The Canadian Community Newspapers Association continues to encourage publishers to contact their local Members of Parliament about the Publications Assistance Program (PAP).
PAP is an important program for the close to 350 community newspapers that receive subsidies to defray mailing costs.
PAP is administered by the Department of Canadian Heritage and has an annual budget of $65 million. Traditionally, $15 million of that money has come from Canada Post.
The viability of the program is a concern since Canada Post has publicly stated their intention to withdraw their $15-million contribution as of April 1, 2007.
The Canadian Community Newspapers Association has met with many government officials and politicians over the past months to lobby that PAP funding should be kept at current levels and to express how important this program is to community newspapers and the communities they serve.
Two weeks ago, CEO John Hinds met with Minister of Canadian Heritage Bev Oda. “I believe the Minister is sympathetic to the needs and issues of community newspapers,” said Hinds.
Minister Oda is expected to announce a decision shortly. While she is sympathetic, it is a government decision. The CCNA is asking its members to contact their local Members of Parliament and ask them to convey to Minister Oda and other cabinet ministers such as and Lawrence Cannon, the Minister responsible for Canada Post, that PAP is very important for the viability of their newspapers and that in order for the program to continue to be viable, current funding levels must be maintained. If members need any further information, they should contact John Hinds at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-877-305-2262 ext. 26.