Last week, addressing some of the obstacles that Canada faces in its quest to Own the Podium, I ignore a critical consideration: the separation of sports funding by provincial boundaries. Canada manages National Sports Organizations and the Canadian Olympic Committee but ten provinces and three territories control various Provincial Sports Organizations – and far more money – according to vastly different standards.
Certainly, thirteen diverse recipes produce thirteen different outcomes, some more successful than others. For example, the Government of Quebec links sport to the health and fitness of the overall population and spends about $7.40 per capita on sport, four times the amount spent by Ontario, Canada’s largest province.
Kouzes and Posner’s Five Leadership Practices illustrates how Quebec employs logical ideas and methods to get the most out of their money, generating winning athletes and healthy citizens.
- Modeling the way
Quebec’s Minister of Education, Recreation, and Sport sees achievements by the province’s athletes as a way to demonstrate that “fitness is fun”
Should Canada choose to follow Quebec’s example, international results would improve. Quebecois athletes have access to resources similar to peers in other countries; athletes in other provinces do not.
- Inspiring a shared vision
Quebec has become a leader among Canada’s aquatics and speed skating communities as a result of its top facilities and podium finishes at international competition.
- Challenge the process
Quebec has made a commitment to building international-level facilities throughout the province, inspiring potential athletes to move to Quebec to train and allowing the province to host more sporting events.
The province incorporates ideas from various sports into training for all athletes, for example using dance to improve flexibility.
- Enabling others to act
Investment in coaches and facilities provides athletes with the resources needed to win.
- Encouraging the heart
Many Quebec athletes were motivated by the success of their predecessors. The province endeavours to create a culture of sport and health.
There are more details to Quebec’s accomplishments but these key points, gleaned from a TSN report during their Canada Games coverage, exemplify that sport in Canada has a long way to go to match world standards but that money, hard work, and focus can make success possible in all sports.