Visitors in the Gallery
The Hon. the Speaker: Honourable senators, I wish to draw your attention to the presence in the gallery of members of the Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club. They are the guests of the Honourable Senator Munson.
On behalf of all honourable senators, I welcome you to the Senate of Canada.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear!
Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club
Hon. Jim Munson: Senator Dawson asked if you are the guys I play hockey with. No, they’re the guys I have a beer with.
Honourable senators, somewhere someplace in Ottawa, someone is having a cold, refreshing beer on a hot June day. I want to talk about a special organization where having a pint goes hand in hand with giving back to your community. It’s called the Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club.
Forty years ago, a group of men had an idea over a few cold ones: They wanted to help the Ottawa sporting community. Playing sports wasn’t on a level playing field for everyone. Those of us who live and breathe Parliament Hill are sometimes unaware of what takes place just steps away from politics.
Honourable senators, today I want to salute the Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club and the vision of a few buddies back in 1979. They wanted to do something for amateur sport, especially children and organizations who loved baseball but didn’t have enough money to play or operate a team. Bruce Hamilton, Gordon Hamilton, Brian Boston, Fred Whitney, Bob Elliott, Ray Fortier and Ken Neirenhausen were the founding members. Little did they know, in 1979, just what they would accomplish, but they wanted to give back to their community. They did that and more.
In the first 30 years, the club donated $3 million dollars to amateur sports groups and individuals. In the last 10 years, the club continues to give and give and give.
Honourable senators, their generosity goes beyond sports. They know how to fundraise the old-fashioned way of bingos to modern-day golf tournaments. At sports banquets, education bursaries are handed out to male and female sports award recipients.
In recent years, the club has touched my heart by buying hockey and soccer equipment for a Syrian family. The first real English phrase from that Syrian family, one of the boys told me after he learned how to skate on the canal he says, “He shoots, he scores.”
Then there is helping out families that need a little extra to help pay medical bills in a time of need, a young aspiring basketball player struck by cancer.
This is what community service is all about. That is why the community sports icons like former Ottawa 67s coach Brian Kilrea, Tim Murray and Jeff Hunt have supported the work of the Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club.
Honourable senators, I believe and I know you believe it is important to acknowledge the volunteer organizations like the Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club. They are the backbone of a community and it’s more than sports. It’s about lending a helping hand. The names continuing on Rob Clouthier, Derek Barnes, Jack Cloutier, John Goold and Steve Boston. Who would have thought 40 years ago that a conversation over a few pints of beer would have led to was important to every community, giving back. Thank you.