03/13/2014 02:23 EDT | Updated 05/13/2014 05:59 EDT

Château Roberval apologizes to Innu hockey team for discrimination

A Lac-St-Jean, Que., area hotel is apologizing after charging a group of aboriginal youth nearly 50 per cent more than the standard rate for a room.

Last week, a group of young hockey players who checked into the Château Roberval in Roberval, Que., were charged about $45 more per room, per night, for a stay in town while they competed in the Mashteuiatsh minor league hockey tournament.

The group of Pessamit youth had travelled from Quebec’s North Shore region to participate.

Another large group of hockey players checked into another property owned by the same person, Mario Beaubien, and were charged the regular rate.

Mashteuiatsh Chief Gilbert Dominique denounced the apparent case of discrimination, saying that the group gives Beaubien and his hotels a lot of business.

He demanded a formal apology lest the group boycott Beaubien’s hotels.

Luc Tremblay, a spokesman hired by Beaubien this week to help with damage control, said Beaubien noticed the error the employee made and worked to correct it even before the media caught wind.

The employee in question is Beaubien's son.

An honest mistake

Tremblay called the incident an honest mistake, and said the employee was applying an old policy from a time before Beaubien acquired the hotel, eight months ago.

“It seems that this method of billing already existed as an internal policy, and the new administrators did not ask themselves the reason for this charge,” the spokesman said.

Dominique said this kind of discrimination existed in the 1980s, and that this recent brush with it shocked him.

Tremblay said Beaubien has three aboriginal employees and that recent accusations of racism are ill-founded.