Aboriginal sports organization wants minister’s support
Team Ontario marches into the 2008 North American Indigenous Games in Cowichan, BC.
An Aboriginal sports organization is hoping the sporting background of Ontario’s new Aboriginal Affairs minister will result in an increased focus on the benefits of sport for First Nations and Metis youth.
The Aboriginal Sports and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) says that new minister David Zimmer’s background in swimming, hiking and weightlifting should help him to “personally understand the benefits of physical activity.”
“Our hope is that Mr. Zimmer’s experience as a parliamentary assistant and personal understanding of physical fitness will help contribute to greater opportunities and success for Aboriginal peoples in sport and recreation,” said ASWCO chair Marc Laliberte.
Laliberte said there needs to be strong partnerships between various Aboriginal sport organizations as well as Ontario’s ministry of health and ministry of Aboriginal Affairs to ensure that youth have the best chance to succeed in sport.
“In the past, Aboriginal sport and recreation was an array of multitude of initiatives and pilot projects,” Laliberte said. “With collaboration with the Ministry of Health Promotion, AWSCO is in solid position to expand and develop real leaders and contributors to province of Ontario within the realm of sport, recreation and wellness models.”
ASWCO is currently working on picking boys and girls hockey teams to represent Ontario at the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship taking place in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory April 28 – May 3. Selection camps are happening across the province.
The organization has also started planning for 2014 North American Indigenous Games taking place in Regina next year.
New Ontario Premier Kathlene Wynne appointed Zimmer, MPP for Toronto’s Willowdale riding, minister of Aboriginal Affairs in February 2013.
He previously served as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of Aboriginal Affairs.
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