While there is no money on the table it appears that Ontario Sports Minister Lisa MacLeod is trying to find a way of helping the CFL stay afloat amid the COVID pandemic.
Commissioner Randy Ambrosie raised some eyebrows when he testified before an Ontario committee on finance June 18 regarding the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the CFL.Ambrosie asked the federal government for up to $150 million in financial assistance in late April. His three-tiered proposal included $30 million immediately, more for an abbreviated season and up to another $120 million if no football was played.
“We’re all trying to see how we can support them,” MacLeod said in a telephone interview with the Canadian Press. “That said, my mandate is very clear in supporting amateur and minor sports, it’s not to fund professional sports so any conversation with regards to that I’d have to look at it.”
“I’ve not seen that (joint provincial-federal government CFL funding plan),” MacLeod said. “But I will say we’ve met with the federal and provincial sport ministers, in particular just the sport ministers who have CFL teams, and those conversations are ongoing.”
Hamilton Liberal MP Bob Bratina (Hamilton-East/Stoney Creek) remains bullish about the CFL’s future. Bratina spent 20 years doing play-by-play on Hamilton and Toronto radio broadcasts before entering politics.”Canadians want the CFL to survive, the league’s greatest asset is its fans,” he said. “As fans we’ve walked this road many times and somehow managed to make it out the other side.”I’m confident we can find a way to do so again.”
MacLeod told CP “We want to work with (the CFL) but I don’t think going to the provincial governments for finances is probably something that’s workable. It’s a conversation we should all want to have, we should all want to work together but at the same time recognize we’re still dealing with a very real public-health threat.”