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Federal Budget 2006: Eight Days for Sport to Make a Difference

April 12, 2006 – Hello friends,

The sport and physical activity community is making real progress in our communications to federal Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty. We are getting the message in about the importance of implementing the Conservative Party’s commitment to invest the equivalent of 1% of federal health spending in sport and physical activity this year.

We’ve received about 100 submissions in 2 days – a great start. It’s also fair to say that we’ll need more to have an impact before April 19th when the Finance Minister’s consultation closes. Eight days to go!

Here is what you can do to make a difference:

– Send an email to the Finance Minister at budget2006consult@fin.gc.ca.

– Copy your email to your Member of Parliament (click here for a list: http://webinfo.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E). You could blind copy us too if you want (bcc: info@sportmatters.ca).

– Pass this message along to others in your sport network.

– Visit www.sportmatters.ca to learn more about the commitments of the new government and the 2006 federal budget.

– Post a link on your website to www.sportmatters.ca. You can download graphic banners from the site too if that helps you get the message out.

– Learn from the example of others like Scott and Kelly Ann below.

Here are a few examples from friends of Canadian sport who have sent along their message:

To: Hon. Jim Flaherty, Minster of Finance.

I am submitting this email to you while you and your Conservative Party colleagues are in the midst of final preparations for the 2006 Budget.

I wanted to follow-up with you today – the day that your government’s Accountability legislation was made public – in the hopes that one of your party’s campaign promises will hold true when the budget is soon announced.

Whether it was the words written in Stand Up for Canada that state “A Conservative government will… Commit to spending at least one percent of total federal health funding annually on physical activity, including amateur sport and programs for school age children such as the Awards of Excellence program.”

Or it was the confirmation I received from the candidate in my riding of Vancouver Centre when Tony Fogarassy wrote on January 10, 2006:
“… I can’t promise specific levels of funding… What I can promise is that I am a strong supporter of sports and will continue to be, and will work at all levels of government for funding to encourage sports and battle obesity…”

Minister Flaherty, I am asking you to please be accountable to the Canadian people – to the millions of Canadians who participate in and/or are affected daily by sport and physical activity – and honour the pledge that the Conservative Government will spend a minimum of 1% of total federal health funding on physical activity and sport.

Your colleague, the Minister of Sport Michael Chong, stated last week to a gathering of federal sport leaders at the Sport Events Congress that it is his intention to implement this commitment.

Coupled with this Conservative Party commitment, there are the myriad of reports available in the Houses of Parliament and federal government offices – including the Mills Report: Sport in Canada: Everybody’s Business (1998), the Canadian Sport Policy (2002) and the Physical Activity and Sport Act (2003) – that show how money for sport & physical activity translates into money for healthcare, increased well-being for the citizenry, a substantial positive effect on the economy, and much more. The evidence is overwhelming on the impact that enacting this budgetary promise to spend 1% of the total federal health funding on physical activity and sport would have from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

So, Minister Flaherty, while you face an ominous task preparing the Federal Budget, I trust that you will act now to implement your party’s 1% promise.

Regards,
Scott Allen
Vancouver
cc: Hon. Michael Chong, Minister for Sport, Hon. Hedy Fry, MP for Vancouver Centre

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Dear Minister Flaherty,

As per the Conservative’s campaign promises for the 2006 Federal Budget, I hope that you will move ahead with your promises of an equal contribution to 1% of the Federal Health Budget being dedicated to Sport and Physical Activity, amounting to a minimum of $300 million investment in sport per year.

The links from sport to the health of Canadians have the ability to make a huge impact on Canada’s youth. Investing more money into sport will positively affect the maintenance and development of grassroot sporting programs across the country. Creating and maintaining sport programs will give all Canadians a chance to choose an active lifestyle. Many Canadians do not have access to such programs at this point due to lack of development or various other accessibility issues more money can help to alleviate (ie: lack of facilities, lack of developed resources, cost of basic sport fees). Finally, putting more money into sport will inevitably contribute to more numerous and better-quality national team athletes receiving medals on international podiums. Who, in turn, will further inspire youth to get active in their communities where the money would be available to create & maintain sport program & sport facilities.

Thank you for your promised dedication towards working for sport in Canada and for all those Canadians with a vested interest in sport, we look forward to the Conservative Party’s follow-through of their campaign promises.

Kelly-Ann Hodgins
Riding of Ottawa Centre
cc: Paul Dewar, MP

Because sport matters,

Ian Bird
Senior Leader
On behalf of the Sport Matters Group

For more information, please visit www.sportmatters.ca
Phone: Toll free: 1 800 670 5785 (Ottawa – Gatineau : 613.526.2912)
Fax: (613) 569-6601
Email: info@sportmatters.ca

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