No, you really should. Not that anyone will judge if you don't feel particularly inspired. Speaking as a reformed political junkie, I fully understand the desire to throw them all under the bus.
But, it's important and since policy has been in short supply in this New Kind of Strong Anyone But Harper Dion's Not a Leader Ontario NDP No you suck campaign....
Below the jump a summery of the Liberal, Green, Conservative and NDP platforms on sport and recreation.
The Conservatives are short on details, and are the only party that doesn't include sports and recreation policy with the health care platform--the CPC seems to view sport in the same way Reagan era Republicans did. It's a form of culture and nation building--something to get the juices flowing and the flags waved.
The platform reads:
A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will continue support for sport and amateur fitness in Canada, at both the elite and recreational levels. We will also enhance the Children's Fitness Tax Credit by making it refundable.
As said, a little short on the details. However, I'm sure a Conservative candidate would tell you that the government just did increase spending on Own the Podium by $10 million and that Stephen Harper really likes hockey. He's a Leafs fan. The opposition will tell you that the Conservatives aren't really offering anything of substance and that, other than a tax cut aimed at the middle class, they haven't really delivered over the past two years. Also, they would suggest, Stephen Harper is evil.
The Liberals don't offer a lot more detail than the Conservatives, although they do throw a number out--$3 billion. Tying the increased spending into the promotion of a healthier society, the Liberals seem to be suggesting that the majority of that money would go to improve sport infrastructure.
The platform reads:
...At least $3 billion for Sports and Recreational Facilities because an active
society is a healthier society and Canada must renew and expand its arenas
and other leisure facilities.
I'm sure the Conservatives would tell you that the Liberals had a decade plus in power where they paid little attention to the file. The Liberals would counter that that was then, under the leader with the funny accent (in either language) that they don't talk about, and that Stéphane
Dion really likes hockey. He's a Habs guy, clearly.
The NDP, always big fans of detailed policy, are a little more detailed in their plans. Again tying it into health care policy, the dippers are committing 1 per cent of federal health care spending to sport and recreation. Although they don't mention elite sport at all...they don't mention elite sport at all. The party's entire focus is on improving access to recreation for, (sigh), everyday working families.
Dedicate one per cent of the Health Canada budget to physical fitness and amateur sports promotion, including:
Investing in the development of more community centres, seniors centres, recreational facilities and playing fields.
Launch a federal Determinants of Health Initiative with emphasis on clean air, safe water, reducing poverty and improving children's health and nutrition. We will ban trans fats and expand other initiatives to promote healthy foods and healthy eating, including:
Addressing the crisis of childhood obesity by implementing a pan-Canadian strategy, and limiting the exposure of children to "junk food" promotion.
Ensure that all infants in Canada have access to hearing testing, in cooperation with the provinces and territories.
Increase support for provincial and territorial health initiatives, including the Cancer Control System.
Invest in trails associations across the country, joining forces with Canadians who are blazing new trails by walking, cycling, wheeling, skiing and running their way to healthier, more active lifestyles.
The Grits and Tories will tell you that the NDP doesn't have a chance in hell of forming the government anyway, so they can promise anything they want (the Libs will have less of an argument about comparative relevancy than the CPC does) and they might point out that there is little for Canadian Olympic athletes in that platform. The NDP will counter by suggesting that there platform is the only one that focus on everyday needs of Canadians and that the creation of more bike paths is a unique green initiative that is overlooked by the traditional ruling parties. Also, Jack Layton really likes hockey. He cheers for the Parkdale Flames atom girls.
The Greens aren't going to get elected, but they do have a nice, detailed policy platform that addresses both elite and recreational sport. Here it is:
* Promote a broad-based national program of active living as a prescription for better health and lower health care costs, to be delivered in partnership with provincial, municipal and non-governmental bodies to achieve the goal agreed to by all ministers responsible for physical activity across Canada of increasing physical activity by 10% over the next five years.
* Introduce a national standard of daily, quality participation in physical activity in schools, colleges and universities to combat the epidemic of youth obesity.
* Make a strategic investment through Health Canada of $500 million over five years to aggressively address inactivity and obesity.
* Re-introduce a national school-based fitness-testing program.
* Promote the “Walking School Bus,” as developed by the Toronto Atmospheric Fund, in which adult volunteers supervise neighbourhood children walking to school thereby reducing pollution, improving fitness, and promoting community street safety.
* Endorse and promote the Olympic Movement’s Agenda 21 for Sport, which advocates sport and recreation management practices that are sustainable and encourages sustainable practices at all sports events and facilities.
* Establish an Olympic Spending Accountability Act, to ensure the effective long-term use of taxpayers dollars provided to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
* Support the development of high-performance athletes both by encouraging broad-based participation in sport, and by contributing to the provision of essential facilities, coaching and medical support for high-performance athletes, as outlined in the 2003 Canadian Sport Policy.
* Structure the spending for sports to ensure there is a practical progression of long-term financial support for sport at all levels in the sports continuum.
* Establish a Canadian Sports Spending Accountability Act, to ensure the effective long-term use of taxpayers dollars provided to high performance sports programs.
The other parties likely won't say much of anything about the Greens because they fear further legitimizing the party. The Greens will tell you that a green environment will allow for an overall healthier society and that their platform goes the furthest to address that. Also, Elizabeth May really likes hockey. She just knows that the Vancouver Blue Bombers are going to win the World Series this year.