Literacy and Essential Skills

Hon. Jim Munson: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government in the Senate. On the literacy issue, reports have shown that nearly one half of Quebecers lack the basic literacy skills required to compete in the global economy. In Nunavik, the situation is dire. More than 63 per cent of young people between 15 and 24 years of age do not attend school. That is double the Quebec average. Can the leader please tell us what the government is doing to ensure that young Inuit people have the literacy skills they need to fully participate in society?

I understand that in his announcement tomorrow, Minister Cannon may be talking about the Arctic. Will the minister have anything to say about literacy rates in that part of Quebec?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government and Minister of State (Seniors)): I wish to thank the honourable senator for that question. I will not comment on what Minister Cannon may or may not say tomorrow. However, I would be more than happy to provide Senator Munson with a written response.

In the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, under our capable minister, Minister Strahl, there are many literacy, education and skills-training programs. I am aware of these programs because we have been dealing with them. I would be happy to provide a fulsome answer to the honourable senator’s question.