Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House once again to talk about official languages and the importance of investing in our official language communities across the country. On February 1, I had the opportunity to ask the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who is also responsible for official languages, an extremely important question. My question was about the importance of heeding the ultimatum issued by community organizations that say official language minority communities across the country are under-funded.
It has now been 10 years since those organizations last received any additional funding, since their funding was indexed, yet the cost of living has risen steadily. They are stretched thin, and that is why they want stable, adequate funding that meets their needs so they can help communities grow and thrive.
It is high time that the Liberals and the minister put their words into action when it comes to official languages. As I said in the question, enough with the promises, enough with the empty rhetoric. It is time to take action. They are unable to keep their promises. We have not seen anything concrete. On the contrary, while they are twiddling their thumbs, there are problems everywhere: some organizations are forced to lay off all their employees and get by with the help of volunteers, and some organizations no longer have any offices.
I have two solid examples of the problems we are seeing right now. The first has to do with literacy and basic skills. The government decided to work on a project-by-project basis instead of providing stable funding. The Réseau pour le développement de l'alphabétisme et des compétences, RESDAC, drummed up projects left and right and managed to survive thanks to its incredible resourcefulness. However, for two years now, all of their projects, their very good projects have been rejected. RESDAC has survived despite the fact that it no longer had basic funding.
In November or December, its representatives and those from FCFA held a huge press conference to say that the situation is dire, that they were in a bad way, that they were out of money, and that they were on life support. In fact, volunteers are providing minimal service. There is no longer an official languages literacy and basic skills support network anywhere in Canada. That is unbelievable to me. A complaint was even filed with the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages. It resulted in two recommendations for which we are still awaiting a response. We are told they are working on it, but it will take at least six months to get any answers, while the needs are pressing. There needs to be an urgent response to help this group.
Chronic underfunding of community media is another problem. Community media, our official language community papers and radio stations, have lost over 80% of their advertising revenue. That is right: 80% of their revenue has evaporated.
I would like to know what the government is planning to do. Will it respond to the ultimatum?