Ministers of sport and recreation meet in Lethbridge

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WATCH ABOVE: Canada's federal, provincial and territorial ministers responsible for sport and recreation are in Lethbridge this week. As Erik Mikkelsen reports, meeting focused on concussions and how sport can help rebuild communities after disasters such as the Fort McMurray fires – Jun 9, 2016

It was a busy two days for the leaders tasked with overseeing physical activity across Canada. Six provincial, territorial and federal ministers were in Lethbridge for the annual conference.

Meetings consumed Day 1 on Wednesday, then it was off to a special evening at Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump that included cultural performances and a tour of the facility.

Thursday, it was back to business at Lethbridge Lodge. On this year’s agenda was the prevention of and safe recovery from concussions, and the impact sport can have in rebuilding communities affected by disasters.

“In a place like Fort McMurray currently dealing with the aftermath of devastating fires, recreation and sport activities will be vital in helping to restore community vitality and happiness,” Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda said.

Conversation also surrounded youth participation in sport, with a focus on indigenous youth.

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“It’s something that we–as leaders–have a strong desire to promote,” Miranda said. “And of course having a nation-to-nation discussion of how we can have an incorporation of indigenous people into that framework is going to be a very crucial discussion.”

Members from Healthy Lethbridge said it’s an important step to see government trying to get youth more involved in physical activity.

“Sport and physical activity are not only going to help our physical being, but also mental well-being,” Alison Pilsner said. “As well as social – getting kids together to play and have that type of interaction.”

“You’re going to be in a happier state as well when you are physically active.”

The ministers meet every year to discuss these topics, which are clearly important to Canadians: a recent Statistics Canada survey indicated 96 per cent of Albertans feel recreation is an important factor contributing to overall quality of life.

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