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SENATORS’ STATEMENTS — National Health and Fitness Day

May 22, 2024

Honourable senators, I think across Canada we can all agree that this Victoria Day weekend was one to be spent outdoors, even if it meant some snow activity in the West. I am sure that many of you got out and embraced the outdoors, and you weren’t the only ones who got moving.

Last week, I was thrilled to attend the Olympic & Paralympic Swimming Trials in Toronto. The athletes and coaches were in full force over seven days of exciting performances. What made this event even more special was the work required in the background over a very short time to keep this event alive.

A fire in the host pool venue in Montreal led to a complete and complex scramble. Eventually, hosts and sponsors moved this event to Toronto. Airlines helped our athletes and coaches with flights from around the world. Hotels worked to cancel hundreds of rooms and find new accommodation. Technical teams regrouped to produce a first-class event in a few short weeks. These trials, after all, are a must.

There were many highlights, but one that stood out was Brooklyn Douthwright becoming the first New Brunswicker to qualify for the Olympics since the great Marianne Limpert, another New Brunswicker — you would think I lived there — last did it in 2007. The icing on the cake was that Marianne Limpert, as an alumnus, was on the pool deck in Toronto when Brooklyn qualified. Their photo, taken together on Saturday, is worth a thousand words.

Senators, as we approach June and Canada Day and as we prepare to unite in supporting our athletes at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, let’s start again with our own health and well-being. This week we will start with Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, a great event to walk or run a variety of distances. Next week, on June 1, the first Saturday in June, is National Health and Fitness Day.

For newer senators, NHFD was established here in the Senate by way of Bill S-211, introduced by the Honourable Nancy Greene Raine as a legacy from the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games and designed to get communities healthy and active. Each of us needs to be physically and mentally well, but we should also ensure that our home communities have the infrastructure they need for all members of the community to be physically active in a safe and inclusive way.

Please get out and get moving and send us pictures, post on social media with #NHFD, and be creative.

Also and finally, to get an accurate picture on the health of our young people when going into this year’s National Health and Fitness Day, next week, on May 30, I invite you to join my Facebook session that will highlight the impact of climate change on child and youth physical activity. Dr. Mark Tremblay and Dr. Louise de Lannoy will share the results of the 2024 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, their research and the challenges to get our young people moving more frequently.

Thank you, colleagues. I look forward to seeing how you get moving on June 1.

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