Tory MPP challenges Ontario government to investigate 'shady' hockey union goings-on

Tory MPP Randy Hillier says the CHLPA's shadiness is a result of inadequate laws governing union...

Tory MPP Randy Hillier says the CHLPA's shadiness is a result of inadequate laws governing union accountability in Ontario. (QMI Agency)

TERRY DAVIDSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:41 PM ET

A Tory MPP is challenging the Ontario government to investigate the “shady” goings-on inside a controversial union for junior hockey players.

Ontario Progressive Conservative labour critic Randy Hillier sent Liberal Labour Minister Linda Jeffrey a formal letter on Friday outlining his concerns over the now-faltering Canadian Hockey League Players’ Association and the controversy surrounding the new union following reports that convicted fraudster Randy Gumbley may have been using an alias to take part in running it.

It was reported earlier in the week the Ontario Hockey League had hired a private investigator to look into the true identity of CHLPA spokesman Derek Clarke, who some suspected was really Gumbley, a former junior-team owner twice convicted of defrauding young players.

While CHLPA head Georges Laraque and a man claiming to be the real Derek Clarke stepped down late Thursday, questions linger around the association’s transparency when it comes to the identities of those running it.

Hillier said the organization’s shadiness is a result of inadequate laws governing union accountability in Ontario. Currently, he says, unions -- certified or otherwise -- don’t have to divulge the identity of organizers or details around financial activity.

“Our labour laws are crafted in a manner that lend themselves to inappropriate or less-than-honest transparency,” Hillier told QMI Agency, adding the lack of regulation helps attract “shady and unsavoury” people.

What may be going on within the CHLPA, he said, “is not new in the union organization business, that you get some shady and unsavoury people ... With the CHLPA, as we know of it at the present time, there (are) still a lot of unknowns.”

Late Thursday, the CHLPA marched out a man claiming to be the real Derek Clarke, but the mystery man would not agree to talk on camera during a planned meeting with broadcaster TSN, and spoke to another Toronto newspaper only over the phone.

In another twist, Randy Gumbley’s brother, Glenn Gumbley, revealed himself as a CHLPA organizer, insisting he’d kept his identity secret because of the infamy of the Gumbley name. And while he insisted brother Randy had nothing to do with the CHLPA, he did say he and Randy had re-established a relationship after the latter’s fraud convictions.

It was also reported that one news agency had two past conversations with Derek Clarke, and a third with a man who claimed to be Clarke, but wasn’t.

As for this, Glenn Gumbley said because of the fledgling association’s limited resources, it’s “very possible” that a union organizer could have spoken with media posing as Clarke to fill a gap.

OHL president David Branch remains skeptical.

“From where I sit ... I’m not sure that everything has been exposed,” Branch said.

terry.davidson@sunmedia.ca


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