Peter MacKay didn’t throw
punches when he stepped into the ring Friday at Palooka’s Boxing Club,
but the federal cabinet minister still incited claps from the crowd
when he announced an additional $2 million in funding for the 2011 Canada
Winter Games in Halifax.
The cash comes from the Atlantic
Canada Opportunities Agency and will help pay for everything from sports
equipment to promotion and marketing for the Games, which is expected
to be the biggest athletics event in Halifax’s history and stimulate
$81 million in economic activity for Nova Scotia.
“It’s an investment by
our government to help in the volunteer recruitment . . . (and) in training
to allow community members to build their skills,” MacKay said, adding
the dough will also buy a boxing ring and gymnastics gear.
This ensures the province will
“have safe, up-to-date equipment,” MacKay said. “Sport, simply put, is an
incredibly important part of our country. It brings out the very best
MacKay was joined by provincial
Health Promotion and Protection Minister Pat Dunn, Councillor Mary Wile and
Games chairman Jean-Paul Deveau. All four speakers strapped on gloves,
smiling for the cameras rather than sparring, inside the Gottingen Street
Dunn said the Games, set for
Feb. 11 to 27, 2011, “will leave us with a legacy of new and upgraded
sports venues.” He pointed to the province’s history of hosting
such events, including the first Canada Summer Games in 1969.
are still using some of the sports facilities created for that.”
Palooka’s owner Mickey MacDonald
said the Games will give young athletes in Halifax “something
to look forward to.”
“Any sport is great for the
kids – it teaches them discipline, it teaches them teamwork, it teaches
them focus,” he said. “It builds their character.”
Organizers say more than 2,700
athletes will compete in 20 sports, with thousands of spectators also
expected at the Games.