Everyone knows that epithets and insults go back and forth on the ice all the time. And ususally there's little or no evil intent behind it. But the NHL is an international league, and we have a responsibility to set an example by respecting one another. As a captain of an NHL team, as a [insert your choice of 'person of integrity' and/or 'Christian' and/or whatever], I can promise that I won't condone or tolerate that kind of behaviour from my teammates." Instead he allowed himself to get drawn into a legal pissing match with Denis Coderre.

4) When all is said and done, the system worked. The Committee heard Hockey Canada's side of the story. They voted to endorse the team. Then they adjourned. It took less than two hours. This did not prevent Parliament from debating such matters as Afghanistan or Kyoto or Danny Williams. Some perspective, please.

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