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Special Olympics Canada Saddened by the Passing of Supporter and Champion, The Honourable Jim Flaherty

TORONTO, April 10, 2014 /CNW/ - Special Olympics Canada (SOC) is deeply saddened by the passing of a passionate champion and advocate, Minister Jim Flaherty. We extend our sincerest condolences to Minister Flaherty's family, friends and colleagues in this difficult time.

Special Olympics in Canada will miss an impassioned and committed supporter. While seeking increased financial support for the delivery of programs and competitions for athletes with an intellectual disability, Minister Flaherty played a vital role, providing counsel and encouragement. In the recent budget, Minister Flaherty and the Government of Canada approved significant additional funding for Special Olympics Canada, which will allow our organization to grow and reach even more individuals with an intellectual disability across the country. Minister Flaherty believed in the transformative power of sport to change lives, which he demonstrated through his involvement with Special Olympics, among other organizations. He understood the value of an inclusive and respectful society. Minister Flaherty was an integral part of Parliament Hill and a great Canadian.

"The entire Special Olympics family are overcome by the loss of a an amazing champion and friend," said Special Olympics Canada Chief Executive Officer, Sharon Bollenbach. "He was an incredible advocate of sport for all Canadians, his actions speaking even louder than his words. We are sending our condolences to Minister Flaherty's family and friends during this very trying time. He leaves a remarkable legacy and will be profoundly missed."

About Special Olympics Canada

Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through the transformative power and joy of sport. Operating out of sport clubs in 12 provincial and territorial Chapters, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sport to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, close to 37,000 athletes with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada. They are supported by more than 17,000 volunteers, including more than 13,000 trained coaches.

SOURCE Special Olympics Canada

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