A message from Ben Viccari,
President, Canadian Ethnic Media Association:
Tory government slashes federal Multicultural budget in half; does Steven Harper have a hidden agenda?
A serious situation is arising that affects all of us concerned with Canadian Multiculturalism and I am writing to ask you to make your voice and that of your readers, viewers of listeners heard.
The policy of Multiculturalism was originally advocated by key members of the Ukrainian-Canadian community, introduced as official policy by Prime Minister Trudeau in 1971, included in the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights and furthermore became The Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988, passed unanimously by all parties [actually under the Tory government of Brian Mulroney].
When the present government gained power, it was first announced that Jason Kenney, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister would be responsible for Multiculturalism, then the responsibility was switched to Bev Oda, minister of Canadian heritage, and some months ago was returned to Kenney who has been named Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity, apparently without Cabinet representation. The Department of Canadian Heritage continues to administer the Multiculturalism program.
If you read the news releases below which comes from Colleen Beaumier, Liberal MP for Brampton West, you will want to know, as I do, why government funding to Multiculturalism has been slashed in half.
Can it be that the Prime Minister has a hidden agenda regarding Canadian Multiculturalism? Can it be that a serious decline in funding to Multicuturalism presages an attempt to dismantle the policy that so many Canadians cherish and, indeed, we, as members of CEMA do by belonging to an organization that supports the principles of Multiculturalism and Canadian citizenship and the right of free expresson without ethnocentirc bias.
Please take time to read the statements that follows: that comes from Sterling Lynch in the office of Colleen Beaumier. and if you are concerned with the present governments apparent downgrading of Multiculturalism would you please as a member of an ethnocultural community e-mail your protest to:
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
with copies to
Mr. Jason Kenney
Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity
House of Commons,
Mr. Sterling Lynch, Office of Colleen Beaumioer, MP
Thank you for your time and please read the following release.
Here is the press release issued by Coleen Beaumier of the Liberal Party of Canada
April 16, 2007
Conservatives Confirm Funding Cuts to Multiculturalism Program
On Friday, April 13, the Conservatives confirmed funding cuts to Canadas Multiculturalism Program.
Numbers dont lie, said Ms. Colleen Beaumier, the Liberal Critic for Multiculturalism. All the spin in the world wont change the fact that the Conservative Government has slashed funding to Canadas Multiculturalism program by half.
In 2005-2006, roughly $34 million was spent on the Canadas Multiculturalism Program. $16 million went to programs to promote intercultural understanding and $18 million to programs to encourage participation in community and civic life.
In a press release dated April 13, 2007, the Conservatives claim to have budgeted only $17 million for Multiculturalism in 2006-2007which is half of what was spent in 2005-2006! In the next two years, the Conservatives confirm they again plan to spend only $17 million per year and, according to Canadian Heritages own documents, none of this money is budgeted for programs to promote inter-cultural understanding.
I guess spending half the money spent in 2005-2006 seems like a lot for Mr. Harper who, when leader of the Alliance Party, indicated that he doesnt think Canadas Multiculturalism policy and program should receive any funding at all, said Ms. Beaumier. Its about time this Conservative Government be honest about its plans to abolish Canadas Multiculturalism program.
Office of Colleen Beaumier
TEL (613) 996-2878
FAX (613) 995-6796