Special Olympics Hill Day

Honourable senators, today is a special day because today I met Brennan White, and perhaps you met people today like Brennan White. Brennan has Down’s syndrome, he’s a Special Olympics athlete, and this is “Special Olympics Hill Day.”

And Brennan, as usual, along with Special Olympic athletes, teaches us a lot about good things, about winning at life, about love, about giving good hugs and why Special Olympic athletes matter in our country. At the end of the day, with Special Olympic athletes on this Special Olympics Hill Day, and every day, there are three words in my vocabulary: inclusion, inclusion, inclusion.

Ever since I walked into the Senate, almost 13 years ago, I’ve devoted my work here to those with intellectual disabilities — autism, you name it, or any other intellectual disability, and Down’s syndrome of course — and the role that they play in our society. If senators haven’t met them today, they have an opportunity to meet them tonight at 5:30 in the Commonwealth Room. They have met parliamentarians and they have been here discussing the positive impact of Special Olympics on the lives of thousands of Canadians.

I am pleased to let you know that Senator Nancy Greene Raine, along with Mike Lake, my friend over on the other side, joined me today in a soccer game that we played on Parliament Hill at noon. It ended in a 4-4 tie, and it was a competitive tie. I managed to throw the ball to a Special Olympics athlete, who scored the tying goal with seconds to go. They are so pleased to see parliamentarians participating in something that is very important. There are fitness and health issues involved — you name it. It was a fun and memorable experience for everyone.

There has been an advertisement on television showing a man who is lifting weights and you hear him saying “Show me the money,” and then at the end he says, “It’s not about the money.” But guess what? It is about the money at the end of the day, because in the 2018 budget — not this budget in 2017 — we’re hoping that the new finance minister will be as generous as the previous finance minister, Jim Flaherty, who was so kind to the Special Olympics with sustainable funding for five years. We’re a sports movement, we’re not a charity, and it matters in this country.

I want senators to keep in mind that this event is in the Commonwealth Room tonight at 5:30. Mark Tewksbury and other Special Olympic athletes will be there. The Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Carla Qualtrough, will be there.

At the end of the day, they are winning at life, and I remind you of their motto: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” So today, honourable senators, I’ve been brave in the attempt. Thank you very much.