House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was africa.

Topics

Opposition Motion—EbolaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Accordingly, the recorded division stands deferred until tomorrow at the conclusion of government orders.

Opposition Motion—EbolaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

John Duncan Conservative Vancouver Island North, BC

Mr. Speaker, I request that we see the clock at 5:30 p.m.

Opposition Motion—EbolaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is it agreed?

Opposition Motion—EbolaBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

5:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from September 29 consideration of the motion that Bill S-211, An Act to establish a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

When the House last took up the question, the hon. member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock had seven and a half minutes remaining in his time for comments on the question.

The hon. member for Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

5:15 p.m.

Conservative

Barry Devolin Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, while I realize that having a Chair occupant rise on debate is a little like witnessing a solar eclipse, this is actually the second time I have had the opportunity to speak to this bill. I am delighted to speak on the subject of health and fitness as addressed in Bill S-211, which has been sponsored in the House by my colleague from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country and in the Senate by Canada's athlete of the century, Senator Nancy Greene Raine. This bill would establish a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians.

Before I begin my remarks, I would like to reference a couple of paragraphs from the bill itself, because they will explain what this is about and why we are doing it. It says:

Whereas the Parliament of Canada wishes to increase awareness among Canadians of the significant benefits of physical activity and to encourage Canadians to increase their level of physical activity and their participation in recreational sports and fitness activities;... Whereas the Government of Canada wishes to encourage the country’s local governments, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and all Canadians to recognize the first Saturday in June as National Health and Fitness Day and to mark the day with local events and initiatives celebrating and promoting the importance and use of local health, recreational, sports and fitness facilities;

This is an excellent bill, which I am hoping all members in this place will support. It is not a silver bullet, and it is not a panacea that will cure all the physical ailments of Canadians, but it is an important piece of a larger puzzle in terms of encouraging Canadians to be fit and active and to look after their own health and that of their children.

When I spoke for a few minutes about this a few weeks ago, I mentioned that it is a challenge that members of Parliament face. Access to good food and not much time to exercise is a combination that causes many members in this place to struggle with their weight, their health, and their fitness.

I hear some “hear hears” from some of my colleagues.

It is important for all Canadians. We have one body we have to make do with from the time we are children until the end of our lives. There are things we can do. Modern medicine really is filled with miracles in terms of interchangeable parts. However, every time I see something on television from Cuba, and I see one of those old 1950 vintage cars, it always reminds me that those taxi drivers knew that they had a car and were not going to get another one. They had to look after it and learn how to repair it and how to maintain it. The fact was that it was just going to have to do them for a long time. For people, it is the same thing. Whether we are in our 20s, 40s, or 70s, we have one body.

Years ago we thought about health and fitness mostly in the context of living longer. That is still part of it, but most of us have figured out that it is about the quality of the life we enjoy. When we see someone in their golden years who can still ride a bike, go downhill skiing, or do other physical activities, we are reminded that they did not get there by accident. They probably looked after their health over the years. That is why they are still able to be active in those later years.

About a year or so ago, when I turned 50, one of my friends said that I was playing the back nine now. I had not really thought that somehow I was over the hump and that I was teeing off on the 10th hole, but it is probably true. It reminded me that it is important for all of us to mind our health. I have two young children, and I try to remind them of this at the same time.

Obviously, there are all the economic arguments for good health, at a macro level, for our country and society. We all benefit if we all stay in better shape, because it reduces acute health care costs. However, I would suggest that there is a stronger argument than that, and it is the central point I would like to make, which is that it is about quality of life and staying healthy and fit so that we can do the things we all want to do.

This bill today is part of that. It is to encourage other levels of government, such as municipalities, to open facilities, whether they are squash clubs, hockey arenas, or curling clubs, for one day each year so that people who are not familiar with them can go in and try these activities and see if they enjoy them.

It is an opportunity to remind all of us, adults and children, that there is actually an abundance of recreational facilities in many of our communities. Sometimes we go by them many times without ever setting foot inside. Having a day set aside to focus on this would remind Canadians that it is important.

I really want to tip my cap to my colleague, the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, who is a true leader in this area. He leads a group of parliamentarians on Tuesday mornings on a run. He leads another group on Thursday mornings for a swim. He is leading by example. Even though it does not show up in the name of his riding, the area he represents includes the town of Whistler, which was home to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Anyone who has ever visited Whistler will know that recreational activities are pretty much what make that place and are what attract so many people there.

It is not surprising to me that he is the one pushing this. He has been joined by one of our senators, Canada's athlete of the century for the 20th century. They are a perfect set of bookends around this idea. I would really encourage all members not only to support the bill but to actually take to heart the sentiment captured by the bill and get involved themselves and encourage friends, family, and constituents to do the same.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

NDP

Francine Raynault NDP Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, as many people know, I will be 70 next year, and it has never occurred to me to stop being active. This summer, I parachuted from 13,500 feet with actor Guillaume Lemay-Thivierge. I went from 0 to 250 km/h in no time, and I would do it again.

There is no age limit for being active, and being able to keep moving while growing older is a luxury that everyone should have. Canada's aging population raises important questions about how we can keep people active as long as possible.

That is true for physical activity and family recreation, but it is also true for community involvement, which is difficult if one is not physically healthy enough.

Having a healthy country is the choice of both individuals and society. I am talking about an aging population because that is my personal reality. However, I also have grandchildren, and I recognize that there is a growing childhood obesity epidemic. That said, none of my eight grandchildren are obese. It is a problem of embarrassing proportions; pardon the pun.

Some 20% of children are overweight, and among adults, the figure is over 50%. What will it be in the future? Obesity is hard on the body, the joints, arterial health, the heart and so on.

What will today's kids do when they are my age? Will they even reach my age? That is worrisome, because I know that leading a long, active life is a blessing for each of us as individuals but also for all of us as a society.

I must say that it is not always easy to stay active. Our schedules get busier and busier, work is demanding, and parents often have to work long hours or several jobs to make ends meet. When they go home at the end of the day, they have to take care of the kids, clean the house, make dinner and pay the bills.

They do not have a lot of time left over for physical activity, and that might be why 85% of adults do not engage in the minimum amount of physical activity required for good long-term health. That proportion is 10% higher among young people. That is something we should all be worried about.

For these reasons, I support Bill S-211. I also want to add that it is almost November, a month associated with depression, fatigue and even suicide. Do Canadians know that physical activity can help with that?

It would be good to remind them that adding a little physical activity to their routines will improve their mental health, reduce stress, build self-confidence and improve mood. It is also important to note that regular physical activity boosts energy levels.

Not for nothing did singer Dédé Fortin write the song, Dehors novembre. We live in a northern country, and the onset of winter is hard on people. I think it is a very good idea to remind people of the benefits of physical activity around this time.

In addition to all that, I would like to point out that a preventive approach is good for society as a whole. Heart disease and stroke alone cost Canadians $20.9 billion per year. That much money would buy exactly 350 million pairs of running shoes, which is more than enough to get everyone back in good health.

We can promote physical activity with a preventive approach. The NDP has been calling for that since 2011. To that end, we must make it easier to access federal parks. Here, we have Gatineau Park, which is free and has open access. Such a gem is not available in every region, and access to some parks—such as La Mauricie National Park next to my riding—is becoming more and more expensive. For a low-income family, just getting to a park costs a lot of money for gas. Charging fees to a family might be a deterrent to many.

The NDP thinks that the federal government should work with the provinces and territories to ensure that every child can lay the foundation for an active life by incorporating physical activity in his or her lifestyle.

Beyond access to national parks, we can also make it easier to access fitness centres and sports teams. I believe parents should never have to choose between buying groceries and registering their children for hockey.

Many organizations in Canada recognize the importance of physical activity and believe that the government has a role to play in promoting it to Canadians. That is the position of the Canadian Nurses Association, which has stated that the federal government has a duty to play a leadership role in promoting active living in Canada. The Canadian Cancer Society has said the same thing, namely, that the government is one of the most important forces in influencing active living.

I could go on and on naming organizations that believe the government needs to play a greater role in promoting physical activity, but I think my position is fairly clear.

To sum up, I clearly support Bill S-211 because I recognize the importance of the individual and collective benefits of this. I also recognize that we all stand to gain from a healthy, active life. How could anyone oppose this? This bill is a responsible initiative that will really help Canadians live better lives as young people, be better parents and, one only hopes, stay healthy as they age.

To promote everyone's health, it is imperative to start by making it easier to access our national parks, which really are public treasures. We should also make it easier for people to join fitness centres and sports teams.

We will then have stronger, healthier communities, not to mention the fact that older, retired people will have more to offer their communities for a longer period of time, thereby allowing us to benefit from their experience. As for young people, they will be more active and better prepared for work, but more importantly—and it is important to point this out at this time of the year—people of all ages will be happier. Everyone will be in better shape and therefore in a better mood. This could help prevent frustration.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, Liberals will be supporting Bill S-211 because it aims to designate the first Saturday in June of each year as national health and fitness day.

We are pleased to support this bill from my colleague from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country. It is a laudable initiative indeed, even though symbolic. However, I think we need more than just a day and we certainly need to do more as governments to promote healthy, active living at all ages.

I remember my years as a physician when I was very involved with the British Columbia Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association. One of the things we had been trying to do for years, and I am talking about 30 years, was promote one hour of daily quality physical activity in schools, but we could not get that done. Not all provinces have that at the moment.

I heard my colleague say that if one begins as a young person learning to be physically active every single day of one's life, it becomes a lifestyle habit. It becomes like brushing one's teeth, having a snack in the middle of the afternoon, getting homework done, watching TV, all of those other things. It becomes a part of one's routine and one's life. It is easier then to carry that on as one grows and goes through life cycles, so that by the time one becomes a senior, one would continue to have that active physical living.

We know that active living is not only a good thing to incorporate into one's lifestyle, but it is an important part of health promotion and disease prevention. Exercise and active living helps people who have Alzheimer's postpone the disease. If we can start getting people active throughout their lifetime, we may be able to postpone Alzheimer's. If we postpone Alzheimer's for five years, we will literally be seen to have eradicated the disease, mainly because we do not live five years longer every year, and people would not have their ability to remember and function neurologically fail.

We also know that there is a rise in children who will never be as healthy as their parents were, mainly because of type 2 diabetes and obesity. It does not help to have computers, as we all sit here everyday and watch ourselves become slightly addicted to social media and everything else we do with computers. Again, it tends to bring down the level of physical activity in young people.

We also find that eating fast foods, processed foods and a large amount of food that is high in fat and sugar have a tendency to create obesity. We know that increases the risk of stroke, heart disease, and with type 2 diabetes, vision problems, as well as neurological problems later on in life.

Active living will assist people throughout their lives to either prevent or postpone chronic disease and illness, which, to be crass, costs the health care system a great deal of money. Active living will create savings so that we can put money into other things that are necessary to keep us healthy and give us quality of life, such as mental health care or other areas of health promotion and disease prevention.

We can perhaps look at finding a way to assist people who are physically and mentally unable to work and live reasonable quality lives. There are a lot of things we could do with that money we would save the health care system by reducing hospital costs.

At the same time, people will be healthier, work and live longer. We see that seniors today are living and working longer. They will continue to contribute to the tax base, the economy and the productivity of the nation.

The initiative to designate a national health and fitness day has been gaining widespread support for all those reasons. We now have about 150 municipalities across the country that have adopted some form of health and fitness day.

The bill originated in the other place by Senator Nancy Greene Raine, who is an avid supporter of active living. Increased physical activity not only promotes physical health but also mental and emotional health. Again, we find that people who exercise more are less likely to be depressed and less likely to have problems like Alzheimer's.

Over the last decade, the participation rate in physical activity in Canada has actually declined. The majority of Canadian adults and children do not meet the physical activity level guidelines. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, in the period between 1981 and 2007-09, measured obesity roughly doubled in most age groups in the adult and youth categories for both sexes. The data also indicated that approximately one in four, which is 24.3%, Canadian adults age 18 years and over is obese. The combined rate of Canadians who are overweight and obese is 62%.

In 2005, the costs of adult obesity in Canada were estimated at $1.8 billion in direct health care costs and $2.5 billion in indirect costs for a total of $4.3 billion.

Obesity and lack of physical activity increases the risk of developing several chronic diseases, including osteoarthritis. We know it is linked to some types of cancer, though we do not quite know how direct the links are.

The 2009 report estimated that on average an inactive person compared to an active person spends 38 more days in hospital and uses 5.5% more family physician visits, 13% more specialist services, and 12% more nurse visits.

The rate of obesity varies across the country. It is a good thing to dedicate a day across Canada to fitness, and for the federal government to be talking about this since the federal government is responsible for the health and well-being of Canadians regardless of where they live.

What we saw from a recent UBC study is that my home province of B.C. has the lowest obesity rate. That is probably in part because British Columbians tend to engage in more healthy and active lifestyles. It just so happens that we also live in lotus land which offers the best things since sliced bread. The mover of the bill can relate to this, coming from British Columbia himself.

In 2005, the previous Liberal government invested $300 million over five years in the Public Health Agency of Canada for an integrated strategy of healthy living and chronic disease to ensure that Canada had an integrated approach in addressing major chronic diseases and their risk factors. One of the key pillars was promoting health by addressing the conditions that lead to unhealthy eating, physical inactivity and unhealthy weights.

There are many factors that play into the physical activity and healthy living of adults all the way through their life cycle. This is important; this is a start. This is only one of many things we can do. It is one way to remind us, at least once a year, that we should get out there and become active.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure tonight to speak to the bill. I think it is one of the most important bills we have had in this Parliament because it affects all of us in a major way.

I have to compliment the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country. He has taken a dynamic leadership role in, first of all, making MPs aware of healthy eating and healthy living styles. Parliament Hill is a place where we eat on the run. We eat unhealthy foods because we are so busy. We are on airplanes all the time, and need I say more about airplane food and the inactivity of sitting on an airplane? We have chronic issues there.

Having said that, when I was first introduced to the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, he was starting all these fitness programs around this place. I am possibly the least sports- or fitness-minded person. As a mother, I took my kids to every sport known to man, from hockey to soccer. I was the hockey mum and the soccer mum and did all those kinds of things. My husband is a wonderful athlete and does everything from martial arts to hockey to whatever. That certainly helped him when he got chronic cancer, because today he is in remission, and I credit that to, number one, prayer, and second, his fitness level was fantastic.

When I look at what the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country has done, it has began to turn or reset the channel of even Parliament Hill, the seat of Parliament where we are supposed to be producing laws for all Canadians and being examples for all Canadians.

I had a big challenge personally, because at a very young age my brother drowned and it hit our family very hard, particularly my mum. I was a baby at the time, so I do not remember my older brother, but I remember my mum sitting in a rocking chair and every once in a while she would start to cry. Even when I was a teenager, my dad would say, “Leave mum alone for a while. She just needs this time”. She was remembering the tragic loss of her son and our brother. I have to say it sort of seeded a fear of water in me. I love to look at the water. I love to put my toe in the water. When I was very bold, I would walk into water up to my neck and hope I could still reach the bottom, because I liked the water in way, but I feared it dreadfully.

One day the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country said, “Why do you not come and learn how to swim?” I kept telling him I did not have time, and I really did not have time. I was very busy. However, it was a very healthy thing to do and he is very persistent and very persuasive. I could not believe it. I bought a bathing suit, goggles, and a cap. I looked like something from outer space, and I do not have the greatest figure in the world, so getting me out there just on that basis was a challenge.

Having said that, I started going into the water, and today I am not a bad swimmer. I know how to swim and I have learned how to go under water. The most exciting thing is having my goggles on going under water and seeing all the things that are happening there. I got over my fear of water, but it also got me into physical activity.

The other thing I do on a regular basis is biking. We could be walking down Wellington or O'Connor and there we would see the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country early in the morning on his bike. It never ceases to amaze me how he can bike in extremely cold, windy weather.

I am not that dedicated, but I am dedicated to a charity I started, and I biked for victims of human trafficking. I have done that kind of thing, which motivated me as well.

The member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country has changed the environment around this place through his leadership, and it is an environment of activity that involves people from all parties. It is just amazing. We can get together, no matter what party we belong to, and we can run, bike, or swim, and it is pleasant. It became a three times a week event for me over the summer. I am now down to two times a week, but I do other things.

One of the members said earlier that taking care of our bodies is like taking care of a 1950s car. I wish I were a 1950s car. My car would be a little older than that. Having said that, we have to take care of our bodies and repair them so we will end up living longer.

This awareness that the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country has brought forward is of paramount importance in my own riding. I love the idea of the first Saturday of June being a national day to promote health and fitness for all Canadians. I love that idea because it would make us all aware. A school will not change our mindset. Parliament will not change our mindset. I have always said that education is our greatest weapon. The more we know about the problems we have, the better off we are. It takes a tremendous toll on our families if we are sedentary and do not take care of our bodies. Not only does it take a tremendous toll on our families, but it also takes a tremendous toll on our lifestyle and our quality of life.

We have heard members talk about the different aspects of the health care system. One-quarter of colon and breast cancers are attributable to Canadians' sedentary lifestyle. Twenty-seven per cent of diabetes in Canada and 30% of chronic heart disease is attributed to inactivity.

It is telling when one in three Canadian children are overweight or obese. It is telling when health care costs due to overweight individuals and inactivity amount to $7 billion a year. We can do something about that. Under the leadership of the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, we have been caught up in the awareness of physical activity.

I have talked to many municipal leaders in my riding about doing something special on that day. There could be free entry into the pool or maybe a special thing for seniors to get them out, like a bike-a-thon. We could do anything on that national health day. Each municipality has the ability to do that.

It says a lot when only 13% of Canadians participate in sports. It says a lot about our need to become aware of the health benefits from activity. It says a lot as well when only 6% of Canadians choose to spend their leisure time in sports.

That would have been me before, but not anymore. When I have some leisure time, I either go for a swim or a bike ride. I take part in some activity. Through this process I not only managed to overcome a fear of the water, which was tremendous, but I now enjoy the lifestyle and the physical activity. Exercise of some sort clears our minds in such a way that we feel better mentally and physically.

I congratulate once again the member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for his tremendous leadership on this issue. I urge members to look for him on the Hill. He will be recognized because he always has a bicycle pin attached to his lapel. I think it is marvellous. He gave me one of those little bicycles and I wear it quite frequently now. I am proud to say that I am a bit of a sports jock now. I could not have said that before.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

5:50 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Chambly—Borduas, QC

Mr. Speaker, as the NDP critic for sport, I am pleased to speak to this Senate bill, which was sponsored by my colleague. The bill seeks to establish a national day to promote health and fitness.

Let me just say first that my colleague from West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country has done phenomenal work on this issue. As the sports critic for the NDP, it has been a pleasure to work with him on this issue. I am really trying to find a solution to the inactivity that seems to plague our youth.

It was funny. We had meetings. It is actually Sport Matters lobby day on the Hill today. That is appropriate timing, as far as I am concerned. One of its representatives used the word “inertia” in speaking about the need to move forward. I thought the choice of words was appropriate because it is what we are trying to solve here today.

There is still reason to be concerned about this issue. Over the past 40 years, many governments have tried to find solutions to the problem of inactivity. A report issued by the World Health Organization shows that total calorie intake changed only slightly at a time of a sharp increase in obesity.

This makes us think about the risk factors. Video games and cell phones certainly play a role, but blaming these technologies oversimplifies the problem and prevents us from implementing good public policies that will help us to resolve the issue.

Let us talk about the bill that is before us today. It raises an important question. My colleague opposite, who introduced the bill, often says that it is important for parliamentarians to set an example. After all, he, along with the member for Etobicoke North and my colleague from Sackville—Eastern Shore, has always promoted physical activity among members. It is all well and good to talk about it, but we also have to do it so that we do not look hypocritical.

This is not just about us. It is important to encourage community members. In my work as sport critic, I look at both elite and amateur sports. For example, I look at the Olympics and international sporting events hosted in Canada, such as the figuring skating championships held last year in London, Ontario, and the 2015 Pan Am Games that will be held in Toronto.

The elite sports system is well structured, but there is work to be done at the local level. That is what we like in this bill sponsored by my colleague and Senator Nancy Greene. The NDP strongly believes that we need to work more with the provinces and municipalities to ensure that they have the tools they need not only to promote elite sports but also to encourage average Canadians to use the sports facilities at their disposal. That is one of the reasons why we support this bill.

We cannot deny that accessibility is something an issue. I come from a community in the greater Montreal area, in Chambly—Borduas, on the south shore. People in Chambly are very fortunate. It is a very well-managed city that now has three hockey arenas. These people have access to a lot of facilities, but that is unfortunately not the case everywhere.

I hope that this national day to encourage people to use these municipal facilities will highlight the fact that all parties and stakeholders need to work together to help promote investments and awareness of infrastructure needs.

It is all well and good to encourage people of all ages to participate in sports and live an active life, but if they do not have the tools to live this lifestyle, we will end up back at square one. That is something very important to consider.

What is more, we have looked at a lot in committee. When we study amateur coaching, when we study preparations for the Olympic Games and our athletes, of whom we are so proud, different elements keep coming back, and there is still ongoing debate about what the solutions would be. As I said at the beginning of my speech, I do not think we have yet found the solution. Governments have been looking for solutions for decades.

What I appreciate about the bill is that we are putting forward a day to encourage folks to think about their health and to go out and participate in sports and use the installations that are available in municipalities. I think it allows us a chance to continue the debate. Every time this House votes on a bill to put forward a national day representing issue X, whether it is dealing with awareness of an illness or, in this case, dealing with something more positive, promoting an active lifestyle, the day is important, yes, but we as New Democrats are supporting the bill because it would also allow us to continue a discussion that my colleague has been at the forefront of with different stakeholders that have been involved in promoting this particular issue.

I think the government has tried to put forward different measures to try to solve this issue, such as the children's fitness tax credit and other such measures, but, unfortunately, they have met with varying degrees of success. They have not always been the solutions that have been required, and that is why having this debate is so important.

I mentioned going to the local level and not just looking at league sports, because one thing that comes back often when we study sports issues—in committee in particular, but even when we meet with stakeholders—is that we need to think of sports as a pyramid. Yes, we need to look at that small piece at the top, our lead athletes, of whom we are very proud, as I mentioned. We want to continue promoting them and allowing them to succeed because, contrary to what it may seem like, it is not always a glamorous life. These folks work very hard. They are great role models for the folks at the bottom of that pyramid, the folks a bill like this would help out and push forward in having active lifestyles. We really need to not forget the community level.

That is our challenge. Our Olympians are role models. Our athletes set an example for our kids. It is really important to have the bottom of the pyramid at the provincial and municipal levels, as I said earlier, like the rising tide that lifts all boats.

I think that is really important.

It is important that youth have more than just one day in which to participate. There needs to be a follow-up to that day. I think it is an excellent start, and that is why I am very pleased to be supporting the bill.

To conclude, I would like to come back to the first speeches I made as sport critic two years ago. Active Healthy Kids Canada had published a report that gave Canadian youth a D for their participation in sports. There are kids who are inactive. The report did not point to any causes, but there are many. That report really hit home.

This important issue is also reflected in the work I have done with the Minister of State for Sport; we have a very good working relationship. This is not a partisan issue. When we see those kinds of results in a report, we are all concerned because this is a health issue and it will cost money.

Yesterday, at our Movember reception, Senator Green made an interesting comment when she said that our health care system is, at times, more like a disease management system. We treat diseases, but we also need to think about prevention, and that is where sports can play an incredibly positive role. As legislators, we need to encourage that.

That is why we support the bill, which is sponsored by the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country. This bill is a good first step because it establishes a day for raising awareness and encouraging people to participate.

This will allow us to continue this debate, bring forward good public policy, and encourage our communities to have an active lifestyle. We hope the repercussions of maintaining good health will be positive.

Again I want to commend my colleague. We are proud to support this bill, and we hope to pursue this debate in future.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I invite the hon. member for West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country for his right of reply. The hon. member has up to five minutes.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6 p.m.

Conservative

John Weston Conservative West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour today to speak to Bill S-211, a bill that will be voted on tomorrow, but also to mark, as my colleagues have marked, a historical moment. How would we know if we were at a historical moment? I suggest there would be a need, there would be a consensus around that need, and a movement to action.

We have heard my colleagues speak about the need, the sedentary behaviour in our culture today, the failing to meet our own physical activity guidelines, the obesity trends that suggest that a third of youth are overweight or obese, a third who now face 14 times the likelihood of a cardiac event by the time they reach 50. These are preventable diseases. We have heard about cardiovascular issues and diabetes. Not only are they preventable but the costs associated with them are phenomenal and growing, $7 billion a year says the Public Health Agency of Canada.

It is tragic when people hurt other people, but it is also tragic when people hurt themselves. We are hurting ourselves with these trends of inactivity and sedentary behaviour, and the fact that less than 7% of our youth get the recommended six hours a week of healthy activity. It is time for change and if we were at a historical moment, there would be a consensus around that time for change.

On Parliament Hill, we have seen MPs and senators from different parties come together to say, yes, we can do better. We can do better and we are doing so through the parliamentary fitness initiative that has been mentioned several times today. MPs and staff gather early on Tuesday mornings for walks or runs or to swim on Thursday mornings with remarkable volunteer coaches like Phil Marsh and Pierre Lafontaine. The unity in the House has been mentioned, how 160 people came together yesterday on Movember, which will be celebrating men's health in the months to come.

We have seen the work with the Senate, which is where the bill originates. Senator Nancy Greene Raine, Canada's female athlete of the 20th century, did a great job of bringing this to the House from the other place. The two chambers of this legislature have worked together. Today, Sport Matters is on Parliament Hill trying to invigorate us parliamentarians to be role models throughout the country, not just in passing legislation but in showing, as the member for Kildonan—St. Paul said, that though not an athlete in her own mind, she can be a role model in improving her own health and fitness by extending herself in physical activity.

We have seen initiatives in the province I come from, British Columbia, such as Rotary Ride for Rescue, which raises money for people who are saved by North Shore Rescue. We have seen Cops for Cancer all around the country, supported by West Vancouver Police Department. The Terry Fox Run is another great example of getting people to run not only in Canada but all over the world, and I am proud to say the Terry Fox Run will resume in Taiwan next month. There is Ride for Refuge, a ride that has been promoted by the member for Kildonan—St. Paul. These are all activities that bring people together in a common cause and help people to understand that it is time for us to get up and move.

In my community, all 12 local governments have proclaimed national health and fitness day, which is really the point of Bill S-211, a bill that suggests that local governments ought to put an emphasis on one day a year, the first Saturday in June, to get their citizens more active. Why one day? It is not as a token, but as a way to get Canadians more active throughout the year.

In the area I represent, Susie Gimse has worked with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, which was quick to support national health and fitness day this year. There have been other groups like that, such as the Vancouver Whitecaps former captain Jay DeMerit, and Whistler's Olympic gold medallist, Ashleigh McIvor.

We are at a historical moment because we are about to pass a bill. It is the beginning, not the end. It is the beginning of a nation coming together, working together, promoting healthy physical activity, of Canadians getting more active and encouraging one another to get more active, of deputies in the House approaching their mayors and councillors, and moving our country and our people to become the fittest nation on earth.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is the House ready for the question?

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

All those opposed will please say nay.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

National Health and Fitness Day ActPrivate Members' Business

6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

In my opinion, the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Pursuant to Standing Order 93, the division stands deferred until Wednesday, October 22, tomorrow, immediately before the time provided for private members' business.

Pursuant to Standing Order 30(7), the House will now proceed to the consideration of Bill C-592, under private members' business.

(Bill C-592. On the Order: Private Members' Business:)

April 9, 2014 — The member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine — Second reading and reference to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights of Bill C-592, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals).

Criminal CodePrivate Members' Business

October 21st, 2014 / 6:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine is not present in the House to move the order as announced in today's notice paper. Accordingly, the bill will be dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the order paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.