NDP Leader Urges Quebec Soccer Federation to Allow Kids to Play Soccer

Thomas Mulcair, Official Opposition Leader
Thomas Mulcair, Official Opposition Leader

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada—Earlier today, Leader of the Official Opposition and Canada’s NDP Tom Mulcair spoke with both the Canadian Soccer Association and the Quebec Soccer Federation, urging them to expedite a solution and allow kids to play soccer.

“All kids should be allowed to play soccer, no matter their background” added Mulcair while addressing the Canadian Club.

Tom Mulcair has demonstrated principled leadership by directly reaching out to both governing organizations and working to facilitate a resolution. New Democrats are optimistic a solution will be reached soon and encourage both the Conservative and Liberal leaders to follow the lead of the Official Opposition; remove politics and work on getting results.

“I understand the Quebec Soccer Federation has an emergency meeting tonight. It is time for the adults to step up and do the right thing,” said NDP Sports critic Matthew Dubé (Chambly—Borduas) “When adults can’t find a solution, kids pay the price, and this feud has gone too far.”

New Democrats believe that an immediate solution is necessary and that the only reasonable resolution is to be inclusive, so that children play a game of soccer.

“The ban has been cited as a safety issue, when in reality there appear to be none,” said NDP Immigration, Multiculturalism and Citizenship critic Jinny Sims (Newton—North Delta). “It’s simple, sports are meant to inclusive, not exclusive.”

Canada’s New Democrats have been consistent and firm in their position to support inclusivity, while working alongside members of the Sikh community for nearly a year.

On July 5, 2012 NDP MP Hélène Leblanc (LaSalle—Émard) met with a Sikh family in her riding, whose son was directly affected by the ban. Later, in February 2013, NDP MPs Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe (Pierrefonds—Dollard), Leblanc and Sadia Groguhé (Saint-Lambert) continued their advocacy on this matter, by organizing an entire day of meetings with Sikh families and youth to discuss how amongst many other issues, how such bans affected them and how a solution could be sought. This meeting resulted in immediate action.

Before the final decision of the Quebec Soccer Federation was rendered, MPs Blanchette-Lamothe and Leblanc spoke directly with the executives of the Quebec Soccer Federation and the Lac-St-Louis Soccer Association to ask them about their positions and their intentions on the matter of the turban ban on soccer fields. Both have since continued to advocate for a resolution that gets Sikh children back on the soccer fields, sooner rather than later.

Amneet Singh, NDP can be reached at Amneet.Singh@parl.gc.ca