Why some MPs are swimming together

Publication Source: Macleans
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Author: Mitchel Raphael

Conservative MP John Weston always cycles in Ottawa. Even when it’s the dead of winter—he simply uses snow tires. He is a fitness buff who runs marathons and has a black belt in tae kwon do. Weston has recently been sporting bow ties in homage to Earl Blumenauer, the Oregon congressman who is a strong supporter of cycling initiatives. The Conservative MP is currently pushing for a “National Health and Fitness Day.” He has put forward a motion that says: “Canada by nature offers abundant recreational and fitness opportunities through such things as our mountains, oceans, lakes, forests and parks; we as Canadians could therefore be the healthiest and fittest people on Earth.” The motion aims to combat the “growing concern over chronic disease.” Weston says MPs can set examples, especially when it comes to child obesity. He is working closely with NDP MP Peter Stoffer and Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan on health initiatives, including the Bike Day on the Hill on May 9. The three are also promoting weekly running and swimming sessions for MPs. On the swimming front, they got Conservative MP John Cummins to take his first-ever swimming lesson and Conservative MP Joy Smith went into the water for the first time in her life. (Smith had a swimming tragedy in her family.) Green party Leader Elizabeth May is also part of the group and says Smith told her, “If I can do it, so can you.” The group encourages each other regardless of skill, although it is acknowledged that Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow is one of the more fit participants and one of the best swimmers.

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