Calgary politician introduces bill to make rodeo Alberta's official sport

Steven Psihogios
·2 min read
CALGARY, AB - JULY 07: A bareback rider competes at the Calgary Stampede on July 7, 2018 at Stampede Park in Calgary, AB. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Muhammad Yaseen says a void needs to be filled after the Calgary Stampede was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Calgary-North MLA Muhammad Yaseen sees it as a “beacon of hope.”

Others say it’s wildly inappropriate.

On Monday, Yaseen introduced Bill 212 before an Alberta Government standing committee, in a proposal that if passed would make rodeo the province's official sport. Per CTV News Calgary, Yaseen said the sport represented “an important thread” in Alberta’s culture.

“As a proud Calgarian I was deeply saddened that the iconic Calgary Stampede had to be cancelled last year,” Yaseen said, according to Global News. “This bill will be a beacon of hope for Albertans as we make our way through another challenging year and serve as a reminder that we have much to look forward to.”

The Calgary Stampede, which began in 1912, was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It marked the first time the event has not happened since becoming an annual tradition in 1923. The Stampede highlights the importance of rodeo to the province as it brings more than one million visitors annually and adds $540 million into the provincial economy per year, according to CBC.

Not everyone shares in Yaseen’s enthusiasm.

Some critics of the bill oppose such a move to make rodeo the province’s official sport due to the harm it causes animals.

Executive Director of Animal Justice Camille Labchuk was among them, saying it was “completely inappropriate that Alberta is considering making this cruel sport a provincial sport considering the vast amounts of suffering that it causes to innocent horses and cows every year.”

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If Bill 212 is passed by the committee, it will move to the legislature for debate, according to the Edmonton Journal.