GANANOQUE — Michael Coteau—the third-term Liberal MPP and former Ontario Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and of Children and Youth Services—joined Gananoque Mayor Ted Lojko and Councillor Mike Kench to call on town council to rescind a section of municipal by-law 2015-070, which bans road hockey.
In an open letter, Coteau said:
“I am a firm believer in a simple mantra—let kids be kids.
"The health benefits of physical activity are well known and obvious. At the same time, sports teach things like communication, teamwork, compromise, patience and perseverance. Most importantly, play and sports provide a sense of belonging. While safety is vital and important, I believe this is one of those instances where politicians are getting in the way; the best thing we can do is just let kids be kids.
"In 2016, I wrote to the City of Toronto urging them to overturn their ban on road hockey. They voted to do so with some thoughtful conditions added for safety. Today, I am writing to Mayor Lojko asking that he consider doing the same.
"Road hockey bans are commonplace in municipalities across Ontario, but they don't need to be. A vote to overturn the prohibition and let kids play will challenge other municipalities to abolish similar road hockey bans in their own communities.
"Let's celebrate our kids and our communities—and what better way to do that than with a game of ball hockey in Gananoque!”
Michael Coteau immigrated to Canada as a child and grew up in Flemingdon Park, a working-class neighbourhood in North York. The first member of his family to graduate high school and university, he started his own small business, worked as a community organiser and head of a national nonprofit. He was elected to the Toronto District School Board three times and served as vice-chair of the board, championing digital tools in the classroom, equity strategies and community use of schools.
Coteau was elected three times as Member of Provincial Parliament for Don Valley East, and served in multiple ministries where he was tasked with bringing people together to fix tough files, including supports for children with autism, reforming services for children in care, delivering a successful Pan-Am Games, supporting film and cultural economic development, and implementing an anti-racism strategy.
He and his wife, Lori, are raising two young daughters.
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