Minister Churchill must set the record straight on high school rugby

May 06, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston is calling on Education Minister Zach Churchill to set the record straight surrounding rugby cancellation in high schools.

“The Minister must set the record straight on his role in the initial decision to cancel rugby,” Houston said. “The students deserve straightforward answers.”

On Friday, Education Minister Zach Churchill issued a directive to the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation (NSSAF) to immediately reinstate rugby for the duration of the season. At the time he said the NSSAF contravened the terms and conditions of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with his Department by neglecting to inform the Department of their decision.

However, a memo surfaced today that reveals Minister Churchill’s Deputy Minister, Cathy Montreuil, actually met with officials from the NSSAF on March 29 to discuss the cancellation of rugby, potential fall out and possible alternatives. Further, the memo says that on May 2, a representative of the Education Department attended a meeting where the decision to cancel rugby and inform schools was taken.

“The Minister told Nova Scotians that his department didn’t know about the decision to cancel rugby but the memo says otherwise,” says Houston. “It begs the question, did the Minister knowingly withhold information from the public?”

Houston says at a minimum Minister Churchill was disingenuous when he issued his directive to reinstate rugby, knowing full well that his department was engaged in the process.

“This is just another example of why it is hard to take anything this Minister says at face value,” says Houston.

To top it off, media reported today that high school rugby is now at the discretion of the principal.

“It feels like this issue has been offloaded to the principals to deal with because neither the federation or the department can make a decision,” says Houston. “Rugby players in high schools have been sitting in limbo for days wondering whether they will get to play the game. I urge the minister to clear the air and get our players back on the field.”