Olympic team leader, Jean-Luc Brassard, mulls quitting over Marcel Aubut affair
Canada’s chef de mission said Canadian Olympic Committee is changing, but 'wounds' remain
Canada's chef de mission for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, Jean-Luc Brassard, says he considered resigning — and may still — over the way the Canadian Olympic Committee has handled the scandal surrounding its former president, Marcel Aubut.
The Olympic moguls champion told CBC's French-language service, Radio-Canada, Friday that his resignation remains a possibility if he's not satisfied with the COC's efforts to repair the damage stemming from allegations of sexual harassment facing Aubut.
Aubut resigned from his position last October.
He is not facing charges.
"During the last four years, red lights were lit on a number of occasions, and, intentionally or not, they were ignored. I want to know why. We're not talking about budgetary mistakes or financial issues, we're talking about human feelings," Brassard said.
The COC released a report into the sexual harassment scandal in January, which made a series of recommendations.
Brassard said he believes it's vital to act quickly to prevent these incidents from happening again.
The COC fired three people in the wake of the allegations against Aubut, but other people in the organization may have had knowledge of the alleged harassment and stayed silent, Brassard said.
"It's not the moment to put your head in the sand," Brassard said in a later interview with CBC News. "It's time to face the situation."
'Wounds that won't heal'
"She making changes, she's put in place procedures, and she's being very receptive to my call for greater transparency," he said.
That call took the form of a letter that Brassard issued last weekend to the COC's board of directors.
"I wrote the letter seeking more of an explanation," he said. "What happened during the five years these allegations were known about? There were people who wanted to denounce this. But nothing was done. Why didn't the board of directors act?"
"I want them to explain this."
'Wounds that won't heal'
While some employees have welcomed the steps taken by the COC in the wake of Aubut's resignation and tried to move on, Brassard said others "have wounds that won't heal."
"That's where it becomes harder for me, as chef de mission. I don't want to have a team that is in ruins behind me. It will be hard to celebrate our accomplishments when some employees are hiding their pain," he said.
Brassard said if nothing changes, he would consider resigning as chef de mission.
"If I have the impression I can't do anything for the employees who are still hurt by this, I would consider that a failure, and I might have to distance myself," he said.
Not clarifying why the COC let allegations facing Aubut fester for so long will only further damage the organization's credibility and, by extension, its representatives, including Brassard, he said.
"It becomes a question of integrity."
"I'm paying a personal price for this situation, and it may come to the point where I don't want to sink with the ship."