Couchiching Connects: June 2014

In this Issue:

A Message from the President

The 2014 Summer Conference

Call for Nominations

Couchiching Conversations

The Couchiching Gala 2014

Marketing and Communications Committee

Our Members Write

Couchiching Alumni in the News

Relevant Readings and Viewings

Calling All Readers

News Flash!!

The 2014 Couchiching Summer Conference is open for registration!

 Act soon - Early Bird Registration closes on June 30th.

Scholarships are available for students, athletes, and young professionals.

A Message from the President Amanuel Melles


I am looking forward to meeting a lot of you on the grounds of beautiful Lake Couchiching for the 2014 Summer Conference! Our Program Committee has worked hard for almost a year to organize what will be another great conference, a signature event for the Institute. Apart from a line-up of superb speakers, panellists, and keynote speakers, which you can check out at our website, the conference is a unique Pan-Canadian space where you connect with amazing people from all walks of life. This year, with sport being the theme, you can safely look forward to actually getting active and having fun by participating in sport activities. Please bring a friend or a colleague along with you. Details on registration for the conference are also available on the website.


As we count the weeks to the Summer Conference, I am also gearing up with my board peers and friends to inject energy into the Institute's strategic planning process. Post-conference, we will be engaging with our members, partners, and friends to help us chart our next three years. After 82 years, the Institute is at a cross-road. We must optimize our existing relationships, build new ones, and consolidate our resource base. We will explore how technology and knowledge mobilization will open new avenues for engagement.

Have a wonderful summer until I see you at the lake in August!

The 2014 Summer Conference

More than a Game: The Politics and Potential of Sport, August 7-10, Geneva Park, Ontario

Summer Conference Co-Chairs, Douglas Gibson and Heather Keachie

The Couchiching Summer Conference is less than two months away! Register now before June 30th to benefit from our early bird rates. Registration is available online.

Big news! We have just confirmed two more great speakers for our conference. Thomas Hall, 2008 Olympic bronze medallist in sprint canoeing, and David Peterson, former Premier of Ontario and current chair of the board of the Toronto 2015 Pan/Para Pan Am Games Organizing Committee, will be joining us on Friday, August 8th to discuss "The Perils and Promises of Olympic-sized Dreams." Watch the July issue of Couchiching Connects for their bios and those of Bob Elliott, Paul Jurbala, and Lynne LeBlanc.

With the FIFA World Cup captivating the attention of sports fans across the globe, it's more important than ever to engage in thoughtful discussions on the positive benefits and negative impacts of international sporting events. Both Tom Hall and David Peterson will have much to offer to the conversation.

See you at the lake! 


Meet four remarkable leaders who will speak at the 2014 Summer Conference.

Dr. Allan Downey was born and raised in Waterloo, Ont. He is a member of the Nak'azdli First Nation and is a recent graduate of the PhD History program at Wilfrid Laurier University. Playing lacrosse since he was ten years old, Allan has played at several of the highest levels and took his passion for the sport and turned it into a PhD project. His dissertation, "The Creator's Game", focused on the history of lacrosse in Aboriginal communities from 1867 to 1990 to better understand Native-Newcomer relations and Aboriginal identity formation. Beyond teaching at Laurier in the North American Studies Program and Department of History, he is currently a Research Fellow at the University of Waterloo and splits his time between volunteering for non-government organizations such as Right to Play and presenting his research in Aboriginal communities.

Dr. Colin Higgs is Professor Emeritus at Memorial University where he worked on developing physical education and sport for more than 30 years and served as Dean of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation. Working initially in the field of sport for persons with a disability, he designed sporting equipment for elite athletes, and researched ways in which to improve their performance. Bothered by the way his contributions were giving already privileged athletes even greater advantage over athletes from under-developed countries, he turned his attention to improving sport opportunities in developing countries, spending time living and working in the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean. Combining sport development and sport for persons with a disability eventually led to using sport as a tool to advance the physical, social, and political lives of disabled individuals in the Caribbean, Central and South America, and in Southern Africa, and to youth development through sport programs around the world.

Colin has served as president of the Canadian Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (now Physical and Health Education Canada) and as vice-president for Scientific Services for the International Council for Sport Science and Physical Education. He has served on the board of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and was an advisor to the International Paralympic Committee. He has worked and lived in more than 40 countries, has recently completed work with Right to Play on sport for post-genocide reconciliation in Rwanda, and is currently working to re-invent the sport system in Canada with Canadian Sport for Life, and with UNICEF on stigma reduction against children with a disability in Azerbaijan.

Hon. Kellie Leitch is the Member of Parliament for the Ontario riding of Simcoe-Grey. Elected to the House of Commons in May 2011, she was appointed Minister of Labour and Minister of Status of Women in July 2013. Previously, she was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour in May 2011.

Dr. Leitch is a paediatric orthopedic surgeon and an associate professor of surgery. She is the former Chair of the Ivey Centre of Health Innovation and Leadership and has served on various councils and boards, including the YMCA and Community Living. As a volunteer, Dr. Leitch served as council member on the National Research Council of Canada, was a board member of Genome Canada, a director of the YMCA of Greater Toronto board of directors, Vice-President of the Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, and founder of The Sandbox Project, whose vision is "to help make Canada the healthiest place on earth for children to grow up."

Dr. Leitch earned her Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Toronto in 1994 and her MBA from Dalhousie University in 1998. She has been recognized with the Order of Ontario for her advocacy work on behalf of Canadian children and, in 2005, she was selected as one of Canada's "Top 40 Under 40" for her work in both medicine and business.

Dr. Margaret MacNeill is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto, where she is also teaches in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Collaborative Graduate Program in Women's Health. Public Health Ontario has recently appointed her to the Scientific Reference Committee for the Healthy Kids Community Challenge.

Margaret's media and motion research projects span sport media studies, physical cultural studies, the framing of gender and race in action, health communication and biopedagogy. Current investigations include media coverage of public policy and risk, healthism and physical literacy, critical approaches to wellness in interprofessional education, photovoice depictions of barriers to physical activity, and athletes' rights and social media engagement.

See Speakers' Profiles as reported in previous issues of Couchiching Connects and on the website.

February 2014

Orlando Bowen is the executive director of One Voice One Team.

Guylaine Demers, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Physical Education of Laval University.

Ken Dryden is a Canadian politician, lawyer, businessman, author, and former NHL goaltender.

March 2014

Pierre Lafontaine is the CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

Nancy Lee has held leadership roles in Canadian broadcasting and international sport for over 20 years.

April 2014

Phyllis Berck is the director of the Toronto Office of Partnerships.

Michael Chambers is a senior partner with the Ottawa law firm, Maclaren Corlett LLP.

Bruce Kidd, PhD, is Interim Principal of the University of Toronto Scarborough, Warden of Hart House, and a Professor of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto.

Richard W. Pound, O.C., O.Q., Q.C., Ad. E., F.C.A., is a lawyer in Montreal with Stikeman Elliott LLP.

May 2014

Olivier Bauer has published three books on hockey as a religion.

John Cawley is the Director of Programs and Operations at the J. W. McConnell Family Foundation.

Bruce Dowbiggin is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and author.

Parissa Safai is an Associate Professor in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science in the Faculty of Health at York University.

Call for Nominations - Gwen Burrows

As chair of the Couchiching Nominating Committee, I invite nominations to the Board of Directors for election at the Couchiching General Meeting of Members, to be held at the Summer Conference, Geneva Park, on August 9th, 2014.

I encourage all of you who are not currently members of the Institute to become a member so that you can participate in the selection of the board. Membership is $75, for which you get a charitable tax receipt. The funds support the vital work of the Institute, including covering costs of the Summer Conference, supporting students to attend, and supporting our year-round programming.

If, as a member of Couchiching, you wish to nominate a candidate for election to the Board, please make the nomination in writing and send it to Your nomination letter must include your own signature, the signature of a seconder (who must also be a member of the Institute), and the name of your nominee, plus a brief biography of the nominee and a certificate from the nominee confirming that he or she (a) is willing to serve as a Director of the Institute for up to three years and (b) is, or is willing to become within 10 days of being elected, a member the Institute.

I hope to see you at Geneva Park for the election - and for what promises to be another terrific conference!

Couchiching Conversations
Chair, Conversations, Salim Rachid@salim_rachi

Spirit of Social Change Conversation Series

It's a wrap, but we're not done yet! Couchiching Conversations in partnership with the Inspirit Foundation and with support from the Baha'i Community of Canada curated 11 powerful conversations on spirituality and its connection to social change. Conversations have convened youth from diverse backgrounds in eight cities across Canada -Toronto, Mississaugua, Ottawa, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, and London. This series wouldn't have been possible without the tremendous support of our local partners. Please join us in thanking them!

Conversations Upcoming  

July 3 Toronto Conversation: Join Alan Broadbent, chairman and founder of Maytree in our upcoming conversation, "Re-imagining Toronto: Increasing our Decision-making Powers". Toronto is a powerhouse yet it is bound by layers of governance that bleed quality ideas and is forced to accept top-down proposals from the provincial and federal governments that are inherently flawed. In comparison, many European cities have just as much as power as their federal counterparts. Can Toronto take on such a governance model? "Urban Nation" advocates for Canada's largest cities to have greater control of their destiny. Should Canada give Toronto and other multicultural and economic hubs more independence? Join us as we discuss these questions and many more ahead of a heated municipal election in October 2014.

Couchiching Conversations blog - Check out a new piece from our Edmonton Conversation on "Reconciling the Common Spirit.

Couchiching Conversations micro-site: Registering for future Couchiching Conversations is easier than ever before. Check out our Conversations dedicated site. Also visit the site to find out more about our local partners. For Conversation photos, click here.


The Couchiching Gala 2014
Chair, Public Policy and Gala Committee, Leslie de Meulles

Check out our photo gallery to see the beautiful venue and our august attendees for yourself.

Marketing and Communications Committee
Chair Aisha Silim; Vice-Chair Sheila Robertson

All members and friends of the Institute have been invited to the 2014 Summer Conference, and the word has being spread through a variety of sport organizations that have an interest in this year's topic.

We encourage everyone to share news of the Summer Conference, and let us know if they are attending. The website has been updated with information on the speakers and sessions. Stay tuned for more details for what promises to be a great conference. Those who are interested can also follow us on Twitter.

Our Members Write ...

Maclean's, June 2nd: In a three-part series Martha Hall Findlay, executive fellow at the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy, a former Liberal MP, and a member of the Institute's board of directors, argued that Canada's system of supply management for dairy farmers should be dismantled. "There is a lot more to Canada's dairy farms than the idyllic settings portrayed in the TV ads with the dancing cows. Dairy, poultry, and egg farming, alone among all of Canada's food production, are governed by supply management, an archaic, decades-old-and very costly-controlled-market system. We continue to artificially support this small group, barely six per cent of all Canadian farmers, by fixing prices, imposing extremely high tariffs to keep those prices high, and controlling production. This system, Canada's very own regulated cartel, costs virtually every Canadian, sometimes in multiple ways-yet very few know anything about it, what it costs them, or why they're paying so dearly for it."

Read more.

Couchiching Alumni in the News

Last week was a busy one for Mary Jo Haddad, former president and CEO of The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) as she received not one, but two honorary degrees in recognition of her outstanding service to the hospital and the community at large.

On June 5th, she was celebrated for her "extraordinary leadership within the health-care sector" by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) who heralded her as "a compelling health-care visionary, and a powerful champion for pediatric health." Read more

On June 6th, Mary Jo, who was a table host at the 2014 Couchiching Gala, took part in the convocation ceremony for the Faculty of Community Services at Ryerson University and received an honorary doctorate in recognition of her "exemplary career." Read more.  

The Globe and Mail, May 17th: National business correspondent Shawn McCarthy wrote: "At 30 years old, Phil Fontaine was an angry man. "A survivor of sexual abuse at a residential school, separated from his parents at a young age, forbidden from speaking his native language, the Anishinaabe from Manitoba was elected at the age of 29 as chief for the Sagkeeng First Nation, situated east of Lake Winnipeg. By his own account, he was impatient and belligerent, especially in his dealings with government bureaucrats." Read more.

Relevant Reading and Viewing


Sport Matters Group, June 2nd: Senior Leader Bob Elliott, on behalf of the millions of Canadians involved in sport in Canada and the 60+ national organizations who are part of the Sport Matters Group, sent a letter to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) President/CEO Hubert Lacroix in regard to the recent budget cuts to the CBC and the possible side effects for the network's coverage of amateur sport. Bob will be a speaker at the 2014 Summer Conference. Watch for his bio in the July issue of Couchiching Connects. The letter is available at Read more


The New York Times, June 10th: David Epstein, a reporter at ProPublica and the author of The Sports Gene, wrote:

"The national furor over concussions misses the primary scourge that is harming kids and damaging youth sports in America. The heightened pressure on child athletes to be, essentially, adult athletes has fostered an epidemic of hyperspecialization that is both dangerous and counterproductive." Read more.

The Globe and Mail, June 1st: Sports writer Allan Maki wrote: "It remains Canada's national sport, a way to forge our identity, feed our passion. But for parents worried about the health of their children, hockey is no longer the game of choice. Faced with a near daily stream of new research about the alarming and often long-term effects of concussions on youth, more and more parents are balking at hockey's dangers." Read more


Mail on Sunday, June 9th: Reporter John Greechan wrote: "WADA president Sir Craig Reedie believes the war on drugs cheats in athletics has been redefined ... but it must continue. The war is not unwinnable. Nor is it any longer being viewed in such gladiatorial terms, as anti-doping authorities cast themselves in a more protective than offensive role. And, if the clean athletes taking part in this summer's Commonwealth Games leave Glasgow feeling they have been at least partially shielded from the worst cheats, the testers will be able to declare mission very much accomplished." Read more.  

PlayTrue Magazine, May 26th: "The World Anti-Doping Agency has launched ALPHA, an Athlete Learning Program about Health & Anti-Doping. ALPHA is a program that adopts a fresh approach to anti-doping education by addressing how an athlete's attitudes shape his or her intentions, and ultimately determine doping or anti-doping behaviors." Read more

Hardball Talk, May 15th: Blogger-in-chief at NBC Craig Calcaterra wrote: "After the Mitchell Report came out, I argued that maybe baseball would have been better served if it had used such opportunities and efforts to learn about players' doping habits, suppliers and incentives rather than merely produce a list of players for the media to tear apart and which the league itself could hold up." Read more.  

Inside the Games, May 19th: Reporter Nick Butler wrote: "Xenon and Argon gas have been added to a list of banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency after a study found they artificially boosted performances." Read more

National Public Radio, May 10th: "As the Giro d'Italia bicycle race sets off in Ireland this weekend, the shadow of doping will not be far behind. In a competition to beat the cheaters, scientists are constantly trying to improve drug testing. While it can be hard for regulators to keep up with new habits, when an athlete is finally caught doping, the result can be revolutionary." Read more.


The Age, May 27th: Hans Westerbeek, a professor of sport business and dean of the College of Sport and Exercise Science at Victoria University, wrote: "If elite professional sport is a microcosm of our society, then... Houston, we have a problem. How do we better prepare young Australians to make well-informed decisions in regard to playing and enjoying sport in a world where performance-enhancing drugs, sexism, homophobia, racism, corruption, gambling and political power plays are rife?" Read more.

Law in Sport, April 25th: Director Richard Farndale and senior solicitor Neeraj Thomas wrote: "A disciplinary process, sporting or otherwise, operates within its own context and is most effectively administered by those who know the organisation best. Quick 'common sense' decisions in smoky rooms won't pass muster any more. Successful decision making requires an understanding of the ground rules, and their careful application." Read more


Canadian Sport for Life, May 22nd: Alberta is taking cross-sectoral collaboration to new heights with the creation of a unique new position. Dr. Vicki Harber, member of the Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L) Leadership Team, has been appointed to the position of Alberta CS4L Coordinator. Read more. 

The Globe and Mail, May 20th: Canadian Press reporter Lauren La Rose wrote: "A new report reveals that the overall physical activity levels of Canadian kids are lagging behind those of youngsters from other nations. For the first time, Active Healthy Kids Canada is using its annual Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth to see how Canadians measure up to kids in 14 other countries." Read more.

The Globe and Mail, May 15th: Health and high performance expert Dr. Greg Wells wrote: "You know that exercise is good for your body. What you might not realize is that exercise is just as good for your brain as it is for your muscles. We are now learning how exercise can improve concentration, learning, focus and memory, and can even prevent and treat mental illnesses." Read more

Medical News Today, May 15th: German and Swedish researchers said: "Along with following a nutritious diet and avoiding risky behavior like smoking, part of a healthy lifestyle includes exercising regularly. But two new studies published in the journal Heart suggest doing too much high-intensity exercise may increase risks of dying from a heart attack."


The Globe and Mail, May 5th: Dr. Martin Gibala, a professor and chair of the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University, wrote: "Ask 10 fitness professionals and you will likely get a range of nuanced opinions, but in fact, we really do not know the answer. The American Heart Association recently sponsored a debate on the topic at a meeting held in San Francisco." Read more.  


The Globe and Mail, May 15th: Reuters reported that "Criminals are using betting on sports events to launder $140 billion each year, a report said on Thursday, exposing a lack of effective regulation that allows match-fixing to spread. Soccer and cricket were identified as the sports most threatened by criminals seeking to rig the gambling market." Read more.  


CBC News, May 14th: "Speedskater Gilmore Junio made worldwide headlines when he stepped aside from the men's 1000 metres at the 2014 Sochi Olympics so Canadian teammate Denny Morrison could compete, a selfless act for which Junio today received a special commemorative, crowd-funded medal." Read more.  

Canadian Sport Centre Calgary, May 12th: "The Canadian Olympic Committee and Canadian Paralympic Committee announced the Olympians, Olympic coaches, Paralympians, and Paralympic coaches who will take part in the 2014 Celebration of Excellence presented by RBC, which includes a House of Commons visit, Heroes Tour to hospitals and schools, and the Sochi 2014 Parade of Champions." Read more.  


The Irish Times, May 13th: Reporter Paula Mee wrote: "Many athletes use supplements as part of their training or competition routine. This practice may stem from the belief that a normal diet is not sufficient for optimum performance. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for good nutrition and a balanced eating plan. Additionally, an over-reliance on supplements can result in the athlete neglecting their core diet." Read more

USA Today, May 9th: Reporter Alison Young wrote: "Scientists have found a 'cocktail of synthetic stimulants' in a U.S.-made weight-loss supplement while investigating a series of health problems experienced by Dutch consumers, according to research published this week. The supplements Dexaprine and Dexaprine XR are sold by California-based iForce Nutrition." Read more.  


The Globe and Mail, May 13th: Reporter Cathal Kelly wrote: "Though the drafting of Michael Sam into the NFL is being portrayed everywhere as the beginning of something, it is more importantly an end.

"If all goes to plan, Sam will become the second openly gay male athlete to play in a major team sport. I count five qualifiers in that previous sentence. We're getting well past the point of groundbreaking on this particular score." Read more

SIRC, May 16th: The Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), along with its partners AthletesCAN and the Coaches of Canada, announced the upcoming launch of "Leading the Way: Working with LGBT Athletes and Coaches" as part of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. This comprehensive resource is designed for use by coaches, and is based on the real experiences of Canadian athletes and coaches. It highlights current lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans (transgender), and two-spirited (LGBT) issues taking place in Canadian sport from the playground to the podium, and provides best practices for coaches on making their sport a more welcoming place for those who identify as LGBT. Read more


Inside the Games, May 9th: Paul Osborne wrote: "The Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games have been given a huge vote of confidence by Americas Paralympic Committee President Jose Luis Campo following a three-day Coordination Commission visit to the Canadian city." Read more

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, May 30th: Postmedia reporter Margaret Munro wrote: "The federal government has slashed funding for ParticipACTION, knocking the wind out of the organization that promotes fitness and healthy living - a message obesity experts say is more important than ever."Read more.  


Inside the Games, May 28th: Television journalist and Olympic pundit Philip Barker wrote: "Emails from English Premier League head Richard Scudamore have been under fierce scrutiny amid allegations of a culture of sexism. The sporting archives across the world reveal women in sport have faced obstacles for well over a century." Read more 

Canadian Journal for Women and Coaching Online

Read more.

Calling All Readers of Couchiching Connects!

Please send information on Newsmakers, Couchiching Alumni in the News, and Opinions: Our Members Write/Speak ... to Sheila Robertson, Vice-Chair, Marketing and Communications; Editor, Couchiching Connects.

2016 Summer Conference

The Canada Project

Identity, Citizenship, and Nationhood in a Changing World

August 5-7, 2016
The YMCA Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON

Read More


Couchiching Connects
April 2017
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