Mr. John Mullally (Kings):
Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member for Burnaby-Richmond (Mr. Prittie) who introduced the bill has certainly caused a very interesting discussion on something about which I have heard very little before. Even if he is not successful in having lacrosse established as Canada's national game, he has acquired at least one new fan for that sport.
From what we have heard today, I do not think any of us can dispute the historical significance of the game of lacrosse. The promoter of the bill and the hon. Member for Coast-Capilano (Mr. Davis), and others who have spoken, have established beyond any reasonable doubt that lacrosse has been played in this country for a great many years. In fact, as the bill indicates, it has been played in Canada for an unknown period of time, having originated with the native Indian people. On the basis of what has been said by other hon. Members who have spoken I would also agree that lacrosse is certainly an excellent game, one in which stamina, skill, team spirit and active participation are required.
However, in order to establish any sport as the national game I think there are certain other factors that must be taken into consideration in addition to historical background and the fact that lacrosse has many excellent features. I believe that one of the most important factors is that the people of the country would have to accept and recognize lacrosse as the national game, and in my opinion the vast majority of our people would be very reluctant to affirm that this is so.
I know that in my part of the country and probably throughout the whole of the Maritime Provinces the game is not played at all, or at least to a very limited extent at some of the universities. I have never seen an actual game of lacrosse and I think many of my hon. friends from that part of Canada are probably in the same boat. Therefore I would say that by an Act of Parliament we cannot impose on the people of Canada as their national game a game in which very few of them participate, a game which is known to a very small number of Canadians.
June 11. 1965
Topic: DESIGNATION OF LACROSSE AS CANADA'S NATIONAL GAME