Budget kills Katamavik group, affecting St. Pierre


A number of St. Pierre organizations could feel the loss of a local Katamavik Group after the recent federal budget axed funding to the program.

For the past number of years, Katamavik has operated a house in St. Pierre. From that location, participants have been active in volunteering throughout the community including at the St. Pierre Manor, Heritage Immersion School, Real Berard School, Centre de petite enfance et de la famille (CPEF), Le Repos St. Pierre, SMILE of St. Pierre, St. Pierre in Bloom, Youth for Christ and Precision Produce.

The move came as a surprise to the Katimavik organization, which says it has been kept in the dark about any upcoming cuts. Its National Director of Marketing and Communications Victoria Salvador has said, however, that the group is trying to diversify its funding in order to stay afloat.

Canada’s 2012 federal budget is eliminating the Trudeau-era youth program Katimavik, a move which is heartbreaking for at least one former participant.

Katamavik was a nine-month long cross-Canada youth program established by Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s government. The Tories officially announced the end of Katimavik’s funding March 30.

“Our Government is committed to giving our young people the opportunities they deserve, and we will achieve that by funding programs that benefit large numbers of young people at a reasonable cost rather than concentrating available funding on a very small number of participants at an excessive per-person cost,” the federal budget states.

Liberal MP Justin Trudeau called the news “terrible,” in a tweet this week. “Katimavik empowers young Canadians. So CPC hates it,” he wrote.

While the federal government has cut funding to Katamavik, they have increased funding for Cadets programming.  The cadet programs are the largest federally-sponsored youth organizations in Canada. Last year, Department of National Defence contributed $197.6 million to the Canadian Cadet Program and some 50,000 young Canadians took part. This includes increased support for the Steinbach Air Cadets program and the Sea Cadets who parade out of Lorette.

Every year a new group of young people participating in Katamavik settle in St. Pierre and actively participate as volunteers for a number of programs and organizations.

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