NOTE: Rejean Tremblay is a sports columnist for Le Journal de Montreal, a French newspaper owned by Quebecor
Ron MacLean is Don Cherry's lapdog at the CBC. He's been playing nice guy for years while Cherry spews out tons of vitriol against Quebecers, Swedes, Russians, and all those who aren't "good old boys."
But after Game 3 of the playoff series between the Canadiens and the Lighting, when referee Francis Charron disallowed a Lighting goal, MacLean said Francophone referees shouldn't be allowed to work the next Habs game at the Bell Centre.
Well then, should Canadian refs be forbidden from working Leafs or Canucks games? How about no American refs when a Canadian team plays an American squad? Or should the discrimination be further refined by barring a Minnesotan from working a Wild match?
And what should be done about an Alberta-born ref and the Oilers and Flames?
You know very well that the question doesn't come up in those cases. Because for MacLean, a "Canadian" or Ontarian or Dave Jackson (an English Montrealer) are part of the superior race. That means they have the intelligence and emotional control to guarantee the quality of their work. While the poor little Frenchman, he's subject to the call of the tribe.
Such an opinion is so low, so sneaky, that you wouldn't think it possible that the Canadian Crown corporation could tolerate such thinking.
MacLean should have been reassured by the election of federalist Quebec premier Philippe Couillard.
Francis Charron is a good Canadian, as we all are in Quebec. It seems to me that the population has been loud and clear enough in expressing its fear of a referendum. We are Canadian and we're certainly not dangerous.
So, if we're Canadian, what does a referee's French heritage mean in the colonizing mind of Ron MacLean? Are the nice Canadians in Quebec not as good as the nice Canadians in the rest of the country?
This is what Philippe Couillard defends?
The National Hockey League is a private company. And, fortunately, Gary Bettman seems to be smarter than Ron MacLean. The NHL has never taken a referee's language or nationality into account for any match. For them, a competent official is a competent official.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention to the appearance of conflicts of interest on the international stage.
A World Cup soccer final is an explosive game to manage, no question. But I saw an American official working an Olympic women's final between Canada and the United States. She was rotten, but nobody accused her of being rotten because she was American.
And when the Canadian men won the gold medal in Sochi, the two referees and the two linesmen were Canadian or American. Only Peter Forsberg complained back in Sweden. The Swedish players and head coach simply pointed out that they knew these officials and they were excellent. Period.
I've said enough about international hockey: Let's not forget that Montreal is part of the greatest country in the world. So if we're part of the greatest, if we're not sovereign, Ron MacLean can't keep his mouth shut? His breath stinks.
Finally, one last point. The president of the CBC, Hubert Lacroix, also has responsibilities here.
Lacroix is supposed to be the guardian of CBC principles, though it certainly doesn't look like it when I meet veteran journalists who'll find themselves unemployed because management is ransacking their sports department after the CBC lost Hockey Night in Canada.
Does Hubert Lacroix support Ron MacLean? Does he also believe a Frenchie can't resist the call of the tribe?