MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT - Charles Craig
I feel that the most significant fact about the recent annual meeting of the Movement is that it was able to occur at all. The last twenty years of Canadian history is littered with the corpses of organizations people have formed in their attempts to effect change in our -country. I am told by those who have been around the field longer that I that two of the bodies lying about were very similar to the Movement. I have also been told many times that the Movement will not survive, that Canadians have little interest, and even less Concern in events that lie beyond their own doorsteps. All of these statements have more than a little truth to them and at time in the past two years, I have often felt that the doomsayers had a lot of valid points.
A number of things have kept the Movement together, but first and foremost, there has been the dedication and times of Audrey Thomas coupled with the commitment and counsel of Alan Clarke. Secondly, the interest and dedication shown by people from all spheres of literacy across the country have contributed greatly to the dynamics of the Movement. Thirdly, and perhaps the underlying reason for our-survival thus far, is that we recognize that we need the contact with each other that the Movement can provide.
We are at a very important point in the development of the Movement. We can look back in pride at the events of the past two years. We have grown from being the arm of an older organization to an incorporated organization in our own right. We have convened a successful national conference. Numerous publications have been brought out and even more numerous studies and submissions have been completed. We have become organized to the point where we have a board of directors which gives us representation from across the country as well as representation from many aspects of the literacy field. All of these are worthy accomplishments.
I also feel that we all know that we have barely begun. The illiteracy rate of this country is a disgrace - no matter which or whose figures we choose to use. Canadian Society's efforts to deal with the problem are feeble at best.
We also have many questions to answer regarding the organization of the Movement. The loss of Audrey's services as executive director will be sorely felt and leaves us with the following question: will we attempt to function in 1979 as a strictly volunteer- organization without a national office? There are many other points to be resolved. Will we launch a general fund-raising campaign or continue to rely largely on grants? Will we attempt to move more strongly into the field of publications and materials development? will we attempt to organize a national convention in 1979? These and many others are all questions that demand our urgent attention.
We have made a brave beginning. However, what must be done in 1979 by the Movement will be just another very small step that must be taken if Canadians are ever to achieve the degree of literacy that will begin to allow them to enjoy any degree of equal opportunity.
On behalf of the members of the board I would like to thank all members of the Movement for their efforts. There remains much to be done. We will need every assistance possible if the Movement is to continue and hopes to accomplish its most necessary aims.