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'Disrespectful and ignorant': B.C. politician condemns Don Cherry's comments on immigrants and Remembrance Day

Last Updated Nov 11, 2019 at 4:22 am PDT

Hockey Night in Canada commentator Don Cherry is receiving some backlash for comments he made regarding new immigrants not wearing poppies ahead of Remembrance Day.

A notable B.C. politician is among those decrying Don Cherry's on-air rant

Ravi Kahlon says Cherry's comments are disrespectful, and hurtful

Rogers Media, a subsidiary of Rogers Communications, is the parent company of Sportsnet which also owns NEWS 1130

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A B.C. politician says Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry’s comments are disrespectful, and hurtful.

Ravi Kahlon is B.C.’s Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism, and is the grandson of an Indian veteran. His grandfather was a medic, and fought for the Indian army in World War II.

Kahlon’s grandfather, Harbans Singh Kahlon was in the Indian Air Force and was stationed in Hiroshima for five months after the nuclear bomb was dropped.

Kahlon says his grandfather came back with scars, emotionally and physically.

After his time in the fighting alongside Canadian soldiers, his grandfather immigrated to Canada and passed away years after.

“To hear Don Cherry go on the air and suggest that immigrants don’t care, that it’s only immigrants that are not showing their passion and respect for people that fought, I just thought it was disrespectful and ignorant.”

Kahlon is among many wondering if Cherry should still have a job.

Don Cherry’s comments have continued trend on Twitter Sunday. Some are supporting and defending Cherry’s statements made Saturday on “Coaches Corner.” Others are calling for Sportsnet to terminate Cherry.

“This is not the first time. This is one of many. The question is: How much tolerance do we have for this kind of ignorance?”

Kahlon adds, Remembrance Day, and the iconic poppy should be used to bring people together, not to divide.

Sportsnet president Bart Yabsley issued a statement Sunday morning, calling Cherry’s comments discriminatory and offensive.

“They do not represent our values and what we stand for as a network. We have spoken with Don about the severity of the issue and we sincerely apologize for these divisive remarks.”
The NHL called the comments “offensive and contrary to the values we believe in” in a brief statement issued Sunday.

Apart from Cherry’s comments, Kahlon says unfortunately, racism in sports is nothing new.

“You can pick up a newspaper and read about First Nations kids being harassed and bullied on ice hockey rinks,” he says. “You can see soccer players stepping off the field, refusing to play because of racist chants in the game.”

He says Cherry should know better.

“He is supposed to be a representative of Canada, of Hockey in Canada. And I think it’s really shameful.”

Rogers Media, a subsidiary of Rogers Communications, is the parent company of Sportsnet which also owns NEWS 1130.

With files from Lauren Boothby