Publications Assistance ProgramPublished on 17 March 2010 Hansard and Statements by Senator Maria Chaput (retired)
Hon. Maria Chaput:
Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. In francophone Manitoba, we have small community newspapers that usually have about 200 subscribers and put out 10 or 12 issues a year. That is very small.
One example is Le Montagnard in Saint-Léon, which has been publishing for 30 years thanks to its volunteer workers, subscriptions, advertisements and the Publications Assistance Program, which provided postal subsidies. This program will conclude at the end of March and be replaced with a new program called the Canada Periodical Fund. However, this new fund for periodicals requires a minimum production of 5,000 copies per year. Without postal subsidies, francophones living in minority-language communities will lose their small newspapers, as the production of these publications is below the new program’s criterion of 5,000 copies per year.
I ask the leader, shouldn’t this new fund meet its obligations under the Official Languages Act and its responsibilities for the development and advancement of official language minority communities?
Madam leader, would you please find out whether the criteria for the new publications assistance program can be changed so that this program also supports our small French-language newspapers in official language minority communities?