Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Monday, December 1, 2008

playing chicken on parliament hill

Well things are getting politically exciting here in the icebox. Our current minority Conservative government proposed a mini-budget that left many confused and perplexed. In amongst a few proposals to ease financial were the following items: Civil servants would have their right to strike suspended for a year; the public funding for political parties, a measure introduced as a campaign funding reform measure aimed at limiting the influence of private interests, would be eliminated; and the right to appeal pay equity rulings would be removed.

The opposition parties responded that they cannot support the proposed financial statement because it addressed economic issues too lightly and included measures that reflect a particular brand of conservative ideology.

Thomas Walkom calls Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's economic update, "a bizarre document that bears no relation to either reality or any of the current prime minister's recent statements" and that "downplays [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper's fears of a lengthy economic depression, ignores his stricture not to cut back at a time when governments should be doing more and singles out seemingly random targets in an effort to solve problems that don't exist."

Now the opposition parties are working to form a coalition that can replace the Conservatives after a non-confidence vote and the Conservatives are backtracking on some proposals, calling the potential coalition undemocratic, releasing excerpts of covertly made tapes of opposition party meetings, and questioning the leadership of their party.

What does this all mean for federal literacy policy and funding? Who knows. The Conservative Party has restricted funding for research and development in literacy and has stated a number of times that it is not the federal government's role to provide remediation for people who failed in the past, which of course says more about their lack of understanding about adult literacy than the people to whom they are referring.

We will keep watching this story and once the dust settles we will try to figure out if literacy work will be better supported by the potential coalition government of if we will be looking at more of the same.

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