In October, an aboriginal architect in Toronto, Douglas Cardinal, unsuccessfully tried to get an injunction against Rogers and Major League Baseball to prevent broadcast of a Toronto Blue Jays versus Cleveland Indians game.
His reason was that the Cleveland Indians’ name and mascot—Chief Wahoo—were discriminatory and offensive to him and other aboriginals.
While the injunction failed, documents obtained under access to information show the federal government was prepared to publicly pressure the team to change its name.
Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett’s office had requested a question period card—responsive lines to possible questions posed in the House of Commons—about the injunction request, suggesting a line that called for the name and logo to be “abandoned.”
“The name and image are derogatory, disrespectful and de-humanizing towards Indigenous peoples, and should be abandoned,” the line read, according to the documents—many of which were redacted.
More curiously, the documents also show that department staff—who aren’t partisan ministerial aides—were refusing to fact check or approve the lines, offering only translation services.
In October, Bennett’s department was dealing with issues surrounding Shoal Lake, budget money, youth suicides and education, but still decided to interlope in a matter regarding a privately owned sports team from the United States.