The Honourable Steven Point, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia, met with people in Prince Rupert this afternoon to discuss the importance of literacy.
His Honour hosted a reception aboard the naval ship HMCS Vancouver, fresh from a seven month tour off the coast of Libya, and was only in town for a few hours before continuing on to Lax Kw’alaams later today and Haida Gwaii tomorrow. The tour is part of his literacy campaign, which he says is to “underscore the need to read”.
There are two parts to the campaign, the first is asking children to write the Lt. Governor a story based around a series of pictures available for download from ltgov.bc.ca.
“These kids write such fantastic stories, and reading them is such a great experience…We’ve heard from parents and teachers that the kids have a tough time writing stories, but when they’re writing the Lieutenant Governor it’s special for them,” he said, noting he has read between 2,000 and 3,000 stories from kids in 400 schools.
The second part is to bring books out children, something Point said is always special.
“I bring the books in, get the kids together, talk to them about the role of the Lt. Governor and invite them to ask questions. I’ve gotten some pretty interesting questions too,” he said.
“They come up to me after and ask if they can keep the books, I tell them of course, that it’s their book, and then a lot of time they ask me to sign it…When you can bring that kind of joy to a community, it is just priceless.”
As well as promoting literacy Point, who previously spent time in Prince Rupert and was in the choir, said he likes to tell young people about the opportunities for education and a career through the Canadian military.
“As a former judge I have seen too many young people show up in front of the justice system, and they don’t need to be there. They can do so much more,” he said.
Commander David Mazur of HMCS Vancouver said the trip is equally enjoyable for the crew as it is for the Lieutenant Governor.
“It’s a very special trip, especially since HMCS Vancouver is the namesake ship for BC. The only other one in the navy is HMCS Victoria,” he said, adding that the welcome in towns that don’t have a naval presence is always appreciated by the crew.
“The crew has been away, deployed off the coast of Libya for seven months, and haven’t seen their own coast for a long time, so it is good to have the opportunity to do something with BC ports…The navy will often depart from the home base of Esquimalt, do their duty and come home, so it is not often we get to do this and have this type of interaction with BC residents.”