Statement Regarding the 2021 Jeux of La Francophonie – Moncton/Dieppe

Written by  Thursday, 31 January 2019 19:48

On January 30, 2019, Premier Blaine Higgs announced the New Brunswick government’s decision to withdraw from hosting the 2021 Jeux de la Francophonie. While we are disappointed New Brunswick will no longer be host to this international event we understand the position taken by the Government. Given the ballooning costs that have come to light over the last few months and the Province’s current financial challenges, hosting these Games under the current cost sharing formula would have put a tremendous strain on the Province.

Premier Higgs had stated numerous times over the last few months that the commitment of $10 million would be honoured. While we understand that some of that money has been expended and more will be needed to end the hosting agreement we hope that the remaining funds that were committed to sport and culture will remain in those areas. Sport NB certainly does not have any expertise to can offer in the cultural side but we would like to draw attention to some key points with regard to our Province.

  1. The benefits of participation in sport, recreation and physical activity are many, significant and varied.  The Canadian Fitness and Lifestyles Research Institute listed benefits of participation which included reducing sedentary behaviours, tackling the growing issue of type 2 diabetes and supporting healthy weights.  Each of these is particularly significant to New Brunswick as it ranks 8th in provincial physical activity levels, 2nd in rates of obesity (33.2%) and 2nd in type 2 diabetes (6.3%). 
  2. Participation can also support such things as challenging sedentary lifestyles, promoting community engagement, fostering leadership development, building self-esteem, steering individuals away from high risk activities and connecting people with nature – just to name a few.  To maximize all of these benefits, sport and recreation have to provide quality experiences and more and more, this relies on paid leadership.
  3. As the demands on the sports system in New Brunswick continue to grow (concussion policies, promotion of participation for under-represented groups, alignment with the Canadian long term athlete development model, Respect in Sport Movement, etc.), more local and provincial organizations are finding the need for a staff person to be essential.
  4. Both administrative and technical staff are needed in the system, but they come at the expense of driving up costs.  Some larger organizations with executive directors have managed to fund a technical director position from their own resources.  The large majority, however, cannot afford to pass the costs of adding a position on to the participants and make do without.   Increasing program costs to pay for technical staff would price more kids out of the system altogether.