Some of you may or may not know about this, but there is a pool of money set aside by the Canadian Government to help fund Canadian athletes to strive for excellence. Yet, motorsports is not listed among the sports eligible for this kind of support. The Governments reasoning that since the “majority” of the work is done by machine and not by the athlete and therefore motorsports is not eligible is absolutely asinine.
I would challenge any politician to jump on a dirt bike and ride for 30 minutes plus two laps full-out as hard as they can push. I would challenge any politician to head into the woods and race for three hours. Or, in the case of the ISDE, ride a bike for six hours against the best athletes in the world.
Now, is it realistic to provide funding for everyone who owns a dirt bike? Well, no. But funding international projects like the MXdN, ISDE and Trials Des Nations would be a good start. These are national programs that cost thousands of dollars. Fundraising helps, but oftentimes the money to represent Canada comes from the riders themselves.
I understand that many athletes across many sports do the same, but to disqualify motorsports because it includes engines just doesn’t make sense to me.
(Photo Courtesy of Dawn McClintock)
Through Sport Canada, the Canadian Government has created the Canadian Sport Policy, which has the following objectives (http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1414151906468):
OBJECTIVES OF THE CANADIAN SPORT POLICY
Through five broad objectives, the Policy aims to increase the number and diversity of Canadians participating in sport:
• Introduction to sport: Canadians have the fundamental skills, knowledge and attitudes to participate in organized and unorganized sport.
• Recreational sport: Canadians have the opportunity to participate in sport for fun, health, social interaction and relaxation.
• Competitive sport: Canadians have the opportunity to systematically improve and measure their performance against others in competition in a safe and ethical manner.
• High performance sport: Canadians are systematically achieving world-class results at the highest levels of international competition through fair and ethical means.
• Sport for development: Sport is used as a tool for social and economic development, and the promotion of positive values at home and abroad.
Now with that being said, I would like to list just a few sports that do receive funding under this program. The numbers are for 2013-2014 and are truly staggering to me; these are public record that anyone can search for on the Government of Canada website. You will see once I list a few below why it is infuriating to me why motorsport athletes are shunned.
Equestrian: $1,317,000 in core funding (http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1414163607236/1414163711099)
Lawn Bowling: $203,500 in core funding (http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1414166804401/1414166973135)
Sailing: $1,112,000 in core funding (http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1414167206044/1414167389422)
Water Skiing and Wakeboarding: $647,000 in core funding (http://canada.pch.gc.ca/eng/1414173951383/1414174046659)
So now let's go back to the core argument as to why motorsports doesn’t get assistance under Sport Canada. Since the rider is aided by an engine, it is ineligible for government assistance.
Am I the only one looking at this and thinking, Doesn’t the horse do most of the work? The boat would stay afloat even with no one on it, and I am pretty sure Silken Laumann is not rowing a boat so people can water ski or wakeboard behind it.
How are these sports eligible yet motorsports is not? Can someone please answer this question for me? If anyone in government office is reading this, please enlighten us.
If the goal of this program is to aid in providing Canada with world-class results, maybe the Government should have paid attention to Canada finishing on the podium at an international event in 2014. Maybe it should have paid attention to Canadians competing at the MX of Nations. The ISDE is considered the Olympics of off-road and yet not a penny is spent.
Ultimately, it really is time for some answers to this question. So share this blog with your Member of Parliament and let's see what kinds of answers are given to a community that not only supports this country on the world stage, but pay thousands of dollars to do it.