NDP Renews Call for Lifelong Learning Strategy

NDP celebrates Family Literacy Day, renews call for federal lifelong learning strategy
NDP Literacy Advocate Denise Savoie (Victoria) issued the following statement to mark Family Literacy Day this Saturday, January 27:

"Family Literacy Day is a time to recognize and celebrate the crucial role of families in fostering the literacy skills of future generations. I know from my own experience as a parent and grandparent how rewarding it is to spend time passing on to our children a love of books and learning.

"Families are the foundation for building a culture of lifelong learning in Canada, but parents cannot do it all alone. There are nine million Canadian adults who need improved literacy skills in order to succeed in today's workplace and society, and millions more — of all ages — who could benefit from better access to quality literacy, skills training and other learning opportunities.

"Both Liberals and Conservatives have turned their back on learners. While tax cuts flow freely from the federal tap, funding for crucial literacy projects has slowed to a trickle.

"Literacy groups across Canada have been struggling for several months to maintain their programming because of severe delays in the federal funding process, drastically restricted criteria, and a multi-million-dollar cut to the funding pool.

"After months of waiting, some literacy groups are finally getting responses to their funding applications. However, instead of being approved, they are given tight deadlines to re-write their proposals according to a new set of criteria, which was added after the proposal submission deadline by former Human Resources Minister Diane Finley.

"Easing this imminent crisis in Canada's literacy community must be the first task for new Human Resources Minister Monte Solberg.

"Meanwhile, the NDP will continue to press for a pan-Canadian strategy on lifelong learning that would go beyond simply restoring the Conservative funding cuts from September 2006. It would end the chronic federal neglect by requiring a commitment to adequate long-term federal funding, leadership, and collaboration with provinces and territories to address Canada's literacy and learning challenges."

Family Literacy Day has been celebrated across Canada since 1999, to promote the importance of reading and learning together as a family. Every year, families and community groups participate in events coordinated by literacy organizations, schools and libraries.