Quebec mayor apologizes for joke about Carey Price substance issues

A bad joke was rendered even more insensitive given that it was made in the context of a boil-water advisory.

The mayor and other government officials in Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel, Quebec released a statement apologizing for making a bad joke about Carey Price and his struggle with substance use in a notice from City Hall. 

The town issued a boil-water advisory on Wednesday, the day after Price clarified the nature of his mental health issue on Instagram, that read: “Much like Carey Price, once our substance issue has been resolved, we will let you know.” The notice was accompanied by a photo of Price drinking water during a Habs game.

“We believed, wrongly, that people would take the message at face value, with lightness. We wanted to give a little wink, which was awkward, and we recognize it.”

—Municipalité de Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel (Facebook)

“The goal of the municipality was certainly not to make fun of the Montreal Canadiens organization or Carey Price or people with substance issues or those who take steps to resolve them.”

—Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel Mayor Luc Dostaler

Aside from trying to elicit laughs with a jab at Price’s rehabilitation, the fact that it was done in the context of a boil-water advisory added a dash of cultural insensitivity to the offensive sauce, even if it wasn’t done consciously. Given Price’s Indigenous heritage, and the fact that non-potable water remains a national disgrace, this attempt at humour was all the more ill-advised. Though 82 long-term boil-water advisories have been lifted since 2015, 31 remain in effect in First Nations communities across Canada.

Along with continuing the work he did in the month-long NHL players assistance program, Price is currently following a four-step training process, working towards rejoining the Montreal Canadiens on the ice.

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