The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, PC, MP
Minister of Science and Sport
Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame
St. Catharines, ON
April 11, 2019
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Hello and welcome.
I want to start by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg, Ojibway/Chippewa and Haudenosaunee Peoples.
It’s a great pleasure to be here at the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Lacrosse, also known as the Creator’s Game, has an amazing history here in Canada, and we were fortune to see that firsthand. Thank you again for the tour.
Lacrosse, our national summer sport, has been played by Indigenous Peoples in this region for nearly a thousand years. The Canadian Lacrosse Association was founded in 1867.
Canada’s men’s lacrosse team won the gold medal in the 1904 and 1908 Olympics-the only two times that it was part of the Games.
And today, lacrosse is a permanent sport in the North American Indigenous Games, giving young Indigenous athletes the opportunity to compete in the sport and celebrate their cultures.
The Federation of International Lacrosse has 62 member nations and hosts the World Indoor Lacrosse Championships every four years-Canada has won gold in all four tournaments, with the Iroquois Nationals winning silver in each.
We also have the National Lacrosse League with 11 teams spanning from New England to Vancouver.
And today I’m happy to announce a further expansion of this sport-in 2021, here in Niagara Region, box lacrosse will be played at the Canada Summer Games for the first time!
We know that including lacrosse in the Canada Games will grow the game.
It will give our players the opportunity to showcase their skills, test their abilities against the best in the country, and it will help build an increasingly growing fan base.
Our government is investing $1.7 million in this pilot project, which will allow each jurisdiction from across Canada to field a men’s team and a women’s team in the 2021 Canada Summer Games.
This is not only a great opportunity to promote lacrosse…it is also a significant step in our government’s commitment toward reconciliation.
Sport has the power to transform lives and to bring communities together.
And, as we heard from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, sport and physical activity are vital parts of Indigenous identity.
We are working hard to fully respond to the TRC’s Calls to Action, and to work in partnership to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous communities through sport participation.
A couple of weeks ago, I had the honour of visiting Chief Ava Hill of the Six Nations of the Grand River. She has been a strong advocate for the inclusion of lacrosse in the Games, and I want to thank her for her guidance and her determination to get us here.
This pilot project responds directly to a resolution adopted by the Assembly of First Nations Special Chiefs Assembly.
And it builds on our commitments as a government to support Indigenous sport leadership and participation.
We are proud to continue supporting the Canada Games, which play a vital role in developing young Canadian athletes, and leave legacies of new and improved facilities in communities across the country that encourage and inspire future sport participation.
I want to thank everyone who has helped get us to this point, including the Canada Games Council, 2021 Canada Summer Games Host Society, Chief Hill and the Six Nations of the Grand River, the Aboriginal Sport Circle, the Canadian Lacrosse Association and the Assembly of First Nations.
I know that, together, we will make these a truly special and meaningful Canada Games.