Canadian High Commission reply letter
Jan 31, 2003
Dear Mr. Harris,
Thank you for your E-mail letter of 30 January concerning an
article in the 27 January edition of the Natal Witness.
The High Commission is delighted that Canada has qualified for
the ICC World Cup to be held in South Africa beginning next week.
As Acting High Commissioner, I look forward to hosting a reception
in honor of the team this evening in Pretoria. The High
Commission has also assisted the Canadian team by finding a
sponsor for a lunch event and by organizing a
clinic where team members will share their skills with the
children of a primary school in Mamelodi, near Pretoria.
Representatives of the Canadian High Commission look forward to
attending the six games of the round-robin tournament in which the
Canadian team will play and any further matches should the
Canadian team be successful in proceeding to the next round. I am
certain that all Canadians in South Africa share the pride of
Canadians at home with the participation of the Canadian team at
this major sporting event.
While the article casts doubt on the competitiveness of the
Canadian team, the fact is that our team is participating in this
World Cup because it qualified to do so by defeating some very
strong competition. This is a tribute to the efforts of the team
of whom all Canadians should be proud. The diversity of the
Canadian team is a reflection of the diversity - and strength - of
Canada. We are a country with a strong and proud immigrant
tradition and no informed observer should be surprised to see that
this tradition is reflected in the composition of sporting teams
or other groups representing Canada at international events.
The quote that you cite refers to comments made by the High
Commissioner, Mrs. Lucie Edwards, in a recent conversation with
the author of the article. Unfortunately, the quote attributed to
a "high-ranking diplomat in Pretoria" has been taken out of
context. The High Commissioner's reference to "bookies" was in
the context of the professionalism of cricket and recent cases of
match-fixing that have occurred in international professional
cricket. She told the journalist concerned that in Canada cricket
was practiced for the love of the game and in a spirit of
amateurism consistent with the finest traditions of cricket. Her
comment was not related to issues of funding of the Canadian team
as the article implies.
We will be reiterating these points, forcefully, in our
contacts with the South African media.
Thank you for your interest,
Acting High Commissioner