MP Pam Damoff: ‘Nobody can fund anything until the CFL knows what the players are going to be paid’

Member of Parliament Pam Damoff was blunt in regards to the CFL’s ask for $150 million in financial support amid the COVID-19 crisis.

She told Sportsnet’s Arash Madani the players piece of the potential government pie has to be accounted for in the league’s ask.

CFLPA president Solomon Elimimian sent out a memo two weeks ago stating that CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie was unwilling to discuss a potential solution to the ongoing health pandemic. The two sides last spoke on April 16 until Friday, May 8 when the two sides got back together.

“Anything would be contingent on an agreement with the players,” Damoff, the Liberal MP for Oakville North–Burlington, said. “Nobody can fund anything until the league knows what the players are going to be paid.”

After Ambrosie presented to the members of the standing committee on finance, he was hammered for not having the players with him. Further to the point, government officials want a complete plan of what the league plans to do if funds do come their way.

“I told the commissioner the league needs to put together a business plan. The sooner they have one put together, and present to the members of the finance committee, it would be helpful,” Damoff said.

“What are you looking for the federal government to do? I think we need to help them out if they have a business plan that’s viable for the government and the CFL. And I think they can do it.”

Ambrosie wants $30 million in working capital to keep operating in 2020 and estimates the league could need as much as an additional $120 million over the next two years — if the most negative scenarios, all of them, come true.

Former Ticats radio play-by-play voice Bob Bratina serves as the Hamilton East-Stoney Creek Liberal MP and believes the CFL is part of Canadiana.

“The CFL can’t be lumped in with Major League Baseball or in the NBA category. The CFL is part of the fabric of our country,” Bratina, who was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1998, said.

“I don’t think there should be a federal (funding) program for all pro sports, but with the CFL I think it’s a special case.”