Again this year at the Reception, learner leaders such as Dorothy Silver (MCL), Amède Brideau (FCAF) and Arnie Stewart (Laubach) made powerful appeals on behalf of low-literacy Canadians across the country. (See, for example, the speech by Dorothy Silver in this issue of literacy.ca.)
During the Reception, M.P. Don Boudria, the Government's House Leader, received a special award from the literacy community in recognition of his contribution to literacy in Canada. Mr Boudria had just graduated with a B.A. in History from the University of Waterloo. But that degree did not come easily: Mr Boudria had to study during the weekends for 11 years, having left high school at the end of grade 11 for family reasons.
Cooperation and flexibility are essential to the success of LAD. Again this year, we benefited by sustained interest and support from Senator Joyce Fairbairn and her staff, and officials within the National Literacy Secretariat, and of course across the literacy community itself. LAD 99, as in previous years, was seen by everyone as a win-win event that is crucial to maintaining visibility and active support for the literacy cause on Parliament Hill.
The literacy community (in its fullest sense!) owes a debt of gratitude to this year's LAD Coordinator/Scheduler, Heather Sterling. Heather not only survived, but mastered, a complex and ever-changing schedule of meetings and preparations, pulling together with excellent support from Denise Bourdeau (coordination of French meetings) and Danielle Plouffe (French translation), a memorable and persuasive event.
Dorothy Silver Wins Award
Dorothy was recently named Woman of the Year in Fredericton. She received the award from Beta Sigma Phi, the university womens organization. It is an award of recognition for outstanding work in the community. Dorothy spoke for 20 minutes at the award dinner and received a standing ovation. At MCL we know from direct experience just how powerful Dorothys speeches can be! This is the opening address she gave at LAD 99:
Take Literacy to Heart
Usually when I get up to speak, I talk about my school experience. Most learners do start here. School is the first place that we find out that we are different. Its where we experience failure, embarrassment and other negative feelings.
But, with the recent release of the paper, "How Does Literacy Affect the Health of Canadians?" and with the good news of federal money being given to health care, I want to bring you directly to the link between health care and literacy.
The health paper I referred to states some of the direct effects of literacy on health such as:
Other things the report says are:
One doctor that I know says that the greatest waste in health care is the young parent who can not understand the message on the medicine bottle. They give the child the antibiotic for two days, see improvement, stop the medicine and a few days later end up in the emergency room again. And this happens again and again. Why? Because they cant read well enough to follow directions.