Mr. Speaker, Wednesday is national child day and there is no better gift to give children than literacy.
Canada's children are among the most fortunate of the world and yet they may be facing an ever-increasingly complex world with a false sense of security. More than 40 per cent of Canada's current adult population do not have the literacy skills for today's information based economy and worse, many of these Canadians do not recognize that this is a problem. Young people are getting mixed messages on the home front about the value of education and may not understand that high level literacy skills can bring a personal joy as well as economic prosperity.
Although it is a life-long process, literacy begins at birth and flourishes, we know, when reading is encouraged in the early years by parents in the home. It certainly does not help that the government is still forcing Canadian consumers to pay high GST on books for the family.
We cannot change attitudes but we can change circumstances. Children are the key to this country's future and right now parents need to purchase books for their homes without punitive taxes. We can give the gift of literacy, the best tool for our future prosperity, a fresh start by helping parents read to their children.