|LEARNERS IN ACTION||March 2002|
Speaking from the Hill
Gordon introduced the issue of literacy by recognizing the high percentage of Canadians with literacy needs.
Gordon talked about changing the focus from the negative aspects of literacy to show the positive things that can happen when people get help with their literacy. He offered himself as an example. Then, Gordon spoke of the far-reaching nature of literacy.
When you say literacy to most people, they automatically think of reading and writing. While it is true that reading and writing are fundamental to literacy, that is not all that literacy is. Oh no! Literacy is about so much more. Literacy is about empowerment: the power that it provides an individual to have control over his or her own life.
It is about making important decisions that can profoundly affect their life, and it is about quality of life: banking with confidence, filling out application forms, taking medication in the proper doses without fear, and it is about being able to understand and communicate with confidence.
Literacy is also about participation in society and being a contributor. Literacy is about citizenship in this great country of ours. More importantly, it is about feeling good about yourself and who you are.
Gordon addressed the need for literacy in the new economy the information age.
The speed at which technology is changing requires that we all be committed to the concept of lifelong learning. In order for Canadians to be competitive in the workforce they must be able to keep up with the constant changes.
Gordon reserved his final comments for the government representatives in the audience.
I encourage you to continue your commitment to literacy by establishing a national literacy strategy and to continue your consultations with the literacy community, including the learners who live with literacy issues. An issue as big as literacy requires the support of many.
It is an issue that is non-partisan and transcends municipal, provincial and federal boundaries. It is an issue that affects all Canadians in some way.
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