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The 'lace underwear set' vs. the 'jockstrap crowd'

From visiting the local food banks just to fill the cupboard to asking their parents for loans, Canadian amateur athletes have to make great sacrifices in order to realize their Olympic dreams. They say the federal government doesn't spend enough on amateur sport. But federal ministers like Otto Jelinek argue that athletes should not expect government handouts.

Comparing federal funding for sports versus the arts is the hot topic, as noted sports editor Jack Matheson trades barbs with Leonard Stone of the Winnipeg Symphony. In this clip from CBC Radio, Matheson argues that the funding for sports and arts is grossly disproportionate, considering nine out of ten Canadians are involved in sports in some fashion. "The federal government panders to the lace underwear set and barely tolerates the jockstrap crowd," jibes Matheson.

Matheson says that while the Royal Winnipeg Ballet was recently granted $275,000 without asking for it, sports "has to beg and get down on its knees and grovel to get anything accomplished." Stone calls the statistic of widespread sports activity "baloney" and argues, "the federal government and all levels of government give more money than anybody knows to the development of sport, particularly amateur sport."

When program host Alice Poyser opens up the phone lines, a caller lets Matheson know that Canada is too involved in sport and that there are more important things to think about. "Like what?" asks Matheson. The segment suddenly veers off into another direction when the caller answers, "Getting rid of this radical element we have in Quebec who are out to break up our country."
. Jack Matheson served as a long-time sports editor and columnist for the Winnipeg Tribune newspaper. A respected newspaperman who was also a well-known radio broadcaster, he was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame for his service as a sports reporter.

. An article in 2003 from the Winnipeg Free Press revealed the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra was suffering from financial problems. The report stated the orchestra owed its landlord, the Manitoba Centennial Centre, more than $200,000, and that the orchestra hadn't paid its rent since June 2002. The orchestra broke even in its previous fiscal year, but was $1.8 million in debt at the start of 2003.

. Founded in 1939, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is considered Canada's leading ballet company. Arnold Spohr took over as artistic director in 1958, helping the Winnipeg Ballet become one of the leading ballet companies in the world.
Medium: Radio
Program: Summer Switchboard
Broadcast Date: July 16, 1972
Guest(s): Jack Matheson, Len Stone
Host: Alice Poyser
Duration: 10:35
Photo: National Archives of Canada (PA-195686)

Last updated: February 3, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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