Alberta will try to name rodeo its official sport for 2nd time

Alberta will try to name rodeo its official sport for 2nd time

A bill aimed at making rodeo an official sport in Alberta is being repeated by the legislature.

On Thursday, Jackie Lovely, MLA of Camrose, filed Bill 205, the Official Sport of Alberta Act.

“The sport commonly known as rodeo, including chuckwagon racing, is hereby recognized and declared an official sport of Alberta,” the bill said after it was introduced into the legislature.

“I believe the inclusion of chuckwagon racing is essential for rodeo, and chuckwagon racing is quality family entertainment,” Lovely said Thursday, according to Hansard. “These activities are healthy, family-oriented and an important pillar of our cultural foundation in rural Alberta.”

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Calgary-North MLA Muhammad Yaseen introduced a similar bill for private members in December 2020, and a committee report recommended proceeding with the next steps toward the law’s enactment.

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On March 22, 2021, eight UCP MLAs spoke about the importance of rodeo to the province in the debate, including Lovely.

“Here in Canada, our official winter sport is ice hockey and our official summer sport is lacrosse. Also, did you know that curling is the official sport of Saskatchewan? It’s been like this since 2001,” she said at the time, according to Hansard.

“It’s about time Alberta followed suit and recognized our official sport.”

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MLA proposes that Alberta make rodeo the official sport of the province

Edmonton-South West MLA Thomas Dang raised concerns his peers would be wasting time on a bill that appeared to already have support.

“I just can’t understand why the government and UCP are debating approving their own private member’s bill when all UCP members on the private members’ committee support the bill going ahead,” Dang said, according to Hansard.

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“It’s up to that side to make sure they show that there is reason for approval,” Chestermere-Rocky View MLA and then Secretary of State for Culture, Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, Leela Aheer, said per Hansard.

“In fact, I would suggest that the data applied here shows not only the importance of the rodeo, but also all the other important parts that the rodeo applies to, which is of great importance to this province.”

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That session of the Legislature ended on February 16, 2022, leaving Bill 212 uncompleted.

As the Camrose backbencher reintroduces the bill, it still needs to complete three readings and receive royal assent before it becomes law.

And there’s until the provincial elections – May 29, 2023 – to do so, or another breakthrough is on the way.

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