The Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages
Government must support official language minority community media
May 8, 2018
Ottawa – Official language minority community media urgently need federal government support if they are to survive, the Senate Committee on Official Languages said in a letter sent to two federal ministers.
The committee Chair and Deputy Chair wrote to Public Services and Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough and Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly to urge the government to expand its support.
The letter was prompted by testimony from a consortium of official language community media that serve francophone and anglophone minority populations in the context of the committee’s study on modernizing the Official Languages Act. Association de la presse francophone president Francis Sonier spoke for the consortium, which also includes the Alliance des radios communautaires du Canada and the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.
The government’s Official Languages Action Plan 2018-2023 does not go far enough to meet the short- and medium-term needs of community media, the committee said.
The committee suggested to ministers Qualtrough and Joly that the government could release emergency funds in order to help official language minority broadcasters and newspapers that are in financially precarious situations. These media help sustain the linguistic and cultural identities of the communities they serve; they deserve government support.
The committee also urged the ministers to facilitate a meeting between the consortium and government entities that could be in a position to save these important cultural assets.
“Local and community media are key players in the development and vitality of the communities they serve. They have been suffering for many years now due to government cuts in advertisement purchased in local and community media, particularly those in official languages. It is time for the government to recognize the urgency of the situation and act accordingly.”
- Senator René Cormier, Chair of the committee.
“The consortium members help official language minority communities thrive by telling the stories that are important to them. We remind ministers Qualtrough and Joly that the Official Languages Act commits the government to enhancing the vitality of English- and French-language minority communities in Canada and supporting their development.“
- Senator Rose-May Poirier, Deputy Chair of the committee.
- Read the consortium’s committee testimony.
- Follow the committee on social media using the hashtag #OLLO.
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