Coalition For Active Living

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Board Updates July 4, 2005

Dear Coalition Membership,

On May 13, 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin announced that the Honourable Paul De Villers, Member of Parliament for Simcoe North, has been appointed as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister has asked Mr. De Villers, ”to assist with the advisability of co-ordinating the Governments activities related to healthier Canadians through recreation, physical activity and sport,” said the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister asked Mr. De Villers to work with Ministers Owen, Bennett, Frulla and Dosanjh to design what organizational structures might be adopted in order to encourage greater physical activity and healthier Canadians, and to build capacity in the Canadian sport system. Once his review is concluded, Mr. De Villers will prepare a report for the Prime Minister. That is expected within the next week or so.

The Coalition for Active Living has been consistent in its approach to discussion of this type within the Federal government over the past 3 years.

CAL has advocated for:

· The Leadership of one government Minister – working with other related Ministers - in making physical activity a national priority.

· Implementation of national policy for physical activity based on the Pan-Canadian Physical Activity Strategy.

· Significant Federal investment to increase the physical activity of Canadians. Current investment should be increased from $3.2 million to $100 million annually.

· Action in partnership with the Voluntary sector and the Provinces and Territories to address the current crisis.

While to date the Coalition for Active Living has not advocated for specific structures in Government, such as those being examined by Mr. De Villers, we commend the Prime Minister for examining organizational structures “in order to encourage greater physical activity and healthier Canadians”. We also eagerly anticipate the recommendations of Mr. DeVillers.

Representatives of the Physical Activity Community, including CAL have had 2 opportunities to meet with Mr. DeVillers and have found him to be both passionate and sincere about raising the importance of Physical Activity on the federal governments agenda, and getting it properly resourced.

Following our meetings with Mr. DeVillers, I have had questions from some of you about what messages might be most helpful for those organizations choosing to write letters of support to Mr. DeVillers and wanting to encourage him to recommend the creation of a new ministry for Physical Activity and Sport to the Prime Minister. I know from your phone calls that many of your organizations are strongly in favour of this, and believe that this is our community's best opportunity to do the kind of work we all want to do to tackle the crisis.

If you or your organization chooses to write a letter of support the time is NOW – this week.

Key points are listed below and have been vetted with the appropriate contacts.

If you want to make an impact with your letter of support for Mr. DeVillers, consider addressing the following points:

- physical inactivity is at epidemic proportions – mention stats to support (i.e. generation at greater risk than its parents there is plenty of information on the CAL website)

- what has happened in the past hasn’t worked – the way it is now isn’t working – physical activity isn’t getting the attention it deserves – there isn’t a national physical activity policy or strategy recognized by the Federal Government despite the communities work on the Pan-Canadians Physical Activity Strategy

- It is advisable (necessary?) that the federal government better coordinate its policies and programs with respect to physical activity and sport

- Canada is lacking leadership and coordination and needs “one stop” shopping

KEY POINT **********support the creation of a single department for physical activity and sport********* – as the best way to deliver physical activity policy and programming. Physical activity can be a part of the Healthy Living Strategy if housed outside of the Public Health Agency – as is the case for nutrition, but being housed in its own department means that physical activity can be more than just a part of that strategy.

Those members choosing to write letters of support may want to cc the other Ministers or the PM – in any event it will be attached to Mr. DeVillers report to the PM.

The Hon. Paul DeVillers
Room 172, Confederation Building
House of Commons
Ottawa, K1A 0A6


If you need to FAX: 613.996.3128


You don't need a stamp on letters to Members of Parliament.
We have received many requests for this information, and hope it meets your needs.

Stephen Grundy
Coalition for Active Living
Telephone: 613-277-9979
Fax: 613-830-5625