Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by over 3,000 members and supporters of the Franco-Manitoban community.
This petition is addressed to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages and reads as follows: “We, the undersigned, residents of Canada, wish to draw your attention to statements made in the House of Commons on May 3 in which you confirmed that your government has an ongoing, clear and firm commitment to protect periodicals throughout the regions of Canada wherever there are official language minority communities.” Unfortunately, we have noted that the new funding formula for the Canada periodical fund does not take into account the situation facing our French-language weekly paper, La Liberté, whose funding will be cut by 50% by 2013. This decision will have a severe impact on our [Franco-Manitoban] community and will lead to the slow and inexorable demise of La Liberté. La Liberté has been Manitoba's only French-language newspaper for 99 years. On May 3, you said, “If it raises concerns, we could look into the regulations for our programming and if these concerns are justified, we could address them.” That is why we are confident that you will take our concerns seriously and reinstate funding for our newspaper.
“Therefore, we the petitioners call on the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages...to reinstate funding and correct the funding formula going forward so that La Liberté, Manitoba's only French-language newspaper, can continue in future to offer the high level of service it has been providing for the past 99 years.”