EDITORIAL: Literacy rules above all else

Literacy must be kept at the forefront in Alberni.

September is literacy month in the Alberni Valley, and indeed this week you will have seen an emphasis on literacy through both the announcement of our editor, Susan Quinn’s Peter Gzowski Life Literacy Fellowship, and the annual Raise a Reader campaign that our compatriots at Literacy Alberni and the AV Times are running. While we each have our separate campaigns on which to focus, our goal is a common one: to keep the importance of literacy in the forefront of our attention.

This becomes doubly important when we hear rumours coming out of the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities meeting that funding for our local non-profit literacy organization is likely going to be eliminated in 2015. At the same time, the Alberni Valley’s level of illiteracy sits at a painful 40 per cent.

Literacy forms the foundation of a community’s health and wealth, both economically and socially. ‘Canadians must be equipped—whether it is to decode a training manual, balance a chequing account, interpret a construction blueprint, understand a tenancy agreement, share a story with their children, complete a school form, create a resume or comprehend their cell phone bill,’ says Gillian Mason, president of ABC Life Literacy.

‘Life today requires higher levels of literacy than ever before,’ she added.

Armed with this knowledge, it then puzzles us as to why the provincial and federal governments think it’s acceptable to cut funding for programs that help people attain such a vital skill. Our municipal leaders are trying to convince higher levels that they are wrong.

We implore the remaining 60 per cent of our community who are literate to keep up the pressure on various levels of government to adequately fund literacy programs. It will benefit us all in the long run.

— Alberni Valley News