‘Gold-plated’ pen­sions

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE -

MPs from the old Re­form Party — in­clud­ing Stephen Harper — stand to col­lect over $100,000 a year in pen­sion ben­e­fits.

VAN­COU­VER (CP) — Tragedy has struck the Van­cou­ver Olympics again, this time de­liv­er­ing a body blow to the Cana­dian team.

Skate Canada of­fi­cials say Therese Ro­chette, mother of fig­ure skater Joan­nie Ro­chette, died Satur­day night at Van­cou­ver Gen­eral Hospi­tal. She was 55. There was no im­me­di­ate word on cause of death.

Skate Canada of­fi­cials said the 24-year-old from IleDu­pas, Que. — the reign­ing world sil­ver medal­list and a six-time Cana­dian cham­pion — still planned to com­pete. Her event starts Tues­day.

“ We met with her this morn­ing and she in­tends to com­pete at the Games,” Skate Canada CEO William Thomp­son told re­porters Sun­day morn­ing. “ We will, of course, sup­port any fur­ther de­ci­sions she makes in the up­com­ing days. She is very de­ter­mined and we be­lieve she is fo­cused on she is com­pet­ing here.”

Added chef de mis­sion Nathalie Lam­bert: “ She may change her mind and that’s fine too. I think she owes it to her­self to go on that ice, to have no re­grets and ful­fil that dream that she had. It’s go­ing to be re­ally hard phys­i­cally and re­ally hard emo­tion­ally for sure.”

“She’s go­ing to get the sup­port of many, many Cana­di­ans in the tough­est time of her life.”

The news came just over a week af­ter a Ge­or­gian luger was killed dur­ing a train­ing run at the Whistler Slid­ing Cen­tre only hours be­fore the open­ing cer­e­monies.

Lam­bert says Ro­chette will be able to get coun­selling from the team’s ath­letes’ ser­vice of­fi­cer Sylvie Frechette, a for­mer syn­chro­nized swim­mer who had a sim­i­lar tragic ex­pe­ri­ence prior to the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Frechette’s boyfriend com­mit­ted sui­cide just be­fore those Games.

“I be­lieve Sylvie is a good per­son to go talk to Joan­nie be­cause she’s lived some­thing sim­i­lar,” said Lam­bert.

News of the death was re­leased prior to a Cana­dian team brief­ing Sun­day. Of­fi­cials say Ro­chette’s fa­ther Nor­mand went to the ath­letes vil­lage Sun­day morn­ing to de­liver the news.

Ro­chette was slated to prac­tise Sun­day af­ter­noon. Skate Canada of­fi­cials said she would not speak to the me­dia.

Liz Man­ley, a sil­ver medal­list at the 1988 Olympics, has been serv­ing as some­what of a men­tor to Ro­chette in re­cent months. She told CTV she un­der­stood Ro­chette’s wish to keep skat­ing.

“It’s not about a medal now for Joan­nie,” said Man­ley, who lost her mother in July 2008. “It is about do­ing some­thing that she has worked an en­tire life­time for, some­thing that her mom was at he side ev­ery step of the way. And to not fol­low through with that right now, I know what she’s think­ing. She’s go­ing to go out there and do it for the love of her mom and for her years of hard work.”

Lam­bert asked the me­dia not to ask other Cana­dian ath­letes about the death of Ro­chette’s mother.

“ We are deeply af­fected by some­thing like that,” Lam­bert said. “I don’t think it adds to your story to get a quote from an ath­lete on how we’re do­ing. We’re do­ing the best we can with a sit­u­a­tion that is a tragedy.

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