Mr. Speaker, more than 12 million Canadians provide $2 billion worth of voluntary work annually and approximately 45% of Canadians use their spare time to volunteer and serve the community.
However, in the draconian cuts announced by the so-called new government of Canada last September, the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Status of Women announced that she was eliminating federal funding to the Canada Volunteerism Initiative. This makes no sense. The Conservatives inherited a $13 billion surplus and yet they feel it necessary to eliminate this essential service.
What was the rationale for these cuts? Were they based on any form of evaluation? Did anyone bother to look at whether the goals of the program were being met before making this decision?
I understand that the minister, after four months, has still not met with Volunteer Canada to discuss these drastic cuts.
Why has the mean-spirited government targeted volunteers and why will the minister not make herself accountable to Canadians?