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Special Olympics Hill Day

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Statement made on 27 September 2010 by Senator Jim Munson

Hon. Jim Munson:

Honourable senators {...} It is great to be back here. It is another invigorating moment in our lives, all of us gathered in this chamber, primed and looking forward to launch into our work for Canadians.

Tomorrow is Special Olympics Hill Day, an occasion for us to direct our attention to a movement that for more than 40 years has been enriching the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.

In 1968, the first Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago, remarkably at a time when most people with intellectual disabilities lived in institutions and were marginalized from society. Most of us here will remember when this marginalization was the norm and will appreciate how dramatically things have changed for the better. Gone are the days of the common assumption that people with disabilities are incapable of becoming physically fit and developing skills to participate in sports.

In Special Olympics Canada there are now 32,000 athletes of all ages and 14,000 volunteers involved in programs. As everyone knows, my involvement with Special Olympics is one that touches me personally, as it does for others in the Senate. It has a distinct place in my heart and is a source of terrific inspiration.

Special Olympics is all about enriching lives. It is a promise to people with intellectual disabilities.

The experience of becoming involved is important and I encourage senators to listen tomorrow when a Special Olympics representative comes to your office. I think it will be an enlightening moment. I also want to say that Senator Janis Johnson and I will host an event as well.

Tomorrow, Minister Lunn and I will team up with parliamentarians to face off with the Special Olympians in a soccer match at noon. This is something to which Senator LeBreton should pay attention, because it is important and based on a past message from her. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience tomorrow because it will be an opportunity for honourable senators to see "Miniature Lunn" and "Senator Munchkin" on the same team, at the same time, on a level playing field.


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