Evidence of meeting #35 for Canadian Heritage in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was sport.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

12:45 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Swimming Canada

Pierre Lafontaine

More than anything, though, the offshoot of a great vision, I think, is pride. You can't put a price on pride. You can't put a price on what it does to families. I'm not sure we even know the long-term positive effect of fitness when we have people who are 60 and 70 years old learning new skills and feeling great about themselves.

So we are about building people through our sports.

12:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

That's it, Mr. Hillyer. Five minutes can go pretty fast.

Mr. Dubé.

12:45 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

There is another issue I would like to discuss. It has to do with what Mr. Brown said about supporting athletes after the games. In my opinion, that's very important. In fact, athletes face the same prejudices as artists. We all see athletes of the Sydney Crosby or Tiger Woods calibre taking advantage of sponsorships coming out of their ears and making a lot of money in their respective sport. In reality, that is not the case for most athletes, even if they compete at a professional level like some of the athletes you work with.

I was wondering how that support is provided. Are things going well? Could we do more to ensure that, once athletes have represented our country abroad, we do not turn our backs on them? They do not necessarily come back from the games with the same income as certain star athletes we see. You understand what I mean.

12:50 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer, Rugby Canada

Graham Brown

I know I speak for rugby, but I do play other sports and am involved in other sports. I think there's a strong commitment in the sport community to ensure education. We always encourage our athletes to go to university or college. While they're going, we provide support mechanisms.

Rugby has two sides. On our men's side, a number of our athletes are professional and they go on, but they don't make very much money by North American standards. On the female side, there's a strong encouragement to be involved in the community. We have a centralized program in the city of Victoria and the city of Langford. We encourage our athletes there to engage with the community, to do things that are their passion, that may be in fact their vocation after they're done playing the sport of rugby.

The reality is that it's just really working with the athlete and knowing what they're trying to achieve. In some cases—and this is probably hard for an athlete to hear—it's also working with the athlete to let them know when they should probably leave the sport and focus on their career. Some athletes tend to stay involved in the sport too long, which does in fact hamper their ability to re-engage in their career path.

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé Chambly—Borduas, QC

My other question is for everyone. It's about an issue that was brought up by your colleagues last week. Several people have talked about female athletes who have been very successful.

Mr. Montopoli, you talked about that when the women's soccer team was discussed. Women are very successful in rugby and at the Paralympic Games. Ms. Petitclerc is a good example.

It seems to me that Canada is one of the world leaders in terms of female participation in sports. Generally speaking, what are you doing to ensure that we stay on top in terms of that?

12:50 p.m.

Senior Leader, Sport Matters Group

Chris Jones

Maybe I could just make a couple of observations on behalf of one of my members, the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport.

I think what they would tell you, probably, is that while access to the sport at the intake level is getting better and better all the time, there continues to be an issue around representation in the governance and on the boards of directors and those kinds of things, where perhaps not enough women are present, and hence there aren't as many role models or people that the women and young girls can look to.

I think that is something she continues to work on and is seeking to augment, because there is still work to be done in that area.

12:50 p.m.

General Secretary, Canadian Soccer Association

Peter Montopoli

Maybe I can just add this on the Canadian Soccer Association, where our players, once they graduate from our national team program, can enter into coaching programs. Some have been very successful in broadcasting careers. There are some members from the Oakville soccer club who are now female broadcasters on the national platform. Also, from a FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 perspective, which we are hosting, we'll be introducing women in coaching programs, women in leadership positions, and additional referee programs for women within our sport.

Also, we have implemented a new governance model whereby we have just selected three new women to our board of directors, which falls in with what Chris was just mentioning, additional enhancements in governance. I think, from a sporting perspective, all sports are looking at this. From our soccer perspective, we're looking forward from a female side, as we are world leaders in the sport.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Rob Moore

Finally, Mr. Gill.

June 5th, 2012 / 12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I also want to thank the witnesses for being here with us today.

I understand we have altogether 150 athletes and about 40 coaches who will be attending these Paralympic Games. I'm wondering if you can tell us how many different competitions Canadian athletes will be participating in at the Paralympics.

12:50 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer / Secretary General, Canadian Paralympic Committee

Henry Storgaard

At the Paralympics, I don't have that available right off my tongue right now.

Well...It's 12. Right. Sorry, I apologize; I thought you meant every level and classification.

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Are there going to be competitions Canadian athletes are going to be participating in for the first time in the Paralympics?

12:50 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer / Secretary General, Canadian Paralympic Committee

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

Can you tell us what those might be?

12:50 p.m.

Chief Executive Officer / Secretary General, Canadian Paralympic Committee

Henry Storgaard

Well, I have 150 athletes attending. I'm sorry I'm not fluent with the ones who will be competing for the first time. I'm not fluent in their names at this point in time.

I could get back to you on that.

12:55 p.m.

Conservative

Parm Gill Brampton—Springdale, ON

If you could, that would be great.

I'm not sure if you have the answer to the other question I had. I'd like to know if there are competitions Canadian athletes are not participating in. Maybe you can give a reasoning as to why, what we may be lacking and what we can improve on to prepare our athletes to participate in these competitions in future Paralympics.