For Immediate Release
April 11th, 2007
Ottawa - Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government is quietly making unprecedented funding cuts to Canada’s world renowned multiculturalism programs, charged Liberal Critic for Multiculturalism, Colleen Beaumier today.
“This government has done everything it can to keep this quiet, including burying the numbers, but there’s no getting around the facts,” said Ms. Beaumier. “Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government is dismantling Canada’s Multiculturalism Program.”
A careful analysis of Department of Heritage forecasts shows a trend of steady cutbacks. For the 2006 fiscal year, the Department records show it will have spent no money on Multiculturalism programs intended to promote inter-cultural understanding—down from $16.2 million the year before. In 2007 and 2008, Canadian Heritage again plans to spend nothing on these program activities. After a nominal increase in 2006, Canadian Heritage also plans to spend less in 2007 and 2008 on Multiculturalism programs promoting participation in community and civic life.
“The same minority Government that is planning almost $24 billion in new spending and tax breaks is cutting funding to Multiculturalism programs,” said Ms. Beaumier. “Clearly, multiculturalism isn’t one of Mr. Harper’s Conservative priorities.
Introduced in 1971, Canada’s Official Multiculturalism Policy requires the government to assist all cultural groups to develop and contribute to Canadian society, to overcome barriers to full participation, and to promote cultural interchange amongst all Canadians in the interest of national unity. Today, the Multiculturalism program, administered by Canadian Heritage, administers a number of programs, including Canada’s Action Plan Against Racism, which are meant to meet the obligations of the policy.
“This is no surprise coming from this prime minister. When Stephen Harper was the leader of the Alliance Party he publicly reconfirmed the Reform Party’s expressed goal of eliminating all funding for multiculturalism. Whatever lip service the Government may now pay to multiculturalism doesn’t change the fact that key members of his party have always called for its abolition.”
Office of Colleen Beaumier