The dismantling of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans library system has taken a dramatic turn, with thousands of valuable books and scientific documents, some dating back to the 19th century, being sent to the dumpster over the past week.
The Green Party of Canada today voiced its condemnation of this reckless destruction of scientific resources. “Consistent with their policy of muzzling scientists, the Conservatives have now moved on to trashing libraries,” said Elizabeth May, Green Leader and MP for Saanich–Gulf Islands. “This administration seems to be deliberately undermining our ability to make good policy decisions by limiting access to scientific evidence.”
Some 40,000 documents from the now-defunct Eric Marshall Aquatic Research Library at the University of Manitoba are currently being relocated to a federal library in the Green Leader’s own riding. “Some of the library’s materials won’t be destroyed, but it is impossible to say just how much we’ve lost,” said May.
“This is the latest in the methodical destruction of fisheries and marine ecosystem intellectual resources,” said Janice Harvey, Fisheries Critic for the Green Party. “The same thing happened last year at the St. Andrews Biological Station, the oldest federal research facility in Canada.”
In addition to a state-of-the-art library facility with thousands of scientific documents, The St. Andrews Biological Station lost its ecotoxicology unit, whose scientists were at the forefront of research into the ecosystem effects of toxic chemicals used in the farmed salmon industry in the Bay of Fundy.
To date, the Harper administration has already shut down or consolidated an additional twelve library systems, serving departments ranging from Natural Resources to Parks Canada.