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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was quebec.

Last in Parliament November 2005, as Liberal MP for Simcoe North (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2004, with 43% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Committee Business and Reinstatement of Government Bills October 7th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure for me to take part in the debate to reinstate some of the bills the House of Commons had been working on through its committees, et cetera, prior to prorogation and the start of the new session of Parliament.

We have had the Speech from the Throne. There were many new initiatives outlined in the throne speech. There was also a lot of work that had been done in the previous session on many important bills. The government thinks it is very important that the work not be lost.

In times when Canadian taxpayers are being asked to be prudent, certainly it is an opportunity for Parliament to behave that way. It is somewhat disappointing but not surprising that we were not able to obtain consent from all parties in the House to reintroduce and reinstate certain bills at the stage they were at at the time of prorogation.

In particular, we have been hearing comments today from members of the Canadian Alliance dealing with Bill C-5, the species at risk bill. I believe from their comments today it is the one that has caused them to withhold their consent. They want changes to that bill.

From what I have heard of the debate, there seems to be an issue around the definition of compensation that would be paid to landowners who would lose land or would have restrictions placed on their land in consequence of the bill. The dispute is over whether that is described as reasonable compensation or whether it is called fair market value.

Prior to entering politics, I practised law for 22 years. I did quite a bit of real estate and real property law. The argument being put forward by the Canadian Alliance is that fair market value is a much more precise term than is the reasonable compensation that is in the bill.

Frankly, from my experience, fair market value can vary significantly from appraiser to appraiser. When I was trying to be flippant with my clients, my definition of fair market value was what some sucker was willing to pay. A person could have many qualified appraisers with all the initials behind their names say that a piece of property was worth a certain amount of money, but if there was not a willing purchaser at the time when the vendor wanted to sell, the vendor would not fetch that price.

I have to admit I am a little confused over the reluctance of the members but perhaps there are other agendas at play. I know in this place it is considered bad form to impute motive to hon. members, but it seems that the reference to Bill C-68 and gun control does come up quite a bit in the discussions around Bill C-5.

I would like to concentrate my remarks this evening on one of the other bills that is subject to the motion. The bill would be reinstated at the Senate. The bill had passed the House of Commons prior to the adjournment in June. I am referring to Bill C-54, the physical activity and sport bill which I had the privilege of introducing.

Bill C-54 had received all party consent. No party had voted against the bill at third reading in June. Bill C-54 had gone through committee stage. Considerable work was done on the bill. My friend from Bras d'Or—Cape Breton was one of the members of the committee who did stellar work in getting that bill through the committee.

We also made significant amendments to Bill C-54 at committee stage, following the concerns voiced by the Commissioner of Official Languages, the Bloc Quebecois and our own caucus regarding the bill.

We made changes to ensure that services in our sports system are available in both official languages. If this motion does not get the support of the House this evening, all this work will have be for nothing, and this is definitely something that we are trying to avoid.

Getting back to some of the particulars of Bill C-54, it replaces the Fitness and Amateur Sport Act, legislation which was passed in 1961. Our new physical activity and sport bill is a modernization of our entire sports system. By changing the title to physical activity we are describing the work that it takes to become fit. We previously referred to fitness, which was the result of physical activity. By changing the wording from amateur sport to sport, we are reflecting the realities of our present system.

As members know, there are professionals at the Olympic Games. The NHL players who were in Salt Lake City and who won the gold medal are actually professionals.

Many of our athletes in Canada do not play in professional leagues, but they have contracts and sponsors. A number of them earn a fair bit of money but, technically speaking, they qualify as amateurs. The reality is such that we can no longer refer to amateur sport or professional sport. We simply refer to sport, and this is one of the goals of this new bill.

Bill C-54 on physical activity and sport was brought in after extensive consultations. Meetings and consultations were held regionally throughout the country and culminated in a summit on sport that was held here in Ottawa over which the Prime Minister presided. As a result of that consultation we ended up with a new Canadian sport policy that was endorsed by all 14 jurisdictions in the country.

The provinces, territories and the Government of Canada all endorsed the new Canadian sports policy. For the first time we now have one sports policy from coast to coast to coast in all jurisdictions. It is that policy we are entrenching in legislation with Bill C-54, this very important bill that we are trying to get brought back at the stage it was at prior to prorogation, which was after third reading. It had finished in the House of Commons and was in the Senate.

The Canadian sports policy entrenched in the bill has four pillars. One is the pursuit of excellence by improving our results in high performance sports. Another is increased participation. That is where we get to the physical activity side of it. By having a more physically active population we are sure to have a more healthy population. Obviously, there would be savings that we would obtain in future health care costs by having a very active and healthier population. The other two remaining principles in the policy entrenched in the bill are building capacity in our sports system and improving interaction among the partners in our Canadian sports system.

We have the support of all levels, the provinces, the territories, the municipalities and the federal government. We have the support of sports organizations, the national sports organizations and provincial sports organizations. We have the support of the volunteers. Our entire sports system operates primarily on a volunteer basis.

Volunteers do most of the work in our sports system here in Canada. They are truly partners, and we must ensure that they remain involved. There are also the athletes for whom our system is designed.

Last April, when we welcomed to Parliament Hill the Salt Lake City Olympic and Paralympic medallists, I pointed out in my comments that without athletes, there would be no sports system, no national organizations and no Secretary of State for Amateur Sport.

Our sports system depends on our athletes, and we must work together with all our partners.

There is the involvement of schools. I had occasion last Friday to be in Banff to meet and speak with the Canadian School Sports Federation which is the national organization of sports in our school system. It is an important partner. These are the teachers, volunteers and coaches who are involved with our young people in the high school sport system that will lead them to some of our national provincial teams and to other developments.

That is a significant portion of our Canadian sports system at the development stage where students from our high schools are exposed and coached in the relevant sports. The federation is an important partner in our entire sports system. It is looking for recognition and it is something we need to take into account. We need to consult with the Canadian School Sports Federation when we are looking at policy and sports policy in our system.

There is also in the Canadian sports policy the provision to ensure that underrepresented groups become more represented in our Canadian sports system. The groups identified were: aboriginal peoples, people with disabilities, visible minorities and women. In the case of women, I had the privilege last week to launch the Women's History Month along with my colleague, the secretary of state responsible for women's issues. This year the theme of Women's History Month is “Women in sports”. I was in Montreal, she was in London, and we were able to launch it in the high schools, along with the ESTEEM team which is a group of former athletes who speak to students and encourage them to become involved in athletics to develop the personal esteem that they will need to perform well.

This is all part of the Canadian sports policy that is being entrenched and is for the benefit of my friend who is asking what is the relevance to the motion that we are debating. We would lose the time put into the bill if we are not able to get this motion to reintroduce it at the present stage in the Senate.

If we are able to get this motion, we will be able to carry on with the bill at this stage and all of that time and effort would be saved.

That is why I find it very important. Our colleagues across the way do not seem to understand what we are trying to accomplish here. They want to continue the old fight about former Bill C-15B, and they are not going to give up easily.

We on this side, however, believe it is very important to continue trying to build on the work already done and the expenses already incurred in considering these bills.

Many of these bills are important. I go back to my concern about the time that would be lost and the expense if we had to start over on Bill C-54. Again, there are provisions in that bill that are relevant and significant, and that we need to get into place sooner rather than later.

This weekend I was in Vancouver speaking at a seminar put on by PacificSport Group, which is a coalition of the national sports centres in Vancouver and Victoria and the British Columbia provincial sports centres. PacificSport Group puts on a series of seminars for young, developing athletes and their parents to teach them about some of the processes within our Canadian sports system, which they will need to take advantage of the entire system. Bill C-54 deals with that and would set up the framework for that important work from which these young developing athletes would benefit to develop into some of the world class athletes that we are all so proud of in this country.

We cannot just support them every four years when the Olympics are taking place, we see our flag being raised and O Canada is being sung. We must be prepared to step up and support these developing athletes all the time, between Olympic games. That is what Bill C-54 would help do. It would provide the framework that would let us do that.

We must also be prepared to step up to the plate with our partners in the private sector and in the provinces, and commit the necessary resources. From the work that I have been doing in the short time that I have been in the position of Secretary of State responsible for Amateur Sport I have seen a fairly healthy appetite within the Canadian population to step forward and be prepared to dedicate more resources to our athletes.

It is very important to be there for our athletes. We can best support them by voting in favour of the motion before the House this evening. This is a motion to reintroduce bills, and Bill C-54 in particular, at the same stage they were at before prorogation, which would mean it would be referred immediately to the Senate.

For these reasons, we seek the support of all members of the House for this motion.

Physical Activity and Sport Act June 18th, 2002

moved that Bill C-54, an act to promote physical activity and sport, be read the third time and passed.

Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I stand in the House of Commons to debate third reading of Bill C-54, an act to promote physical activity and sport.

I had the pleasure of introducing the bill to the House on April 10 on behalf of the Minister of Canadian Heritage. On April 15 the bill received second reading in the House of Commons and was referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and then to the Subcommittee on the Study of Sport in Canada. The subcommittee heard the testimony of witnesses from the sport community, from government officials and the Official Languages Commissioner. It also received written submissions from a number of different organizations. On June 12 the member for Toronto--Danforth tabled in the House the first report of the Subcommittee on the Study of Sport in Canada of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The report was debated yesterday, June 17.

I am pleased with the process that was undertaken and I am assured that the bill has had a thorough review and debate. We worked with members of the sport community and with all parties both inside and outside the committee to reach an agreement in areas of controversy. We have respectfully considered all views and worked together to strengthen the bill.

The bill began with an extensive consultation. There were exchanges with the sport community and all levels of government. Their unanimous support have made the existence of the bill a reality and it is important that we recognize that.

Thanks to the dynamism and contribution of all stakeholders in the sport community, the conditions most favourable to the advancement of sport in Canada were brought together in one place.

Henceforth, this bill entrenches the policy of the Government of Canada regarding sport. This policy reflecting the concerns of the sport community was adopted last April by the federal government in conjunction with all provincial and territorial governments.

The bill is consistent with the first ever Canadian sport policy. This landmark policy was the result of unprecedented consultations with the sport community. It was endorsed last April by myself as the Secretary of State for Amateur Sport and the provincial and territorial ministers responsible for sport, fitness and recreation.

The ministers embarked on this policy development process to create a more effective and transparent sport system to underscore the importance of sport and physical activity to the health of Canadians and to build a more harmonious environment to improve the sport experience. No government can claim on its own to change the system. Sport concerns everyone and everyone needs to participate in the process. The support of the sport community as well as the partners, the population at large and other governments was key.

We are entering a new era in Canadian sport and physical activity. We will soon have new legislation for sport and physical activity which serves to modernize the mandate and policies of the Government of Canada with respect to physical activity and sport. The Fitness and Amateur Sport Act of 1961 served the government well for 42 years and now we will soon be set for a new era.

The policy objectives of the Government of Canada regarding sport are threefold: to increase participation in sport, to support the pursuit of excellence, and to build capacity in the Canadian sport system. The policy is based on the highest value of ethics in sport including: dope free sport; respectful treatment of all persons; the full and fair participation of all persons in sport; and the fair, equitable, transparent and timely resolution of disputes in sport.

By entrenching the Government of Canada's physical activity and sport policies in this bill, the government is acknowledging that physical activity and sport are an integral part of Canadians' lives and culture, and procur benefits in terms of health, quality of life, economic activity, cultural diversity and social cohesion, particularly by their reinforcement of the bilingual nature of Canada.

This also demonstrates the commitment of the Government of Canada to encourage and assist Canadians in increasing their levels of physical activity and participation in sports. It also recognizes its commitment to support the pursuit of excellence in sport and to build capacity in the Canadian sports system.

The government through the bill does not only respond to the recommendations of the subcommittee on sport, it also responds to commitments in the Speech from the Throne where it indicated it would promote health and prevent disease and strengthen its efforts to encourage fitness and participation in sports.

The Government of Canada is well aware that any government action with regard to sports affects a large number of Canadians. According to the 1998 general social survey, over 8.3 million Canadians aged 15 and over participate in sport on a regular basis. According to the 2000 Statistics Canada survey, an estimated 1.8 million people are involved in sport and recreation organizations on a voluntary basis, not to mention the millions more who take part as parents, spectators, officials and administrators.

For this reason, a preamble was added to the bill demonstrating that the government's commitment to physical activity and sport needs to be seen as an investment in enhancing the well-being of all Canadians, and not an expense.

Any investment in physical activity and sport contributes to quality of life and procures long term savings in health care.

Given today's challenges facing sport, the proposed legislation clarifies, along with the title and terminology, the existing ministerial mandate to adequately reflect and strengthen the role of the minister responsible for sport in fostering, promoting and developing sport in Canada.

Over the past 10 years the Canadian high performance sport system has experienced a large number of disputes over the selection of athletes on national teams and over doping in sport. Internal mechanisms of sport organizations have many limitations.

To respond to the needs of the sport community, the bill provides for the creation of a sport dispute resolution centre of Canada. The mission of the centre would be to provide the sport community with a national alternative dispute resolution service with expertise and assistance in this regard. The sport community will be able to use the services of the centre to resolve sport disputes, which could include disputes regarding doping infractions, in an equitable, fair, transparent and timely manner.

The creation of the centre through legislation demonstrates the importance given by the government to principles such as transparency, equity and diligence. It will place Canada at the leading edge internationally and will ensure stability, continuity and credibility to the dispute resolution process.

In response to concerns expressed by members of the sport community about Sport Canada being party to dispute resolutions, I would like to point out that under Bill C-54 no individual or organization would be obliged to use the centre's services, which are to be used on a consensual basis. This also applies to Sport Canada.

However clause 10 of the proposed legislation states that the centre's mission is to provide alternative dispute resolution services for sport disputes which include disputes among sport organizations and disagreements between sport organizations and persons affiliated with it, including its members. The notion of sport dispute is therefore broad enough for the centre to provide dispute resolution services where Sport Canada could agree to be a party.

Therefore Sport Canada could in its policies, programs or in any specific agreement include an appeal mechanism that would refer disputes to the centre under terms and conditions of the said policy, programs or agreements as long as those disputes can be qualified as sport disputes. I think I can give the undertaking that Sport Canada will engage in such agreements. Obviously not in the policy areas but certainly in programming areas it is the intention that Sport Canada will avail itself of the services in the dispute resolution centre.

I would also like to indicate that the government's intention regarding the centre was not to create a federal institution or a governmental body but a not for profit organization at arm's length from the government. In creating it we have tried to achieve the appropriate accountability measures in light of the arm's length nature of the centre.

It is important for us and the sport community that the centre be independent and have all the flexibility necessary to meet the future needs of the sport community while being accountable for public funds. I will be consulting with the sport community to ensure that individuals will be appointed to the board who have the expertise and capacity to enable the centre to fulfill its mission.

Physical inactivity is costly. Reducing it by 10% can save $5 billion annually in health care costs. Provincial and territorial ministers responsible for sport have reiterated their commitment to reach such a target by the year 2003.

Sport is about inclusion. Irrespective of age, culture, language, social status or physical or intellectual capacity, more people must be allowed access to a greater number of sports so that everyone can practise the sport of their choice.

I would now like to discuss the Canadian sport policy, which was unanimously approved in April by the federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for sport. This policy clearly demonstrates the goodwill of the different levels of government to address the issue of official languages in the Canadian sport system.

The policy recognizes the barriers that francophones sometimes confront in sports. For example, according to Sport Canada policy, sport must be accessible to all, regardless of their language. Furthermore, the regulations and responsibilities in the sport system stipulate that services must be provided in both official languages.

As for the role of the federal government, it must ensure that services will be provided in both official languages.

Finally, the different levels of government must increase the number of coaches who work in both official languages, in order to guarantee services for francophone and anglophone athletes.

I believe that these initiatives clearly demonstrate the goodwill of the different levels of government to address the issue of official languages in Canada.

I was pleased that the tabling of the proposed legislation raised the debate of the place of women in sport and physical activity. The government has made its position clear. We believe that women should be full and equal partners in Canadian sport, whether as athletes, coaches, officials, leaders or decision makers. We will work with the sport community drawing on the expertise of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity to improve the status of women in sport and physical activity.

I have had communications with the executive of CAAWS. I have assured it that we will rely on it to provide us with the information, assistance and expertise on the compliance of the gender equity policies that are already in our funding programs now to ensure that the national sports organizations are in compliance.

Key players are also volunteers such as our coaches, officials, members in sports associations, organizers of competitions and so on. They contribute so much to sport all across the country. More than ever, sport must be regarded as an investment and not as an expense. Last year 378,000 jobs in Canada were related to sport. Sports contribution to our GNP is estimated at $8.9 billion, quite a score.

The Government of Canada, with the support of the sport community, provincial and territorial governments and the private sector, believes that the proposed legislation is an important step in a comprehensive strategy to affirm the key role of sport in Canadian society.

The issue of sport in Canada is a social issue, an issue of goodwill and of partnership. It is an issue that affects us all.

In Canada sport is everyone's business.

This bill affects all Canadians.

In conclusion, I would seek the consent of the House for the second speaker, the hon. member for Toronto--Danforth, to have extended time. He is the chair of the subcommittee and has been involved with it since the very beginning. I am sure members would be pleased to consent that he be allowed sufficient time to complete his remarks.

Physical Activity and Sport Act June 17th, 2002

moved that the bill as amended be concurred in with other amendments.

Physical Activity and Sport Act June 17th, 2002

Motion No. 13 is a technical amendment in light of the amendment adopted by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage regarding the appointment of the executive director by the board of directors of the sport dispute resolution centre of Canada. As drafted the bill referred to the minister and that was changed in committee. Therefore this is simply a consequential amendment.

Motion No. 14 is a technical amendment made necessary by the adoption by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage of an amendment providing that the executive director of the sport dispute resolution centre of Canada shall be appointed by the board of directors.

Physical Activity and Sport Act June 17th, 2002


Motion No. 12

That Bill C-54, in Clause 17, be amended by replacing line 39 on page 5 with the following:


(i) principles governing the use of English and French by the staff of the Centre in their communications, provision of services and daily work; and

(ii) a mechanism for resolving disputes”.

Motion No. 13

That Bill C-54, in Clause 21, be amended by replacing lines 4 to 10 on page 7 with the following:

“21. The board of directors shall appoint an executive director of the Centre.”

Motion No. 14

That Bill C-54, in Clause 23, be amended by replacing line 25 on page 7 with the following:

“without the approval of the board of directors.”

Mr. Speaker, Motion No. 12 is a technical amendment which would allow the sport dispute resolution centre of Canada to make bylaws regarding the principles governing the implementation of an official languages policy with respect to the use of English and French.

Physical Activity and Sport Act June 17th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, the purpose of Motion No. 10 is to restore clause 9 to Bill C-54, and I quote:

9.(1) A not-for-profit corporation is hereby established to be called the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada—

Clause 9 provides that the centre shall be independent of the government and shall offer its services to, and communicate with, the public in both official languages of Canada.

The committee rejected clause 9 and we are in the process of restoring it.

Motion No. 11 is a technical amendment necessary in light of the amendment adopted by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage regarding the appointment of the executive director by the board of directors of the sport dispute resolution centre. This is similar to Motions Nos. 13 and 14 for which I had requested unanimous consent to reinstate. Maybe after further discussion I would make the request again for unanimous consent to have Motions Nos. 12, 13 and 14 reinstated. I understood that all parties were in agreement with those amendments.

Physical Activity and Sport Act June 17th, 2002

Mr. Speaker, you will note that Motions Nos. 12, 13 and 14 that were on the order paper were found by the Speaker not to be acceptable. I ask for unanimous consent that they be reinstated. Motions 13 and 14 are consequential motions from amendments that were made in committee and we request that there be unanimous consent to reinstate them.

Motion No. 12 is a amendment about the centre to be created, giving the board of directors authority to resolve disputes involving official languages.

I seek the unanimous consent of the House to restore these three motions.

Physical Activity and Sport Act June 17th, 2002


Motion No. 10

That Bill C-54 be amended by replacing line 12 on page 3 with the following:

“9. (1) A not-for-profit corporation is hereby established to be called the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada, in this Act referred to as “the Centre”, which shall include a dispute resolution secretariat and a resource centre.

(2) The Centre is not an agent of Her Majesty.

(3) The Centre is not a departmental corporation or a Crown corporation within the meaning of the Financial Administration Act.

(4) For the purposes of the Federal Court Act, the Centre or an arbitrator or mediator who provides services under the auspices of the Centre is not a federal board, commission or other tribunal within the meaning of that Act.

(5) The Centre shall offer its services to, and communicate with, the public in both official languages of Canada.

(6) The head office of the Centre shall be at the place in Canada that is designated in the by-laws of the Centre.”

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-54, in Clause 17, be amended by replacing lines 25 to 27 on page 5 with the following:

“(c) the appointment and remuneration of the officers of the Centre;”.

Physical Activity and Sport Act June 17th, 2002

Madam Speaker, Motion No. 4 would amend the preamble by including a reference to the Official Languages Act. This would affirm the Government of Canada's commitment to promoting physical activity in sport, having regard to the principles set out in the Official Languages Act.

When the bill was presented to the subcommittee, a number of members expressed concerns. Discussions were held, and it was decided that it would be wise to include a reference to our intention to comply at all times with the Official Languages Act.

With respect to Motion No. 5, at this time sport is the responsibility of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and physical activity, the Minister of Health.

Reinsertion of clause 2 will give the governor in council the required flexibility to designate any member or members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada to administer the act.

We have determined that it would be wise to have these two references to the two ministers.

With respect to Motion No. 8, the amendment reintroduces clause 5 of Bill C-54 which was deleted at committee. This clause sets forth the objects of the bill, namely to promote, develop and encourage physical activity and sport in Canada, and specifies the minister's mandate in that regard. This in essence was the heart of the bill along with the centre for dispute resolution. It was important that it be reinserted.

There have been discussions among all parties and I understand notwithstanding that there will be other interventions, there is unanimous consent that the bill be deemed to be passed at report stage this afternoon.

Physical Activity and Sport Act June 17th, 2002


Motion No. 4

That Bill C-54, in the preamble, be amended by replacing lines 17 to 22 on page 1 with the following:

“WHEREAS the Government of Canada is committed to promoting physical activity and sport, having regard to the principles set out in the Official Languages Act;

AND WHEREAS the Government of Canada wishes to encourage cooperation among the various governments, the physical activity and sport communities and the private sector in the promotion of physical activity and sport;”.

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-54, in Clause 2, be amended by replacing line 30 on page 1 with the following:

“member or members of the Queen's Privy Council for”.

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-54 be amended by replacing line 27 on page 2 with the following:

“5. The objects of this Act are to encourage, promote and develop physical activity and sport in Canada. The Minister may take any measures that the Minister considers appropriate to further those objects, and in particular may

(a) undertake or assist in research or studies in respect of physical activity and sport;

(b) arrange for national and regional conferences in respect of physical activity and sport;

(c) provide for the recognition of achievement in respect of physical activity and sport by the grant or issue of certificates, citations or awards of merit;

(d) prepare and distribute information relating to physical activity and sport;

(e) assist, cooperate with and enlist the aid of any group interested in furthering the objects of this Act;

(f) coordinate federal initiatives related to the encouragement, promotion and development of physical activity and sport, particularly those initiatives related to the implementation of the Government of Canada's policy regarding sport, the hosting of major sporting events and the implementation of anti-doping measures, in cooperation with other departments or agencies of the Government of Canada;

(g) undertake or support any projects or programs related to physical activity or sport;

(h) provide assistance for the promotion and development of Canadian participation in national and international sport;

(i) provide for the training of coaches and any other resource persons to further the objects of this Act in relation to sport;

(j) provide bursaries or fellowships to assist individuals in pursuing excellence in sport;

(k) encourage the promotion of sport as a tool of individual and social development in Canada and, in cooperation with other countries, abroad;

(l) encourage the private sector to contribute financially to the development of sport;

(m) facilitate the participation of under-represented groups in the Canadian sport system;

(n) encourage provincial and territorial governments to promote and develop sport;

(o) coordinate the Government of Canada's initiatives and efforts with respect to the staging and hosting of the Canada Games; and

(p) encourage and support alternative dispute resolution for sport.”.