[lg policy] Canada: Katimavik could be revived, Joly hints

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Aug 31 10:52:36 EDT 2016

 Katimavik could be revived, Joly hints
Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette
More from Marian Scott, Montreal Gazette
Published on: August 30, 2016 | Last Updated: August 30, 2016 7:51 PM EDT
[image: Katimavik participants in 2009 at their residence in Montreal.]

Katimavik participants in 2009 at their residence in Montreal. john kenney
/ The Gazette

Katimavik, the youth exchange program cancelled in 2012 by the Conservative
government, could be revived in time for Canada’s 150th birthday, Heritage
Minister Mélanie Joly hinted Tuesday.

Speaking at the close of a round table on official language policy at the
McCord Museum, Joly noted that some of the speakers there had praised the
program, whose 40th anniversary is next year.

“Next year is the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Our goal is to have,
more than ever, an enormous number of student exchanges,” Joly said.

“I don’t want to reveal the punch line,” she added, hinting that an
announcement on Katimavik could be in the offing.

In the 2015 election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised $25
million for community service programs in which young Canadians could gain
life and work experience.

In this year’s budget, the government earmarked $105 million over the next
five years for youth service programs. It did not name Katimavik, but
Trudeau has been a staunch supporter of the program, created under his
father, the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Katimavik was the brainchild of the elder Trudeau’s friend Senator Jacques
Hébert, who went on a 21-day hunger strike in 1986 to protest cancellation
of the program by the Progressive Conservative government of Brian Mulroney.

More than 35,000 young people have taken part in the program, contributing
some 30 million hours of volunteer work, deepening their knowledge of the
other official language and culture and promoting ecological values. In
recent years, the organization, which has survived on a much-reduced
budget, has focussed on indigenous youth.

Earlier, speakers from minority-language communities and community groups
called on the federal government to promote jobs and training to keep
non-francophone youth in Quebec.

“Jobs are the key to keeping a vibrant community in Quebec,” said John
Aileen, president of the board of directors of Youth Employment Services, a
non-profit organization that provides counselling, coaching and networking
opportunities for anglophone youth.

Dan Philip, director of the Black Coalition of Quebec, called for the need
to depoliticize language – a suggestion other speakers dismissed as

Saul Carliner, a professor of Education at Concordia University, said many
of his students are foreign born, speaking English and another language but
struggling with French. After graduation, most are forced to leave Quebec
because of a lack of job opportunities, he said. Programs to help
foreign-born graduates transition to the Quebec job market would be
beneficial, he said.

Mount Royal MP Anthony Housefather said the exodus of younger generations
of anglophones is leaving an increasing number of seniors without family

Joly said the government is working on an official-language action plan to
support the vitality of minority-language communities and promote
bilingualism. There is no contradiction between the two, she said, praising
Montreal’s uniqueness as a multilingual city.

“We’ve heard you and my parliamentary secretary Randy Boissonnault and I
are working on it,” she told participants.

Joly and Boissonnault, have been crossing the country since July holding
roundtables to gather feedback for the government’s new action plan on
official languages. Participants are chosen in advance but the public can
follow the proceedings online at
https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage.html and submit questions or

The roundtables move on to Calgary, Whitehorse, Vancouver, Edmonton and
Sudbury in the coming weeks.


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