Complaint to Human Rights Commission alleges inequality between athletic teams
© Guardian photo by Nigel Armstrong
Guaridan file photo
If anyone should have an in-depth knowledge about funding for male and female athletics at UPEI, it would be Mike Redmond. The leader of P.E.I.’s NDP is a former, longtime coach of the women’s soccer team at the university. He had to work through years of limited financial support and unending shoestring budgets. It also meant the team, and especially Mr. Redmond, had to continually fundraise so players could have proper equipment, travel safely, stay in decent accommodations and eat properly.
Despite the obvious limitations, Mr. Redmond usually fielded competitive teams which earned UPEI a reputation as a female soccer powerhouse. University decision makers thought all was well since the team seemed to thrive despite adversity.
Mr. Redmond had to curb his private outrage at the discrepancies he saw every day in the dollars being spent on men’s athletics, compared to much reduced numbers for female varsity teams. If he wanted to keep coaching, he had to be a team player, so to speak.
That’s over now. He’s moved on to a new career but hasn’t forgotten about this issue at UPEI. He had contacted the university to state his case, and had also written to the AUS, the governing body of Atlantic university sport, because the gender inequity between makes and female sports is not just a UPEI phenomenon, its systemic throughout the conference.
Mr. Redmond got little or no response. So the next step was a formal complaint to the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission and suddenly the university is not ignoring the issue any longer. UPEI is still paying a price for human rights complaints from professors forced into retirement at age 65 so it now has to take Mr. Redmond’s allegations seriously.
The university says it was disappointed the complaint was lodged because now it has to deal with lawyers, witnesses, athletes and public disclosure. If UPEI had taken the issue seriously months ago it would not be at this embarrassing point today. It is supposed to be the leader in gender equity issues, not accused of being a flagrant offender.
PC health critic James Aylward will have to cool his heels for another week to learn what Health Minister Doug Currie has set out in the long-awaited provincial addictions report. Mr. Currie indicated this week the report will be released Nov. 1 and the opposition critic was quick to issue a press release calling for its immediate release considering the gravity of the situation and that the minister shouldn’t wait another minute. We’ve waited since April for the report so let’s hope this is one deadline the minister will keep.
Standard time returns next weekend with Islanders turning their clocks back at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 3 to gain that extra hour of sleep. It usually makes us think that winter can’t be far behind. Many people have noticed the heavy growth of cones on spruce and pine trees around the province this fall. The last time such an event happened was three or four years ago, which was followed by a very mild winter with almost no snow. The recent outlook released by AccuWeather would support that forecast. The Maritimes are expected to see above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation this winter. Thank you, Mr. Squirrel.