Gilles Duceppe, Jack Layton and the Literacy Coalition join forces on Parliament Hill to demand the restoration of $18 million in literacy program funding

    OTTAWA, March 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Members of the Literacy Coalition are
holding a news conference today, in advance of the upcoming budget, and
calling on the Harper government to restore the $18 million recently cut from
literacy program funding. The Literacy Coalition organized a day of action on
Parliament Hill to alert all elected representatives, in particular Monte
Solberg, Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, to the urgent
need in the area of literacy. The leaders of the three opposition parties were
invited to offer their support to the Coalition. Gilles Duceppe, leader of the
Bloc Québécois, and Jack Layton, chief of the New Democratic Party, have
announced their presence at the news conference.
    In 2006, the federal government slashed $18 million-$5 million of which
was destined for Québec-in literacy program funding. Last autumn, over 20
organizations in Québec spontaneously formed the Coalition to protest the cut.
The Coalition is now demanding that Ottawa invest major sums to support the
literacy programs that make it possible to reach out to adults with little or
no literacy skills through diverse promotional and recruitment activities.
    "We're here today to condemn the inaction of this government that has
refused even to meet with us to discuss the negative impacts of its
decisions," said Literacy Coalition spokesperson Maryse Perreault. "We want to
engage the government and members of the other parties to convince them that
behind these cuts, there are people who need training." Actors Marie Turgeon
and Patrice Coquereau decided to become spokespeople for the cause on behalf
of the thousands of people who lack literacy skills and who will no longer be
reached due to the federal spending cuts.

For further information:

For further information: Apraham Niziblian, Public Relations, Literacy
Coalition, Cell phone: (514) 912-3467; Media Department: Literacy Foundation,
(514) 289-1178, extension 227

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