Debates of the Senate  
2nd Session, 41st Parliament, Volume 149, Issue 70
  Thursday, June 12, 2014
 
Question on Bill S-211: National Health and Fitness Day Bill
Hon. Lillian Eva Dyck: Senator Raine, thank you for that speech. Of all people, I think you're a wonderful model of fitness. The only thing that bothers me is the fact that your government cut the ParticipACTION program just this spring. That program had been running since 1970 or 1971. It was very successful at getting Canadians moving. In Saskatoon, for example, it was widely used. That doesn't fit with your bill, which says we need to get people moving, especially youth. In here you can disassociate yourself as a senator of your government. Your bill is one thing, but your government is doing something quite different. How do you reconcile that?

Some Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.

Senator Raine: Honourable senators, I was there when ParticipACTION was founded many years ago. It came out of a task force on sport that I served on back in 1968-69. That program took as its slogan, and I think we remember it:

The average 30-year-old Canadian is not as fit as the average 60-year-old Swede.

That program made Canadians more aware. It ran for many years and eventually was dropped. Unfortunately, I was busy doing other things at that time so I'm not sure why it flagged; but it was reintroduced.

I would like to invite my colleague, Senator Smith (Saurel), if he wouldn't mind, to say a few words or query me on ParticipACTION.

[Translation]

Hon. Ghislain Maltais (Acting Speaker): Order, please.

If everyone would wait their turn to speak, this would be far less complicated. Senator Smith will ask his question, and then it will be Senator Campbell's turn. Senator Smith has the floor.

[English]

Hon. Larry W. Smith: Senator Raine, were you aware that ParticipACTION operated from 1969-70 to 2000 when it ended because the brand had faded? It was then rejuvenated by the Conservative government around 2004-05, I believe. I sat on the board of ParticipACTION for several years. You're right, Senator Dyck: The funding was cut this year. Initially, the funding was for the start-up phase, which was about seven years. I was wondering if you were aware of that. They were highly successful in leveraging the funding to get ParticipACTION going, and I hope it's expected to continue.

Senator Raine: Thank you for the question. Yes, I was aware that ParticipACTION's funding was reduced in the last budget, but the core funding remains. The start-up amount that was set aside and indicated to them was reduced. They are alive and well and healthy and have made wonderful partnerships with many private sector agencies.

Senator Dyck, I was hoping you would ask me a question about Aboriginal communities and how they can get involved.

Some Hon. Senators: Question!

Senator Raine: If you don't mind, I will say that this group of private and non-private people is reaching out, in this initiative, to First Nations communities who have a wonderful program going already called IndigenACTION, and I would really like to embrace that.