Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Social Affairs, Science and Technology
Issue 3 - Evidence of November 6, 2002
OTTAWA, Wednesday, November 6, 2002
The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology, to which was referred Bill C-12, to promote physical activity and sport, met this day at 5:10 p.m. to give consideration to the bill.
Senator Marjory LeBreton (Deputy Chairman) in the Chair.
The Deputy Chairman: My apologies to the witnesses for the delay in starting, but we were compelled to follow the Rules of the Senate of Canada very judiciously.
Without belabouring it at all, we should start with our first witnesses, from Sport Canada, Lane MacAdam and Sue Neill. Do you have a short statement, Mr. MacAdam or Ms. Neill?
Mr. Lane MacAdam, Director General, Sport Canada: Yes, we do. In the interests of time, we would be happy to compress it to allow questions from the committee, if that is your wish.
The Deputy Chairman: That would be most appreciated.
Mr. MacAdam: We will try and speed through it. We have circulated a deck. I would like to introduce Roger Charland, our legal counsel from the Department of Canadian Heritage, who is with us here as well.
The bill now named C-12 was first introduced in April of this year. I will not go through the procedures that led to where we are here today, except to say that it was reinstated by the House this October and now we are at this stage in the process.
It was referred to this standing committee on second reading on October 23.
The key question is: Why replace the act that had served for the last 40 years? The reasons are several.
First, it was in need of some modernization; a need to position physical activity as a critical determinant of health; to respond to expectations within the Canadian sport community; to harmonize it with other industrialized countries; and, more importantly, to try to entrench some of the government's policies related to sport and physical activity. Finally — and I know there will be some questions around this from senators — to facilitate the creation of an alternative dispute resolution centre for sport.
Insofar as the Government of Canada's commitment over the past few years is concerned, Mr. Mills's report was analyzed in 1998. Later in the same year a position of Secretary of State was created. Canada-wide consultations went on for two years on the development of a Canadian sports policy, followed by a national summit meeting chaired by the Prime Minister in April of 2001.
Some of the key changes to the legislation revolve around a new title. There is a new preamble in the bill that incorporates five key messages. It describes the government's policies related to sport and physical activity. There are additional definitions around the mandate of the Minister responsible for Sport, and the provision creating the new alternative dispute resolution centre is outlined.
There is some tidying up of the title to the extent that the word ``fitness'' is seen as the end point, whereas ``physical activity'' is the process that would lead one to the end state. ``Amateur sport'' is a bit of a misnomer in today's world. Even the Olympics allow professional athletes to compete and very few countries around the world refer to ``amateur sport'' in their enabling legislation.
The object of the preamble of the bill is to recognize the importance of physical activity and sport in Canadian society and culture. Recently, you have had occasion to reflect on the role that preventive measures can play in promoting the health of Canadians. Physical activity and the practice of sports are certainly tools that will help Canadians stay healthy; a greater number of people should encouraged to participate in sports and physical activity, and stakeholders in the sector should be encouraged to work together in order to better understand and solve existing problems. Part of the preamble reflects the importance of doing all of that having regard to the principles set out in the Official Languages Act.
In terms of government policies, again, two key ones relate to the policy intended to try to promote physical activity among Canadians, to improve their health by integrating these practices into their daily lives, and to try to reduce barriers for those areas of our society that, perhaps, do not have the opportunities to be as active as others.
From a sport policy perspective, the approval recently of the Canadian sport policy by 14 governments focuses on the notion of increasing participation in sport, supporting excellence for our top-level athletes representing Canada in international competitions, building capacity within the sport community based on ethical standards and values, and doing it in a fair, equitable and transparent way.
I will not go through the lengthy list of the ministerial measures added to the proposed legislation. However, there is certainly an encouragement for the private sector to contribute to sport and physical activity, to facilitate the participation of under-represented groups in the system, to encourage the engagement of other levels of government, including the provinces and territories, and to encourage and support the dispute resolution centre for sport.
You must be wondering: why create such a centre? Throughout the years, there has been a growing number of disputes involving the relations among organizations and individuals.
There has obviously been an increase in these cases — that is, increased costs and increased demands on the system. These cases often end up in the courts. Finally, to the extent that athletes have been requesting a more flexible opportunity to have these kinds of cases heard, this responds to that request.
The mission and structure of the centre is to provide the sport community with a national service, as well as a resource centre, expertise and assistance. It would be managed by a board of directors. There would be 12 directors, including an executive director and a secretariat, and a resource centre would be created as well.
The intention is that it would be an arm's-length organization that is not a federal institution or a Crown corporation, and the arbitrators and mediators would not necessarily be employees of the centre.
Given the independence of the centre, however, there are several provisions to include control and accountability measures relating to the investment of tax dollars through supporting this initiative. For example, the board of directors and the chair would be appointed by the minister, there would be an audit committee and a corporate plan, and an annual report would actually be presented to the minister. There would be annual public meetings and measures to dissolve the centre through various mechanisms if the government so chose.
Other issues, as the bill has moved through various stages of discussion, include recognition of gender equity. There was certainly some discussion at previous stages about other under-represented groups. The intention of the government was to be as inclusive as possible without necessarily listing various under-represented groups. We have had some interest vis-à-vis official languages. There are four different references in the Bill to reflect the importance of the official language considerations.
There has been some interest from the sport community as to how some of Sport Canada's own policies and practices might be called upon to be resolved within the centre. Those are areas that our Secretary of State has indicated a willingness to explore.
On the issue of the appointment of the executive director, it had originally been proposed that the minister would name that individual, but through various discussions that has been changed, and amendment was made to in fact allow the board of directors to name that person.
Those are some brief highlights, Madam Chairman. My colleagues and I would be happy to try to answer any questions that you may have at this time, recognizing that our Secretary of State, I believe, is planning to be here in a week or two as well.
Senator Murray: I have joined this committee only for the duration of this bill, and I will try not to wear out my welcome by taking up too much time.
By way of welcoming the witnesses, however, I think I should say, as you know, that I have a personal interest. If it is possible to say that one has known someone since before he was born, I have known the present witness for that time. However, that was then and this is now. He can expect no mercy. After all, the opposition has a job to do.
Just for the record, Mr. MacAdam, Sports Canada is part of the Department of Canadian Heritage, is it not?
Mr. MacAdam: That is correct.
Senator Murray: Do you report to the Minister of Canadian Heritage through the Secretary of State?
Mr. MacAdam: That is correct.
Senator Murray: You are the director general.
Mr. MacAdam: That is correct.
Senator Murray: Ballpark figures, what is your annual budget?
Mr. MacAdam: In terms of the contribution budget provided to various organizations, direct support to athletes or the support for hosting events, it is about $75 million. We have various operating and salary budgets that probably tally up to around $8 million or $9 million.
Senator Murray: How many employees?
Mr. MacAdam: There are approximately 80 employees in Sport Canada.
Senator Murray: I have just one question on the first part of the bill. You referred to the fact that the word ``amateur'' has been taken out of the previous act, the Fitness and Amateur Sport Act. I understand the reasons for that. We have professional athletes taking part in Olympic competition and amateur athletes being compensated for their participation, so the word ``amateur'' has been taken out.
In that context, and looking at the authorities that are given to the minister for grants and contributions and so forth under this act, could the minister and the government, if they so desired, invoke this act to subsidize professional sports teams, such as Canadian NHL teams and so forth?
Mr. MacAdam: The short answer is that they could. I do not think that is the intent.
Senator Murray: I am sure it is not the intent, but the possibility is there. I do not know how one would foreclose the possibility, but for the purposes of this act, the minister may provide financial assistance in the form of grants and contributions to any person, and there are other authorities here somewhere that I need not cite but which authorize financing of sport.
My preoccupation, Mr. MacAdam, is with the sport dispute resolution centre and why Parliament is being kept out of the loop here.
If I ask any questions that you feel are better answered by a minister, just say so and we will move right on.
As you have said, and as the bill points out, it is not a Crown corporation, and it is not a department of government. I am trying to establish what you call it. It is not a departmental corporation, it is not a special operating agency, it is not a departmental service agency, it is not a division or branch of the Public Service of Canada, and it is not an administrative tribunal.
I am reading from a Treasury Board Secretariat document here describing these various arrangements, and one is called ``Partnerships, Collaborative Arrangements.'' Is that what it is? They say here, ``partnerships and collaborative arrangements for the delivery of programs and services can include those with other levels of government, both within Canada and internationally, as well as with the private and not-for-profit sector, commercial or voluntary organizations.''
Is that what this proposed sport dispute resolution centre is going to be?
Mr. MacAdam: I am not familiar with the document you are referring to, senator.
Senator Murray: Treasury Board document.
Mr. MacAdam: Right. I believe under clause 9 in the act, it refers to the entity as a ``non-profit corporation.''
Senator Murray: Yes.
Mr. MacAdam: The question is, could this be done through other means, and the answer is yes.
Senator Murray: Yes.
Mr. MacAdam: The various organizations that Sport Canada supports on an annual basis are in fact national non- profit organizations. The answer to that question is yes, the government could choose, through its funding powers, to support the activities of this centre to the extent that it met the needs, as determined by its various constituents, and it furthered the objectives of the act in providing an opportunity to deal with these kinds of disputes, as they arise, in a flexible, cost-effective and expedient way.
Senator Murray: I looked at one of the speeches given by a minister, or testimony by an official, before the Commons committee. It was said that this was done under the alternative service delivery policy of the government, which is really under Treasury Board. If you were present at the creation, is this what it is? Were you involved with Treasury Board in the creation of this entity?
Mr. MacAdam: I was not personally involved in that early stage, but my understanding is that the non-profit status of this organization was intended to respond, through the various consultations that occurred before the model was proposed, to the need for it to be seen as an independent agency. Yet it would have certain accountabilities as it relates to government expectations in terms of financial accountability, its annual reports, or the governance of the organization.
While it has an independent flavour to it, there is no question that the intention is to try and balance that with other accountabilities.
Senator Murray: I appreciate that. It has an independent flavour and they want the independence. They want the financial advantages of being under the wing of the government. I take it, from what some minister said, ballpark again, the annual budget would be about $1 million?
Mr. MacAdam: That is correct.
Senator Murray: Is there any other significant source of revenue for the centre?
Mr. MacAdam: There would potentially be costs, user-fee type things, based on those organizations and individuals who would use it, but generally, the main source of funding would be public funding, that is correct.
Senator Murray: The accountability mechanisms are really accountability to the sports community, or, I suppose, to the public at large. They are not really to the minister as I read it, and certainly not to Parliament. What most people mean by ``arm's length'' is a body that is not subject to political or official interference in its business, and I think that is fair enough, especially with an organization such as you propose to set up.
The $1 million that is involved is not a huge amount in the context of $170 billion that we spend every year, but still there is the principle here. There is no requirement in this bill that the minister table the annual report in Parliament, or the corporate plan. Do you know why it would be such a terrible imposition on this new organization to require that the minister table the annual report in Parliament?
Mr. MacAdam: I can only refer back to the original intent of ensuring a balance among its independence, the need to ensure some accountability obviously to the public investments that are made, and the principles of trying to ensure that it is lean enough — an organization of 10 people — and flexible enough to deal with the kinds of issues with which it is intended to deal. At the end of the day, the considered opinion of the government was that this would be the right model to solve the right problem.
Senator Murray: Do you know of any other such organizations? I am sure that the public service can always produce a precedent for everything. Give me one, two or three similar or identical organizations.
Mr. MacAdam: I do not have, offhand, references.
Senator Murray: There is not a balance, Mr. MacAdam. There is quite an imbalance here, in my view. While there is a certain degree of accountability to the public and the centre will be required to send its annual report to the minister and then make it public — the same for its corporate plan and financial report — Parliament is completely out of the loop. We never see it. Our job is to fund them.
Will they be funded by an annual appropriation?
Mr. MacAdam: Yes.
Senator Murray: Every year we have the privilege of sending them $1 million, plus inflation, and that is it. Why would it be so awful to have the Auditor General audit the books?
Mr. MacAdam: Certainly, I am sure you should probably save some of these questions of trying to deal with the independence balance and accountability for our Secretary of State. That was seen to be the model that tried to do both. As you pointed out earlier, this could be created as a non-profit organization completely outside the scope of this proposed legislation.
Senator Murray: You referred to the four provisions of the bill that involve official languages. I agree with you, those provisions are adequate to protect the country's two official languages and rights. However, this raises the following question, which will be raised again when the Commissioner of Official Languages appears before this committee on November 20: why should the agency not be subject to the Official Languages Act?
There are four references, as you have said. It could be that they will be adequate protection, but it would be so much simpler to just make the centre subject to the Official Languages Act. Do you know why that could not be done or why that would be an impossible burden upon the centre?
Mr. MacAdam: This stems from the original starting point of the intent of not making this organization a federal institution, and, therefore, subject to all those related pieces of legislation, except to the extent there were discussions and recommendations to ensure it respected certain values, including official languages. Those amendments were proposed and accepted as part of the House consideration.
Senator Murray: The commissioner still wants, and made the point when she appeared before the Commons committee, the centre to be subject to the Official Languages Act.
I am perhaps giving some kind of notice of some questions that the minister may be faced with when he comes here.
The other two acts, of course, are Access to Information and the Privacy Act. I do not know what you have against those. He may want to say why he is against their application to a centre of this kind.
Finally, I raised the whole business of the dissolution at second reading. The bill would give the minister the right to dissolve the whole outfit, under certain conditions — if it were not passing bylaws and whatnot — and then distribute its assets. It is clause 35(1), where it says the minister may, by order, dissolve the centre, and then it gives a number of circumstances. Then, in the event of the dissolution, any property of the centre that remains after the payment of its debts and liabilities, or after the making of adequate provision for the payment of its debts and liabilities, may be transferred, not to the Consolidated Revenue Fund, but to any person or institution having a mission similar to that of the centre that the minister specifies in the order.
Well, if Parliament is asked to create this entity, and then if the minister or the government thinks it should be dissolved, they should come back to Parliament, ask us to dissolve it, and tell us why.
Mr. MacAdam: I am not entirely clear, in terms of the dissolution provisions, where those assets would go.
Senator Murray: Neither am I.
Mr. MacAdam: I would be certainly happy to inquire.
Senator Murray: Do you have anyone in mind?
Mr. MacAdam: I believe it is related to the status of the organization as a non-profit entity.
Senator Murray: She may, by order, dissolve. If I understand ``by order,'' it means by her own fiat. It is not even an Order in Council, much less an act of Parliament. We are being asked to set this thing up. It seems to me that if it is to be dissolved, the government should come back and say, ``Please dissolve this for the following reasons.''
The Deputy Chairman: Did you want to answer that or comment?
Mr. Roger Charland, Legal Counsel, Sport Canada: I will just point out to the committee that the provisions for the dissolution, especially regarding the transfer to any person or institution having a mission similar to that of the centre, is, as indicated by Mr. MacAdam, consistent with other not-for-profit corporations where, when they are dissolved, the assets usually go to other not-for-profit corporations with similar objects.
Senator Murray: They are not all financed by the government.
Senator Morin: I would like to deal with a completely different aspect. We are at different ends of the bill. I would like to deal with physical activity. I understand that the title of the bill is ``An Act to promote physical activity and sport.'' I will deal with the physical activity part of it, which, in my mind, is as important as sport.
This is a new bill, so it brings in a new outlook, new legislation and new programs on this issue. Am I mistaken in saying that, as this is a new bill, if I go into the objects and mandate of the minister under the bill, everything that deals with physical activity is nearly word-for-word what was in the previous legislation? Actually, I am told that subclauses (a) to (j) are taken from the previous Fitness and Amateur Sport Act.
Mr. MacAdam: That is correct.
Senator Morin: I am surprised at this, because it is probably one of the major priorities in public health in Canada right now. As you know, one third of Canadians are obese, and there is creeping obesity amongst children. Everyone realizes that. One of the major causes of that is a sedentary lifestyle. Our kids, and even we ourselves, are not as active as we should be, and this promotes, in addition to obesity, all sorts of conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and so forth. I will not go into that, but you realize the importance of this.
Now, as far as I can gather, the federal government is doing less in the field of support for physical activity than it was before. The Participaction program was in full bloom a few years ago and is now no longer in existence.
There are a number of initiatives and programs, and this field is really moving forward quickly. With this proposed legislation, we have the opportunity to set up new policies, new mandates and objects for the minister to ensure that this physical activity would be at the forefront of our health policy in Canada.
I am amazed that it is word-for-word the same as the previous legislation. There is so much progress and innovation in that field that we should at least have thought of that, especially if it is being done in other countries. What we are setting up with this new bill has nothing to with physical activity. We are setting up a resolution centre for sport, and that is it. I do not know why we are calling this a new bill, at least as far as 50 per cent of the objects addressed.
Mr. MacAdam: Senator, as indicated at the outset, there is no question that this exercise is to modernize the legislation. To the extent that it is a very permissive measure, it will be allowed, through the government spending power, to engage in support for various programs to support the objects of the bill, both in sport and physical activity. That is still the case in terms of how it relates to the previous legislation.
To the extent that it also entrenches the government's policies vis-à-vis sport and physical activity, I can tell you that with the recent adoption of the Canadian sport policy, 14 governments have come together on a common vision of the efforts they would make toward encouraging the development of sport in Canada. This is one of those tools that are identified as a key part of this measure.
It is not the case that there are many new measures in this bill. The ADR that would be created by this bill is a new organization. As well, there are certain new powers provided to the minister. Generally, it is still a permissive piece of proposed legislation that will allow the government, through its spending power and in partnership with national organizations and provincial and territorial governments, to provide direct support to athletes. It will allow it to further the objects of this bill and the role of the Government of Canada in support of both physical activity and sport.
Senator Morin: If I understand correctly, there is no one here from Health Canada. When we talk about physical activity, I take it we are talking about the Minister of Health?
Mr. MacAdam: Under the current responsibilities, that is the way it exists. Obviously, the Governor in Council could, at another time, look at a realignment of those responsibilities.
Senator Cordy: It is certainly nice to see that the sport legislation has been modernized. It has taken a few years to get it done.
Our committee has just completed a study of the health care system. As a result, physical activity is extremely important to the members of the committee in ensuring the wellness of Canadians, and young people in particular.
I have read the information on the sport dispute resolution centre. Can you explain what it will be? To date, we have had nothing in place. My understanding is that it is in place in other countries. Could you explain it?
Mr. MacAdam: Over the years, we have seen more and more cases of disputes arising between organizations and between athletes and organizations. Through various programming support, we encourage, and in fact insist, that organizations have appropriate appeal mechanisms within their organizations. However, from time to time, these things spill over into the courts. Therefore, they are dealt with through those processes and can be very expensive and emotional. In many cases, they relate to the selection of athletes prior to major games competitions. Thus, the need is certainly there.
The intent is to create this independent agency to deal with these kinds of disputes. It should be flexible, quick and cost-effective. The intention is that it would engage a series of arbitrators who would be trained in this area. In fact an interim mechanism has been in place for the last 10 months. It is an interim agency that was created pending the eventual adoption of the proposed legislation. The idea is that it would be a small entity with about 10 staff members. Senator Murray mentioned the budget that was discussed. In that regard, we are probably looking at about $1 million. It would also have a small secretariat that would manage cases as they came in. There would be a cadre of arbitrators who would be available to deal with these kinds of disputes. As well, there would be a resource centre within the organization that would provide information to organizations in terms of comparing precedents and so on.
Senator Cordy: Would the arbitrators be full-time employees of the centre?
Mr. MacAdam: No, they would not.
Senator Cordy: Would you bring them in as needed?
Mr. MacAdam: That is correct.
Senator Cordy: You mentioned athletes who believe they have been cut unjustly from a team. This centre would speed up the process rather than going through the courts.
Is doping a matter with which the centre would be dealing, or would that be left to the Olympic committee or whomever?
Mr. MacAdam: The intention is that doping issues would be brought under the purview of the centre. Currently, doping infractions and reinstatement cases are dealt with through a separate process. The idea would be to bring these under the auspices of this ADR mechanism.
Senator Cordy: Would the resolutions be binding on the individuals who would be using the centre?
Mr. Charland: It is my understanding that the current interim arbitration code and the arbitration agreement that the athletes and the national sports organizations entered into indicate that the arbitration is binding. The centre would have the discretion to impose the same type of rules within its own code. Those involved in this arbitration process could then agree as to the binding nature of it.
Senator Murray: What does ``binding'' mean in terms of the right to go to the courts?
Mr. Charland: Depending on the provincial laws and where the arbitration process takes place, it usually limits the avenue to the courts to judicial reviews. Various provinces have, in their own provincial legislation, rules and provisions dealing with binding arbitration and how a judicial review can be brought to the courts and whether or not there can be an appeal. It prevents these cases from going back to the courts and the entire case being heard anew. It opens doors to judicial review.
Senator Murray: Help me. You are the professional here. Judicial review would concern itself with natural justice, due process and so forth, and not with the facts of the case?
Mr. Charland: There may be cases where a manifest and gross error of fact would be tantamount to an error in law, which would open the door to judicial review, depending on the province, and I cannot speak for them all. You are correct that it is not a direct de novo appeal.
Senator Cordy: I am now getting back to Senator Murray's line of questioning. If I am repeating what has already been asked, please tell me.
You said that the centre would receive approximately $1 million a year. Would you be accountable to the minister? How does the line of accountability work?
Mr. MacAdam: This would be an independent organization that would be a non-profit corporation. It would be accountable through various means, including an annual audit, corporate plan and/or reports. The minister would have the ability to name the board of directors. In turn, the board would identify the executive director. Obviously, there would be a direct contribution agreement between, presumably, Sport Canada and this organization that would specify other accountability standards for organizations in receipt of funding and issues around governance, standards for official languages, auditing, et cetera. Those would be the accountability mechanisms that would be in place.
Senator Cordy: You say that it will be independent. Would the extent of the accountability be through a financial statement to the minister, or would there be more than that?
Mr. MacAdam: No. There are specific provisions to allow the minister to name the board of directors and the chairperson, which would be unusual to the extent that that does not exist now for any of the other non-profit organizations supported by Sport Canada.
There would be specific provisions for an audit committee. The minister would actually receive and approve an annual corporate plan and receive an annual report. There would be public meetings of the organization, and there would be the provision or the power for the minister to actually dissolve the centre if it did not meet certain parameters of the expectations for it.
Senator Murray: The minister will receive and approve the corporate plan and annual report. I do not believe that is what Clause 32 of the bill says. I understand that they will prepare one, and they will send it to her. That is it. I do not see that she has to approve it at all.
And then the centre shall make the plan public.
Maybe I am missing something here. I do not think they are very accountable to the minister, except that the minister can dissolve them. I think once we fund it, that is it. They send it to her. It is in her in-basket, or perhaps out- basket, somewhere.
Senator Cordy: That is what I read, is it is just a financial report.
You mentioned public meetings. What would you mean by that? Is this to inform the public about the centre, so they are getting good value for their money?
Mr. MacAdam: As a national non-profit agency, they would be required under their bylaws to have annual meetings of the organization.
Senator Cordy: Public annual meetings?
Mr. MacAdam: Yes.
The Deputy Chairman: I have a supplementary to Senator Cordy's question.
The minister appoints the board of directors. Are there any guidelines, criteria, or rules of selection, or are the board of directors appointed regionally? Are there equality, language or sport organization issues? Are there any specific instructions that the minister would have to follow? A board of directors appointed by the minister is pretty accountable to the minister, I would say. Will sports organizations have input into who is on the board of directors?
Mr. MacAdam: Yes. In fact, under clause 14, there are provisions to establish guidelines by which the directors would be chosen. The guidelines would include issues related to gender equity, to representation within the sporting community, and there is a reference to the bilingual character of society. There would be guidelines developed in consultation with the sport community. These are not necessarily established at this point, but they would include those kinds of issues.
The Deputy Chairman: When you consider the number of sports bodies and sports communities, to try and boil it all down to 12 directors is probably a Herculean task, and you might have some very serious competing and conflicting interests as you try to make this board totally representative.
Mr. MacAdam: Certainly, that is the case with many national non-profit organizations today, to the extent that there are various considerations in comprising the actual dozen or so directors who would be identified, relating to issues of gender, regional representation, expertise and the official languages. Those are obviously the various criteria that would be balanced and juggled within the mix of individuals who would be selected by the minister.
The Deputy Chairman: Then the board of directors selects the executive director?
Mr. MacAdam: That is correct.
Senator Fairbairn: I would like to touch on the area of policies in this bill, which presumably provide the umbrella under which the activities of the proposed legislation are carried out.
I see under subclause 3(c) that one of the objectives of the government's policy regarding physical activity is to assist in reducing barriers faced by all Canadians that prevent them from being active. You next refer to the full and fair participation of all persons in sport. In provision 5, ``Objects and Mandate,'' (m) talks about facilitating the participation of under-represented groups in the Canadian sport system.
In recent years, there has been a fairly noticeable and helpful shift in policy, as it has been expressed by the government through the minister, toward athletes in this country. Very often, the viewing public tends to focus on our Olympic athletes. However, there has been an effort to share that playing field with different, but equal, athletes — those with disabilities, our Paralympic athletes and our Special Olympics athletes. I am wondering whether these points under the headings of policy and objectives and mandate are, while quite generic in what they say, nonetheless intended to provide guarantees that for these groups, not just as it relates to competitive sport, but also to the development of physical activity within our population, both adult and young, these particular areas are, indeed, entrenched in these words. Is it the intent of the government to continue, which I believe it has been doing in an admirable way in recent years, almost to guarantee that that level of competition, that level of development in citizens, will take place in an equal way while respecting those differences?
Mr. MacAdam: Certainly you will know, senator, probably more than any around this table, the importance of this reference, to the extent that it deals with various groups that have, over the years, been under-represented in terms of benefiting from various policies, programs and funding. The objective here is to capture all of those groups, whether it is women, disabled persons, Special Olympians, Paralympians or Aboriginal Canadians. There is no question that while the notion of a guarantee is probably not intended here, through various programs, policies and funding, obviously, the government has supported and will continue to support programs for some of those groups that do not have the means to participate as fully as others.
You mentioned the special population of disabled athletes. You will know that over the years, the government has considerably increased its investment in their organizations. Can we do more? Probably.
As for the Paralympic movement, you will also know of the commitment of the Government of Canada to support the eventual staging of the Vancouver-Whistler 2010 Olympics and Paralympic Games, which would be an incredible boost for our Paralympic athletes. Our carding programs have increased support for those populations. Certainly, I think the intent here is captured by the notion of an encompassing statement in many areas of the proposed legislation.
It attempts to ensure that the tools are there to actually provide the funding, resources and the special focus for those organizations and populations that perhaps need a greater helping hand.
Senator Fairbairn: Thank you, Mr. MacAdam.
When the minister comes to the committee, it would be helpful if he too would focus his remarks on the various groups that you have mentioned. I am delighted that you included the Aboriginal athletes too. When we talk about the well-being of the nation, we are talking about groups here that deserve that playing field. Also, the examples that they present to others, particularly young people, are quite unique.
I would certainly always be supportive of this. I would love to see some of the words actually in the bill, but I hope the minister will expand on this a bit when he comes.
Senator Léger: The bill proposes an act to promote physical activity and sport. It is only sports. Is it specialty sports? It is important. I want specialty sports and the Paralympics and all of that included. It demands a whole section. Physical activity? Maybe ``activity'' starts with an A. Maybe they wanted to proceed in alphabetical order. Does physical activity belong to another bill, or is that in the same bill? I do not know if it belongs in your centre.
Mr. MacAdam: The current discharging of responsibility under the old Fitness and Amateur Sport Act is separated between the Canadian Heritage and the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport. Issues around the physical activity and fitness side currently rest with the Minister of Health.
Obviously, through the Governor in Council, that could be changed at any time. As a representative of Sport Canada, I am speaking primarily to the issues around the sport side of things. However, there is no question that the intent of the act is to cover, and commit the government to, programs and policies as they relate to pure sport delivery systems and sport activities, sport organizations and support for athletes, as well as the broader promotion of physical activity as it relates to the casual participation of Canadians in various recreational pursuits.
It goes further and actually identifies how the act would eventually entrench the government's policies, with ``policy'' meaning the articulation of what it intends to do in supporting these areas.
I am speaking more directly to the sport side, given Sport Canada's current responsibility for discharging that side of the equation, but there is no question that the intent here is that the government would commit to the promotion of the physical activities side. Your committee has heard recently the reports related to health and the importance of physical activity as a determinant of health. Recently, the government, through the ministers of health both federally and provincially, has engaged in a process dealing with a healthy living strategy.
Those are the kinds of downstream programs, policies, funding, et cetera, that would relate more specifically to the physical activity side of this particular bill.
Senator Léger: Do I understand that physical activity belongs to Health?
Mr. MacAdam: I would not say, ``belongs to,'' but under the current division of responsibilities, the promotion of physical activity is under the auspices of the Minister of Health.
The question is how do you separate out sport and physical activity? The continuum is not entirely clear, in terms of where one starts and the other one ends. The premise of your question is accurate to the extent that, under the current discharging of responsibilities, the promotion of physical activity rests with the Minister of Health.
Senator Léger: It is not equal. There are many people who do not and will never take part in sports. I feel that sport is being elevated. Thank God. I am in favour of that, for sure. It is because we are in favour of elevating sports that we are all discussing it — to improve it.
However, probably 85 per cent to 90 per cent of the adult population will not go and play golf, but they need physical activities too. Children also need physical activities.
Mr. MacAdam: There is no question. Again, I do not think that anyone is suggesting that the sport side of things captures the entirety of our Canadian population. There is no question that the data shows that there are over 10 million Canadians actively involved in sports, whether as participants or volunteers. The Mills committee report tried to highlight the importance there.
I do not dispute your suggestion that the physical activities side also encompasses a great number of Canadians. I cannot speak for the specific programs within the Department of Health that focus on participating there. I believe we are seeing every day, however, greater evidence that physical activity can be a tool against some of the things that we have seen in recent months, including the question of obesity in our children and an aging population. There is no question that the government will have to deal with these issues.
I believe that the bill provides a framework that will allow the government to deal with these things in partnership with other stakeholders, including provincial and territorial governments and the non-profit organizations working in this area. Can more be done? I agree with your premise that more needs to be done.
I am sure that the Secretary of State will have a point of view on this when you meet with him as well.
Senator Cook: Thank you for your patience. I ask for your indulgence and to be patient with me while I endeavour to understand some of the points here.
I want to talk about an evaluation process for the sport dispute resolution centre. Are you going to determine if it is a success or if it is adequately funded? Is there an evaluation process in place? I do not see it here in the bill. Perhaps I am missing it. Who has the responsibility for it?
Who will be the creator of and the sign-off person on the bylaws? Are there parameters for the bylaws that will come from this board of directors for the centre?
Mr. MacAdam: As to your first question, how do we know it is successful, I believe that certainly as the government enters into funding relationships with any organizations, there are various methods employed to determine the outcomes as it relates to the objects and the accountability and the terms and conditions of the funding. As for a specific program evaluation, as currently exists in many government departments in evaluating the performance of programs against stated objectives, spot audits would likely be done from time to time.
The annual report would obviously provide some mechanism for understanding the success of the ADR as it relates to the cases that it has heard. The opinion of stakeholders who are participating in the system would obviously be another method of determining the success or failure of the systems and procedures.
I believe there is a combination of tools that could be used to actually determine the effectiveness of this particular organization, much as any other organization that is in receipt of public funding would be subject to those kinds of evaluations from time to time, whether they are formal evaluations, audits or a review of annual reports.
That would be my comment on the evaluation in terms of measuring value for money and whether or not they are achieving the objectives set by the government.
There is a series of 17 specific provisions to identify the kinds of elements required in the bylaws created for the organization. The board of directors, following the guidelines established here, would be responsible for developing them.
Senator Cook: I refer you to clause 5, which states, ``...encourage, promote and develop physical activity and sport...'' The bill mentions making financial arrangements with the provinces to support that. As we know from our recent health study, that can vary from province to province and in the territories.
Thus, I am seeking some transparency in the evaluation process. When you encourage provinces that may vary in need and ability, such as the small Province of Newfoundland, to enter into such financial arrangements to promote it, I would like to see some transparency in the evaluation process, given that we are a diverse country.
Mr. MacAdam: Perhaps, if I understand your suggestion, clause 5 identifies the powers of the minister, as identified by Governor in Council, and the range of tools that he or she would have for advancing the objects of the act. The discussion we just had, related to the evaluation of the performance of the centre itself, is a little different.
The object in clause 5 is to provide the flexibility to allow the Government of Canada to enter into agreements with the provinces on specific projects and initiatives to advance physical activity, sport, or perhaps a pilot project related to disabled athletes. Those are the kinds of initiatives that are contemplated under clause 5.
Your earlier question about evaluation of the performance of the centre is a little different.
Senator Cook: Yes, I understand that.
When we talk about funding and agreements with provinces for the promotion and implementation of an activity, we are talking about dollars and cents. Depending on what it is for, part would come from the Minister of Health and part may come from one of two other ministers. Is that how the pie would be divided?
Mr. MacAdam: That is correct. I mentioned earlier the recent adoption of a Canadian sport policy. It provides an opportunity for the federal and provincial governments to enter into cost-sharing arrangements to support initiatives that would achieve the common goal. Whether the project encompasses the development of disabled athletes or the encouragement of active schools, those are the kinds of initiatives that are contemplated to permit the federal government to enter into some of those arrangements.
Obviously, as those funds are transferred, there would need to be accountability to ensure that they are achieving the intended objective. There would be a variety of tools used to trace that achievement, whether via formal audits or program evaluations. It would be much like any other government department or program would undergo in the normal course of evaluating the effectiveness of such funds.
Senator Cook: I am preoccupied with obesity in children and my focus is on the programs for physical education in schools. I come from a province that is not poor but is very challenged — Newfoundland. My focus is on obesity in children and how much we can expect to see flowing here, from a needs point of view.
Mr. MacAdam: Senator, most people would agree with your assessment that it is a growing problem. The evidence seems to be more and more clear. Certainly, we would agree that a key place to start is in our school systems. There are obvious jurisdictional issues around the federal government's involvement with schools.
At the national consultations that led up to the Canadian sport policy development, that was probably a common thread heard from every region of the country. There have to be very specific initiatives in place through funding relationships, changes to the curriculum and whatever else it takes to ensure that our kids are active and that those habits are ingrained early in life. That will have an effect on whether our children continue with an active lifestyle later on in life.
I think you made that point through your report. We expect to hear more and more of that as we move forward. Federal-provincial ministers of sport had the opportunity to present to the Romanow commission and they were focused on this particular issue. It is our collective hope that the programs and policies will be in place to reverse the growing trend of obesity and the problems that will result in 10 or 20 years from now as these young children grow up to be less active than they ought to be.
The Deputy Chairman: I thank our witnesses from Sport Canada. Our next witnesses are from Sport Matters and Athletes CAN.
Ms. Joan Duncan, Sport Matters: Thank you for providing us with the opportunity to appear before the committee.
It is our pleasure to be able to be of service to the committee in its deliberations on Bill C-12.
Sport Matters is a group of senior leaders in sport, both volunteers and staff persons of national sport and multi- sport organizations, who are concerned with the future role and contribution of sport to Canadian society. We are here today to advise you of our support for Bill C-12. We feel that it is a cornerstone of the government's commitment to the value of sport and physical activity to society. We have heard some of your members speak so eloquently about the role that sport and physical activity play in Canadian society — certainly about its ability to contribute to healthy living, social cohesion, to addressing issues such as youth at risk and, certainly, to our national pride.
We feel that the item that has been raised most often in these recent conversations, with respect to the confusion about and the concern for physical activity and sport, draws attention to one of our primary areas of concern as indicated in provision 2, where we define ``the minister.''
It is of concern to us that we do have a division between sport and physical activity. Certainly in the past, we had a department of Fitness and Amateur Sport and we would very much like to see to see these brought back under one ministry for implementation, not necessarily through changes to the act.
We talk about the important role of physical activity at Sport Matters constantly, as well as the importance to us of linking the strategies of physical activity and sport. Any emphasis that can be given to trying to bring them back under one umbrella would be very helpful.
Mr. Victor Lachance, Sport Matters: In the past, we have expressed some concern that the alternative dispute resolution centre would also apply to Sport Canada. The way the legislation reads now, it is generally portrayed as being consensual.
We have received a letter from the Secretary of State indicating that Sport Canada is likely to participate in the ADR centre in those areas that are appropriate. It will not be for policy or financial matters, but for programming areas.
We have some confidence that this will be the case, and that those programming areas will be identified soon by Sport Canada, so that we can all know what will be covered by ADR, because as a matter of principle, if it is good for sport, it should be good for all of us involved in sport.
We also know that Sport Canada is developing a process to select and appoint directors to the board of directors of the centre. At this stage the information has not been made public. We believe nevertheless that this process will be transparent, fair, and equitable. It will surely involve consulting the community to ensure that the process is accountable.
We also very clearly wanted an Ombudsman's office for sport — something that we had hoped would appear in the bill. We are not here to tell you that this is necessarily a concern of ours, only to say that it is now included in the proposed Canadian strategy for ethical conduct in sport, which is being developed and supported by the federal, provincial and territorial governments. We are confident that the notion of an Ombudsman's office will be coming before the ministers responsible for sport soon enough. We also trust that the Secretary of State will be championing this item, which would otherwise have been in the bill. We are satisfied that it is being pursued under the ethics strategy, but we hope that we are not giving up something now to receive nothing in the future.
Obviously, we were privy to some of the earlier conversations about the independence of the centre. I feel compelled to tell you that the sport community is one of the proponents of that independence. We understand that you are considering the difference between something that reports directly to Parliament and a not-for-profit organization, totally independent of government control, other than funding from time to time. However, we feel that the way the centre has been developed and proposed in the bill does provide balance, perhaps a fine balance. We believe it provides the stability that only legislation can, while maintaining the arms-length independence. That may be novel, but we think that that is responsive to what the sport community would like. We think it is responsive to what athletes want to see. I think that if athletes see a purely governmental instrument, something with which they are not familiar, they will not draw much confidence from it. Conversely, if it is entirely out of the orbit of government, history tends to show that it will be operated by people who are perhaps not sensitive to athletes, and who, over time, become more administrative rather than responsive. We think that the bill has tried to capture a balance. We also think that it will attract quality arbitrators, as opposed to being seen purely as an instrument of government. The interim program has been able to attract internationally recognized arbitrators like Richard McLaren, Yves Fortier and others of that calibre. We hope that the centre will continue to be able to do so, and we feel confident it will, given the way the bill currently structures it. We also think that since the bill sets up its use to be consensual, that is better achieved the way it is currently structured. If people see it purely as government-driven, I think that you will have to compel them to use it. I do not think that that necessarily gives us what we want in terms of an alternative to the courts, where people who know sport can be part of it, can be sensitive and responsive to sport's needs. We believe that the way it is set up, while perhaps different from what we are currently used to, is responsive to what the sport community has asked for.
The Deputy Chairman: Thank you, Mr. Lachance. Welcome, Mr. Jones.
Mr. Tom Jones, Executive Director, Athletes CAN: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to appear before you to discuss Bill C-12.
My background is as a former athlete, a former Olympian in the sport of volleyball, and I am the current executive director of Athletes CAN. Athletes CAN is the representative voice of Canadian high-performance athletes. It is committed fully to the principles of inclusion. Our organization includes Aboriginal athletes, Paralympic athletes, Olympic and non-Olympic athletes, as well as athletes competing in world championships. We are one of the most inclusive athlete organizations in the world, and we are very pleased to contribute to the development process of this bill and to Canadian sport.
It is a very important time for leadership in sport. I hope you will see by the actions of Canadian athletes that they are taking a leadership role in the development of this bill and in Canadian sport. This past May, Athletes CAN appeared before the parliamentary sub-committee for Bill C-54, which is now Bill C-12. Our submission at that time is available, and we will be sending that to the clerk for your consideration in due course.
At that time, we communicated our support for Bill C-54. We were certainly convinced that it was very good for athletes.
Since then, events have occurred which highlighted and emphasized the importance of sport and physical activity.
Sport and physical activity were included in the most recent Throne Speech. There was a commitment from the sport and health communities to get together in 2003 for a conference. We also noticed that there are working groups within federal, provincial and territorial governments, which indicates to us that the sport community and government are actually working together in a very productive way. We think that is very positive. Finally, you will see before you a yellow sheet that we distributed today, which touches on an athlete declaration produced in September by Canadian national team high-performance athletes. Some of the themes I will touch on briefly are outlined in that six-point declaration.
The following are our comments on the objectives pursued by this bill.
We feel that Bill C-12 is very good for athletes and good for sport and physical activity in Canada. Bill C-12 updates the existing, outdated legislation. It has been some 30 or 35 years —
The Deputy Chairman: It has been 40.
Mr. Jones: Thank you. We are working out our math here.
It is certainly a timely and appropriate measure. We want to reinforce the importance, as you will see in the declaration, of merging sport and physical activity under the same ministry and the creation of a department of physical activity and sport. This was called for in the Mills report in 1998. You will see it under point 3 of the declaration. I will not keep referring to that declaration, but I certainly hope you will read it and give it due consideration.
Bill C-12 encourages intergovernmental cooperation and coordination. One thing that has come out of the National Summit on Sport and the entire lead-up to that process has been joint planning and collaboration. We are pleased to see that the work groups from the FPT committee — there are 11 of them — seem to be up and running in a positive way.
Bill C-12 also provides a basis for investment in a comprehensive sport development system. We have been involved in the processes of developing the national sport policy, as has the entire sport community. This has been a consistent theme and Bill C-12 assists with that. We really applaud it as a very positive first step.
Ultimately, we are all trying to build a system that provides opportunities from playground to podium, and well beyond that. We think that is positive.
It also sets the basis for athletes to be able to compete on behalf of Canada and to pursue winning on behalf of Canada. That is an important statement.
We need to provide athletes with the tools to do that, however, and we think this proposed enabling legislation allows that process not only to continue but to accelerate.
Bill C-12 provides an environment for increased participation in sport and physical activity. This is a very important point. You will see in some of the literature before you that this provides a basis for a re-emphasis — in fact, a heavy emphasis — on sport in schools. We have touched on it today during the discussions. We think that is a very critical element, not only for young people at this stage, but for the future of Canadian society in general.
We also think that that lays the groundwork for investment in sport infrastructure. We talk about access and opportunities for children — and not only children, but for all elements of Canadian society. We think that investment is an important one. We also think it is important to recognize the time and commitment of coaches, volunteers and parents who are enabling our young people to get active and physically fit.
Finally, I will touch on the alternative dispute resolution process, or ADR. In the view of athletes, and I speak on behalf of all Canadian athletes, we feel this is not only a welcome development, but a very much needed one. In the past, there has not always been the fairest system for the resolution of disputes, and certainly not the inexpensive and timely one that is proposed under this bill. We do recommend, however, that the ADR system be made mandatory for all parties. We have, in fact, recommended that that process be made mandatory through the traditional levers of Sport Canada.
We also encourage earlier involvement in processes such as selection, funding and involvement of teams. We encourage the involvement of athletes in those decisions through membership on councils and decision-making bodies. We feel athletes should be involved in any process that affects them. This proposed legislation enables that to occur and we are very supportive of that.
We will place our faith in the processes for the appointments to the ADR board and the hiring of the ADR centre staff. We reserve the right to observe from afar, but we do have confidence at this stage that that will go forward. We also have confidence in the ability of Sport Canada to provide a fair and appropriate means of abiding by the ADR process. There will be decisions that involve Sport Canada, and we do want them to comply and be involved where appropriate.
In summation, I want to pass along to this committee that Athletes CAN believes that Bill C-12 is a good, enabling piece of proposed legislation. We support its passage.
The Deputy Chairman: Thank you very much, Mr. Jones. Your last statement more or less answered a question I was going to ask, about the confidence of your association, or both your associations, in the consultation process on the selection of the board. You feel you will be properly consulted and that people on that board will truly reflect the interests of your organizations. Mr. Lachance made a comment about it as well. It is a bit of a leap of faith, but you feel for now that you will be consulted and you will have enough input into the appointments to the board of directors. Am I correct?
Mr. Lachance: We do to some degree. Sometimes we are advised that guidelines of this kind cannot be made public while the bill is still before you. If that is accurate, fine, but anything we can know to confirm that our confidence is not misplaced, we would welcome. However, from what we understand so far, we feel there will be the appropriate consultation and participatory process to ensure the board is reflective and responsive.
The Deputy Chairman: Thank you.
Senator Cordy: The good thing was that you got to hear some of the conversations.
Mr. Lachance, I was pleased to hear your thoughts on the independence of the centre. That helped me.
Mr. Jones, speaking as an elementary school teacher in my other life, I found your comment about sports in schools certainly well founded. The difficulty that I found over the years was that one of the first things that school boards cut when funding is tight seems to be the physical education programs, despite all of the studies that show that if kids are physically active they will do better academically.
I have just a short question, as you were all very clear on your approval of Bill C-12, once Bill C-54, which also makes me feel better. Like Senator LeBreton earlier, I was wondering about the consultation. You both mentioned that you talked to the department or the minister. Was there consultation on Bill C-54, now Bill C-12, before it was drafted?
Ms. Duncan: There was considerable consultation and there were amendments that went to committee as a result of the input from the sport community. In fact, all of the issues that we raised at that time have been addressed, either through assurances — for example, with respect to how the board of directors will be selected — or through actual changes to the bill.
Mr. Jones: I might mention also that while I am here speaking on behalf of athletes today, I also play a role with Athletes CAN, our organization, and am a very active member of Sport Matters, which is represented today by Mr. Lachance and Ms. Duncan. There was a strong degree of consultation and input through Sport Matters. There were a number of papers drafted on amendments to the bill and input was reflected through Sport Matters. We feel very comfortable with that process.
Senator Cordy: I am very pleased to hear that.
Senator Fairbairn: It is important for us to hear from you today. I am glad you came and brought this document with you. It is not only helpful for us but it is encouraging to see the degree to which the system has changed in terms of the participation and voice of the athletes being represented by people such as yourselves. I know that you were part of the whole summit process. Sometimes people think that these exercises are not worthwhile. I think in this case they were. You have helped refine this proposed legislation.
It gives us all a comfort level. We all certainly like the education part, because we have gone through an almost frightening experience on these issues in our committee during our health study. I thank you not just for coming today but also for the input you have given. That you have been involved to the degree that you have and succeeded to the degree you have certainly gives us a level of comfort.
Mr. Jones: I would like to refer you to a fuller version of what you see before you, with policy links and other references.
The Deputy Chairman: While doing our health care study, most of us remembered that there was actually a class in school called ``Health.'' That has sort of fallen off.
Senator Fairbairn: And physical education, whether you liked it or not.
The Deputy Chairman: Poor old Health has been taken off the curriculum.
Senator Léger: Thank you for waiting and giving us your information. When I hear the word ``sport,'' I think of a specialty. I wonder if people, when they read this, will immediately think, ``Oh, that is not for me.'' In the schools, we will call it gymnastics. They need their time, and I know they do not have enough of it. It is only sport here, and physical activity is there also. Let us think of the workplace, with people in front of little machines moving their fingers all day long, and they cannot move about. I am sure the government will have to budget a great deal of money to build gymnasiums, and they will have to stop after a certain time. Those things are coming up. We could start in the Senate. I have been sitting down since 7:45 this morning.
Should there be subdivisions in sport? To make it clear, I am not against sports at all, but for me it is an art. I am sort of an artist in my line, so for me it is something quite elevated. We do have the word ``amateur,'' but even that word has now come to mean someone who is very noted or who knows about something. I know ``professional'' means you live by it. With just the word ``sport,'' do you feel we should also include as many paragraphs on all the others?
Ms. Duncan: I think that there are few kitchen tables in this country where, on a daily or weekly basis, sport is not a topic of conversation. When young children go out to participate, they do not say, ``I am going out to be physically active.'' The attraction for them is sport. Look at sport as being the hook or the tool that we use to help attract Canadians to being physically active, and also to keep them physically active. It is not the only tool, but I think it is a very significant one to which considerable attention is paid through all kinds of media.
Senator Léger: I certainly agree with that. In other words, it may be my conception, and maybe I represent other Canadian citizens, but when they do physical activity, they will call that ``sport,'' and when they hear the word ``sport,'' they understand what you are saying and do not think of the Olympic competition.
Mr. Lachance: I think it helps to think not so much of naming what they do, but why they do it.
Senator Léger: It is the mentality.
Mr. Lachance: You find that people take part in sport for fun, for camaraderie, for mastery of a skill. I will not get corny on you, but the reason we have sport is because of what it offers us, and we construct it this way. Take golf as an example. If the purpose is to put the ball in the hole, give me the ball and I will drop it in and the job is done; however, that is not what we do. You give me a funny looking stick, you put the ball on the ground, you put the hole 300 yards away, you put sand and water and trees in my way, and then you say, ``Now put the ball in the hole.'' The reason we do that is because over time, we have come to see how sport is about creating this kind of environment where we can challenge ourselves. We can try to pursue self-improvement, and we do it with others, which we enjoy. We enjoy it so much that we create sport to enable it to give that back to us. After a while, we are really pursuing human excellence. We are pursuing the human potential. We want everyone to experience that, whether it is giving them physical activity, health, or sport opportunities. I think this bill wants to give all of that to Canadians and to construct it in such a way that there is access, understanding and support for it, and a government that leads the way. That is why we support the bill.
Senator Léger: I certainly hope that is what is here, because that is what sport is all about. That is what life is all about.
Mr. Jones: It is important to remember that every Olympian and every Olympic athlete started as a young person in usually a different pursuit from the one they ended up mastering and excelling in. I love those images during games, whether Commonwealth Games or whatever major games it is, where they show a profile of a medallist or someone who has done their very best. Everyone can see that that little curling rink or hockey rink or baseball field that started this athlete's dreams led somewhere. It is really nice to keep that in mind. Sport is very inclusive and ranges from physical activity, introduction to sport, right up to the podium level.
Senator Léger: I do think that we all applaud that, we all want that success, and when we applaud, we certainly know there was a beginning somewhere. Thank you.
The Deputy Chairman: I enjoyed your golf analogy, but in the next committee, you should do one about curling: about throwing a great big rock down a sheet of ice, and then getting men to sweep it who have never swept out the kitchen floor in their lives.
On behalf of the committee, I thank you for your very compelling testimony. Again, I apologize for our tardiness in starting.
The committee adjourned.