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,

Sincerely,

Perry Calderwood
Acting High Commissioner
 
 

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