For Immediate Release
The CMHA expelled Mr. Bruce Clark and Ms. Susan Pel on January 18, 2017. The Parents engaged an appeal of their expulsions and, because of a perceived bias created by the bylaw mandated appeal process, the CMHA board of directors named a third party independent appeals chair to convene an independent committee.
The Appeals committee convened a hearing on February 13, 2017. Mr. Russ Sheppard, a lawyer with Rockies Law Corporation represented the CMHA while Dr. John Kilfoil acted as an agent for the parents. The Appeals chair included two independent observers, retired Queens Counsel lawyer Mr. John Zimmer QC, and litigation lawyer Mr. Duncan Smith. These observers were engaged to provide advice and and opinion to the committee and the parties as to the fairness of the process.
The Appeals committee rendered a decision on February 17,2017. In that decision the Appeals committee upheld the expulsion of the Parents and notably commented as follows:
“In the opinion of the committee, the Appellants (Clark/Pel) used words and phrases that were completely inappropriate. Further, it is suggested that no volunteer in any capacity should be subjected to the inflammatory forms of communication, either individually or as part of a group. The Committee recommends that the Appellants provide a written apology to the CMHA board for their communication particularly on social media.”
The Appeals committee further noted some recommendations to the CMHA to ensure these types of incidents do not happen in the future. The CMHA accepts and will work diligently to implement these important items.
As a result of the Parents’ continued and relentless abuse of CMHA volunteers, the CMHA was forced to expel the entire family. This expulsion was the product of a series of events involving the Parents. The CMHA warned the parents for a number of incidents in the fall of 2016. The parents were further involved in disruptive incidents in late November 2016 and as such were suspended. Their children were not disciplined at this point, the CMHA felt it in the best interest of the children to continue to participate in minor hockey. Upon further disruptive incidents in early 2017, including breaching the terms of their suspension, the CMHA warned the parents that their entire family could be subjected to an expulsion if they did not discontinue their destructive behavior. Shortly after the warning letter was sent by the CMHA the Parents breached the terms of their suspension and were subsequently expelled. This decision was not made lightly but was made to protect the integrity of the experience for the other children and volunteers involved. Immediately following the expulsion the Parents engaged in a series of inappropriate attacks on the CMHA and its volunteers both personally and professionally. These includes messages or social media posts that were physically threatening, accusatory in nature and calling for a boycott of some volunteers’ personal businesses. Since the appeal ruling the Parents have again engaged in a series of inappropriate, intimidating and abusive posts on social media regarding the CMHA and its volunteers.
Parent abuse of volunteers has become a major concern for minor sports within North America. The CMHA condemns these continued actions of the Parents and will protect its volunteers from these types of incidents to the fullest extent possible, including using all legal remedies available to them.