Special Olympics Month

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, as the month of November draws to a close, I would like to remind you that this month is Special Olympics Month in Canada.  The Special Olympics is an international movement that provides opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to train and compete in athletic events.  I am very proud to have been part of Canada’s team inShanghai for the 2007 Special Olympics.  Canada’s team gave exceptional performances and showed the world exemplary sportsmanship.


Il y avait plus de sept mille athlètes de plus de cent soixante nations qui ont participé aux Olympiques spéciaux de Shanghai.  C’est important, parce qu’en Chine, un pays où j’habitais pendant plusieurs années, on ne voyait presque pas des gens avec des problèmes mentaux.  Ils étaient cachés.  On en avait honte.  Le fait qu’il y avait mille athlètes chinois à ces jeux prouvent le pouvoir transformateur du mouvement des Olympiques spéciaux.


Many of you may remember a time we thought mentally challenged people were incapable of participating in sports.  In fact, many mentally-challenged people were kept isolated from society, as if we were ashamed of them.  Started in the 1960s, the Special Olympics showed the world what kind of hogwash that prejudiced thinking was.  Putting the principle of inclusion to work, the Special Olympics breaks down barriers and challenges our thinking about people with intellectual disabilities.  It’s a movement that has changed a small part of the world in a big way.


The Special Olympics movement is alive and well in Canada, but there is more we can do to give more potential athletes a chance to participate.  For Special Olympics month, I urge Honourable Senators to get involved.  You can be a coach, volunteer to get an athlete to practice, or contribute financially to the movement.  By supporting the Special Olympics, Honourable Senators will be helping to reach out to these potential winners and will be strengthening the Special Olympics movement.  You will help break down the barriers that still exist for people with intellectual disabilities.  By supporting Special Olympics, you will help to make Canada more inclusive and the world a better place.


Thank you. Merci.