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Canada’s Chef de Mission for Rio 2016 Threatens to Resign Over Aubut Affair

by John Symon

February 07, 2016 (Montreal, QC) – Jean-Luc Brassard, Canada’s chef de mission for the team heading to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, is threatening to resign reports CBC and La Presse. At issue is the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC)’s handling of the Marcel Aubut affair with Brassard alleging the COC is beset with omerta (a vow of silence).

Brassard, flanked by Sochi 2014 Chef de Mission Steve Podborski (right) and Olympic medallist figure skater Joannie Rochette at Canada Olympic House.  ©  COC

Aubut was president of the COC from 2010 until Oct. 2015, resigning in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment. Tricia Smith has since assumed the role of COC president.

Brassard told La Presse that he is asking the COC to be transparent and to properly explain to its employees what happened. He also claims to have heard enough testimony “to make the columns of the temple shake.”

Among those Brassard criticizes is Christopher Overholt, CEO at the COC and who apparently was aware of allegations against Aubut since 2011. Brassard also spoke about the difficulties experienced by women who come forward with complaints of sexual assault.

Jean-Luc Brassard  ©  COC

Brassard, 43, won gold in freestyle skiing at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. His role as chef de mission is a voluntary one.

Aubut, 68, is a lawyer who previously served as president and CEO of the Quebec Nordiques NHL hockey team. In 2010, he was elected the first francophone president of the COC and played a role in organizing both the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games and the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games. In 2014, Aubut was acclaimed for a second four-year term as president of the COC.

CBC report here.
La Presse (French) here.

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