Shutting down our libraries broke the law

On Thursday, February 6th, 2014 in Island Tides
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In every one of my January town hall meetings, certain issues were always raised. Constituents of Saanich-Gulf Islands spoke out against the Enbridge and Kinder-Morgan projects for risky tankers and pipelines, were appalled by lifting the moratorium on toxic fish factories, expressed concern about contamination from Fukishima, Canada Post cut-backs, our dysfunctional voting system, and scandals in the PMO and Senate. As well, at every session, people expressed outrage about the destruction of our libraries.

As reported in the Globe and Mail, (Gloria Galloway, Purge of Canada’s fisheries libraries a ‘historic’ loss, scientists say, Jan 7, 2014) scientists working within the Department of Fisheries and Oceans had known since last spring that the department was reducing its regional libraries from eleven to four. Still, it was a shock to see records taken to the dumpsters.

Speaking with online news source The Tyee, Dalhousie University marine biologist Jeffrey Hutchings, speculated the cuts were not based on the stated rationale—to save $430,000/year—but were part of Stephen Harper’s antiscience ideology. He said, ‘It is always unnerving from a research and scientist perspective to watch a government undermine basic research. There are many materials online but just as many books and materials that are not…. From a science and research perspective these closures will have no positive impact on the quality of research—but they will have a negative impact. Losing libraries is not a neutral act.’

In Winnipeg, the hugely important library of the Freshwater Institute was open for looting before being closed. Kelly Whelan-Enns, an old friend of mine from Manitoba Wildlands, was able to salvage important maps and wildlife data. He reported to The Tyee that, ‘I saw a private consultant firm working for Manitoba Hydro back up a truck and fill it with Manitoba data and materials that the public had paid for. I was profoundly saddened and appalled.’

Libraries that held the files and research from the Canadian Forest Service were shut down last year—including a library closed in Victoria. The libraries at the departments of Transport, Immigration and Public Works have also been eliminated since 2012. Twenty percent of the workforce at Libraries and Archives Canada were laid off in 2012. And on January 20, 2014 it was reported that the main library of Health Canada was being shut down. Information retrieval is being outsourced to a private sector company. That particular scheme will increase costs as researchers will have to pay $25 to borrow a book.

I wish I had thought about whether this was legal a bit sooner. Perhaps it was the shock of the Access to Information request from Postmedia that made it clear the collections were not being ‘digitized’ as claimed but, in fact, were being ‘culled’ that made me realize this had to be illegal.

The Act covering publications and records held by the Government of Canada is the Library and Archives of Canada Act. In reviewing it, it seems clear the act was not followed. The Library and Archives of Canada Act exists to protect and preserve our ‘documentary heritage’. The Act’spreamble makes it clear that Parliament recognizes the importance of protecting knowledge as a critical part of any democratic society.

The Act established a set of protections for all government records held by any and all departments. The mandate to protect and maintain the documentary heritage of Canada is held by the Librarian and Archivist for Canada. The current Librarian and Archist is Hervé Déry—appointed in May 2013 on an interim basis.

According to the Act,

12. (1) No government or ministerial record, whether or not it is surplus property of a government institution, shall be disposed of, including by being destroyed, without the written consent of the Librarian and Archivist …..

Under s. 16, all publications (even if surplus) must be moved to the care and control of the Librarian and Archivist.

I decided to phone the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, who has a very clear responsibility to protect the ‘documentary heritage’ of Canadians. It took over a week to get the current interim Librarian and Archivist on the phone. And when I did, it turned out two officials from Heritage Canada were in the room as ‘observers.’ Mr Déry confirmed that he has not provided any written authorizations for the destruction of documents. He claimed it is none of his business if records, books and research are destroyed as it is in the ‘discretion of the ministers.’

My first question in Question Period as House resumed on January 27 was to challenge the legality of these actions:

‘Mr Speaker, Canadians have been outraged by the dismantling of government libraries such as those dealing with fisheries, forests and health. Under the Library and Archives of Canada Act, these materials are protected as the ‘documentary heritage of Canadians. Surplus materials are to be placed in the care and control of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada and materials and records cannot be destroyed without written consent. I have spoken with the Librarian and Archivist of Canada and it appears to me that the Act was not followed.

‘Will the Prime Minister commit to immediately investigating whether these acts in closing libraries and casting the materials to the four winds, to dumpsters and to looters are legal, and restore and protect the documentary heritage of Canadians?’

The reply, from Minister of State Gary Goodyear, ignored the question of legality and said everything would be available online. ‘Welcome to this century,’ was his dismissive reply. I mentioned later to the media that the burning of books did not put people in mind of this century.

Clearly, the Prime Minister will regret not having repealed the Library and Archives of Canada Act in a previous omnibus bill. I will pursue his law-breaking contempt for the documentary heritage of the people of Canada.

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  • http://www.linkedin.com/in/wisehealing wisehealing@aol.com

    Way to go Elizabeth ! It seems the laws of the land can be disregarded as of Jan. 1, 2000. Can we make use of this loophole too to nullify some of the absurd laws Harper has sneaked in?

  • Susan

    What is the penalty for contravening the Library and Archives of Canada Act? Is there one?

  • Mike Daffin

    I was pretty much infuriated when I heard about this, and still consider it vandalism and contempt of taxpayer property. As I mentioned in my letter to the editor, the damage they did could easily be assessed in the tens of millions – but we don’t really know, as no catalog was kept of what this book burning party did. You almost need to go to US press sites, as this was poorly covered in Canada.
    If you were allowed to retort to Gary Goodyear, you could have mentioned its easier to digitize books before they are turned into ashes. Maybe you could ask them if they are knowledgeable on technology, how come they detroyed the Conservative database – it apparently cost them 7 to 9 million (oh wait, it was the Conservative party members, who’s donations get reimbursed by the Canadian taxpayer – and we let them run the country!). I am getting solicitations from them (I did make a donation – I gave them my 2 cents worth several years ago). I had to laugh at one of them – they needed money to combat “the attack ads from Justin”.

    Maybe we could move the RCMP to investigate. I think I might make a motion.

    • Shirley

      This issue was covered, and is being covered, in great detail by Andrew Nikiforuk at The Tyee.

      • Cynthia Joan Morrison

        Hi !
        Can you get him to get in touch with me at our new event page on FB called Nova Scotia March Against Harper …. All Welcome ! Thanx

    • Jo. Unrau

      Start petition about it. I’ll sign & so will my friends.

    • Cynthia Joan Morrison

      I will help you .
      You can find me at the new FB event page called Nova Scotia March Against Harper

  • Ryan Walker

    I was one of the people to comment on Fukushima. To read my interactions with Elizabeth, and several other MPs/politicians, visit whatthefukushima.wordpress.com.

  • KeithBram

    What recourse do we have under the law? It is far too easy to flaunt laws that have no teeth – and that seems to be what is happening here.

    • Tom

      To be precise, the law has been flouted, not “flaunted”. The Harperites are flouters without parallel and they must be found accountable.

  • Mike Daffin

    The penalties do fall under the criminal code – but are not well specified.

    However, anyone who destroys millions of dollars of public property on a whim and out of spite, should be held accountable.

    Go get them Elizabeth.

    • Dr34D

      Certainly, they should be prevented from doing any more damage.
      Kick them traitors to the curb.

  • Kelly

    what recourse is there under the act? I would love someone to be held accountable. They are straight up lying when they say that the documents are being digitalized. Is there a way to recover anything?

  • Nicole

    The many problems this and many other countries have is the electoral system. The reason why so many do not vote is because most voters realize that politicians do not represent the welfare of society. We are in great need of Political Reform. Any Government that does not make decisions to support the middle class is working for the multinational corporations. This is my humble opinion for such complex matters.

  • Nick Gurnick

    We all know Harper’s tactics. If it starts getting to warm under the collar he will simply throw someone under the bus. Most likely it will be the Librarian & Archivist of Canada. Neither Harper or any of his henchmen will take any responsibility.

  • Gail Tiefenbach

    Unstoppable . . . we can only keep trying. Thank you EM for your diligent efforts at exposing . . . this must be the most destructive, backward government Canada has ever had!

  • drewm

    You go girl!

  • Caroline

    Now more than ever, you have my support, Ms. May. I’ve NEVER before publicly proclaimed support for a politician with my real name. Ever. Even ones who may have deserved it, which are few. Please keep up the good fight. Never give up. I only wish your party could combine strengths with other parties that are against this wrongly elected dictatorship and get them gone. I admire you, but don’t think your party is strong enough to stand on its own against this massacre of democracy.

    I am no longer afraid to speak out. These villains may soon learn that when someone has nothing less to lose, they fight harder. That’s what’s wrong with the middle class. We have not yet lost our homes, savings, security, hopes, dreams, and fun outings paid for with the diminishing dribbles of ‘disposable’ income. By the time we do, it will be too late. Wake up folks.

    I’ve finally come to realize that we are never going back. The environment, economy, comfy middle class status and privileges, fair elections, carefree dancing under the stars, trips, affordable healthy food, clean water, land & housing. Anyone who just thinks that life will come back in time, or after the next election, is going to get a major mental thunk when it doesn’t happen. What we need to do is stop letting things get worse.

    And, to be honest, who is driving the government? Harper, yes, but truly BIG CORPORATIONS. The best way to fight back is to weaken the central hive. Buy gas at a co-op, go electric/public transit, use fewer products that require fossil fuels, shop local, shop consignment, detox & step back from electronics and…very importantly….STOP BLINDLY INVESTING in the companies who are greedily sucking Canada dry, both nationally and internationally. Don’t just say ‘yes’ to whatever proposal or fund your investment advisor or banker tells you is a good deal. Ask them if it is ethical. Find out what companies are masquerading inside those funds. Research what those companies are doing and paying for and don’t give them money if you don’t like what you discover.

    We can create legislation and taxation that protect our right to safe food& water, a healthy physical environment that nurtures nature, freedom from corporate exploitation and more. One day that maybe will help, but not until we also have electoral change. But since we don’t have that yet. THIS IS THE QUIET CANADIAN REBELLION we can all participate in. VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET!

    • Jo. Unrau

      Caroline, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel the same but don’t have your way with words. I wish that monster would have a nice, big heart attack & drop dead. I’ve never wished death on anyone except dog eaters before, but this is the exception.

    • Doug Brubaker

      Caroline, you are so right. We are governed by Corporations. People need to realize that corporations are nothing without consumers dollars. As consumers we have an incredible amount of power. Watch where your money is going. Yes, VOTE WITH YOUR WALLET!

    • Cynthia Joan Morrison

      Please check out our new FB page called Nova Scotia March Against Harper ( it is Canada wide but I don’t have the main page at this time ) & look for the post or posts on it that talks about Harper’s War on Knowledge . Thank -you

  • kaariina natalie saarinen M.Ed

    We are living in a period called the inbetween times. We are in between the re emergence of an awakened population on planet earth and those ignorant of the oneness. These are the prophetic times. As Elders and Wisdom keepers, we first go within, and cleanse our souls hearts minds bodies of these echoes of retribution. There was a time, still accessible, when we lived within the oneness, one with all our relations. A time of indigenous laws, spiritual principles. In these laws, we are all accountable to the tree of the one world for its roots and blooms are our reflections. We are respnseable for the buffalo; what are we wasting or utilizing and does it serve the people, are we asking with respect for the sacrifice of our natural creature teachers ….. We are one with the stone peoples; listening with that kind of stillness as to what the ancestors are now offering from the other side. We are one with the pipe of great peace, knowing in our contemplations, that the smoke of our tobacco is a prayer for all of our relations. Thank you Uncle Peter, Ojibwa lawkeeper. I hear you brothers and sisters…. still looking to a government founded on powers over our native lands for reconciliation of our differences. When a foundation is transported from another culture and laid upon what is natural here, there is suppression, oppression, repression and life force depression. There is disease and destruction because on a deep soul level, we all know these are the ending of these cycles of ignorance. So, yes, there is resource within constitutional law; divided within the Charter of Canada into three parts. AND that is a reflection of forgetfullness: it is not representative of the THREE FIGURE wampum belt maintained by Grandfather William COmmanda: the indigenous one is central, held in the womb of the sacredness of woman ; this one reaches out to the english and to the french in friendship. Until we return to the sacred teachings, we are looking for retribution rather than resolution. We are being held in the claws of our own grief and walking a wheel of confusion of scaredness of despair and of rage. No one in these moments of inbetween times is to blame. We are all to look within to our ancestors and to retrieve the bodies of knowing, the wisdom keepers, the ancestral laws so that confederations can be rebirthed through council ways. Not the disruptive voices of a house divided against its own wholeness. Children of the earth, come home to soulfullness first and foremost. How can one make decisions that serve a great wholism, when one is contaminated by gmo’s, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals. How can one contemplate upon one’s true accountabilities when woman and moon, when lunar cycles have been oppressed by a calendar that does not speak to or for the sacred feminine> How can we truly sit with each other when we are so in need of catharsis in a safe and profoundly detoxifying way. What we are expressing is what Grandfather has pointed out to me many times: the diseases of our lifetimes on planet earth. Welcome to the mas grande purificado. Patience, thoroughness, contemplation, a moratorium on reactions. A return to prayerful equanimity and responsiveness. For all our relations.

    • Caroline

      Thank you.

    • Melanie

      Wow this is so powerful.

      • melanie

        I am a healer and would love to post this on my blog sometime soon

    • Des McMurchy

      “We are living in a period called the inbetween times,” you write. I agree. It is the period between now and the end of human habitat on earth in twenty or thirty years. Welcome to runaway, irreversible climate change.

  • Larry H

    Elizabeth, can the people of Canada call the RCMP to have charges laid?

  • bob watson

    What was done with some records of the “LONG GUN REGISTRY” gave the government, in its mind, the required precident for such actions. Pay attention all, going back, going forward, as it happens.

  • Dan Lafrenière

    Thank God that we have Elizabeth May as our government abuse ‘canary in a coal mine’. The Conservative ‘mafia’ continue to devalue science and information in their Machiavellian scheme to remake Canada into a third rate country. I can only hope that Canadians wake up and realize the damage that they have wreaked upon our society in time for the 2015 election.

    • Cynthia Joan Morrison

      We have started a new event page on FB called Nova Scotia March Against Harper . Please check it out . It is Canada wide . There are many locations . I am waiting for the main page to be reset up . Thanx !

  • Cheri Rauser

    In this destruction of the corporate memory of the Canadian people the prime minister has behaved like the worst corporate CEO who is trying to rebrand and own something that is not his. And like those types Mr. Harper will then ‘discover’ that heritage and use it to further rebrand our country. Oh wait, he has already done that with his destruction of the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the ending of the long-form census. A people who do no know who they are are a people who can be silenced. He said when was first elected that we wouldn’t recognize the country when he was done with it. Wonder what his next election promise will be.

  • James Garry

    Dreadful.

    Having spent many years working in academia I can attest that many records are not online. Mr Déry should be reprimanded and stripped of his role.

    ‘discretion of the ministers’?
    What nonsense. Canada does not belong to any one government.

  • David Punter

    Well done Elizabeth! Keep up the fight against this return to the Middle Ages.

  • Des McMurchy

    I have written to the Evangelical Libertarian Hyperperson concerning this issue and have advised him to do the honourable thing and take his own life at once, ending his ideological rampage through Canadian society in the name of the non-existent genocidal Bronze Age creator fairy he worships, and sparing himself the years of prison and opprobrium that he faces following his imminent political demise.

  • Pamela Sheldon

    I am so disheartened and appalled! The libraries issue is the last straw. I truly feel impotent about “what can I do” or “what can we do”. Thank God for Elizabeth and The Green Party however it seems hopeless as they are so small up against this huge insensitive machine that is crushing us. It helps to get rid of our angst by writing our comments here but that hardly helps to address the issue of the most undemocratic, power-hungry Government in my 70 year lifetime! How can we get a movement going? What can we do? I am going to start by doing 3 things -
    1) I will send this article to everyone I know.
    2) I will personally canvas my rural road (25 homes) & try to get Green Party signs
    3) I will try to find a way to connect Book Clubs across the country to speak out collectively against Harper’s war on books and knowledge.
    Help

    • Cynthia Joan Morrison

      Please check out the new event page on FB called Nova Scotia March Against Harper . It is a Canada wide action .

  • Bill Willson

    Thanks for all your work on this important file Elizabeth. This scandal is a part of the crimes against humanity in the Harper Government’s accumulated legislation and subsidies for developing and marketing GHG producing fossil fuels with no regard to the available knowledge, the science and consequences of such actions in the latest and years of IPCC Reports.

  • Jean

    For SO many reasons, I feel it is essential for Harper’s government to be replaced in the next election. Our entire democracy is being destroyed and our future is gravely at risk. Elizabeth, can’t the Greens, the NDP, the Liberals and the Bloc PLEASE form some sort of coalitions and work TOGETHER to defeat the Conservatives?? Otherwise the anti votes will be split and we’ll just keep spiralling out of control.

    • Matt Greenwood

      The Greens have been pleading for cooperation for years now, but the Liberals and NDP are both completely fixated on the dream of their very own majorities and seem to have no interest in giving that up, even if they let the whole country plunge over a cliff in 2015 while chasing it. In a talk in my town a few nights ago, Tom Mulcair couldn’t even bring himself to mention the Greens by name or even give a single real answer to 3 separate questions about whether and how much he would cooperate with the other parties to stop the Cons. I’m convinced now that there just won’t be any serious cooperation until rank-and-file NDP and Liberal party-members start to put real pressure on their leadership to wake up to the reality and find a way to work together before it’s too late for all of us.

      • Chris Bullock

        Yes, co-operation is the key. Thanks for this contribution. I will bring this up every chance I get!

        • Mister Ants

          Does it need to be pre-electoral cooperation? As long as Libs and Dems have a strong showing, they can prevent a Cons majority and then reserve the option to form a coalition government, no? The leader can be decided by the voters (i.e., which party won most seats).

          Note: I acknowledge there are many ways to cooperate for elections that could be beneficial without necessarily making a formal coalition, but I am just working on the assumption here that it is not going to happen.

          • Cynthia Joan Morrison

            We need to put the power of the people behind the Green Party !
            Get out & Be the Change people !

      • Cynthia Joan Morrison

        Justin is not Pierre Elliott … that’s for sure

    • Cynthia Joan Morrison

      I think we need to get more people into place in the Green Party of Canada by encouraging people to become a Green Party Rep in their ridings.

    • Craig_Hubley

      No.

      Parties cannot cooperate. Their constitutions, the campaign finance laws of Canada, and the conflict of interests of the leaders as representatives and promoters of the candidates of only their own party, all forbid it. Prior to an election result, no coalition can exist.

      To ditch a truly bad government, there is only one avenue to cooperation and it’s peer to peer, among the voters themselves, http://voteswap.ca

  • BILL FRHLICK

    JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF THE DICTATORSHIP OF OUR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT BY A MAN WHOS PRIMARY JOB IS TO MAKE IT CONVENIANT FOR CORPORATIONS TO DO AS THEY DAM WELL PLEASE BECAUSE THE RECORDS WHICH MIGHT BE IN CONTRADICTION TO THIER INTENTIONS CARTE BLANCHE ANYTHING GOES

  • pepsi pete

    when corporations and money run our system we are totally corrupt

  • Don

    All of us should be contacting our local MP’s and demand answers about this. We as passive Cdns can longer afford the luxury of trusting our gov’t to maintain the democracy and freedoms we have taken for granted.

  • Robert Anthony

    What do we do about this evil government? I realize “evil” is a harsh word, but there’s no other word for them.

    • Cynthia Joan Morrison

      Please see our new page called Nova Scotia March Against Harper on FB . It is Canada wide, I am waiting for the main page to be redone . Thanx ! All Welcome

  • boltfromtheblue

    Now that he is aware of the Library and Archives of Canada Act I am sure he will see it repealed in his next so-called budget which should be renamed The Continuation of Dismantling Canadian Democracy Omnibus Bill. But don’t despair. I am sure he will make sure anything hockey oriented will be preserved. After all the man does have priorities.

  • Diane

    Thank you for always producing the facts and for articulating them so effectively in the House. I’m sure every MP secretly or not so secretly wishes they could be as effective.

  • Alex

    Why isn’t there international criticism about this? Surely, other countries would have something to say about all that research being thrown out.

  • alex niblock

    Thank-you Ms. May! Please, please pursue this matter. It may not get us back what has already been destroyed, but it may slow the pace of destruction.

  • satinka

    Demonization of science is the modern-day “book-burning” *sigh*

    • Matt Greenwood

      Under the Harper-Cons, book-burning is the modern day book-burning.

  • Farrell Boyce

    Outrageous! $25.00 to borrow a book (if the outfit can find it)! This is high level vandalism. The Conservative base won’t care for the most part, but I hope others do – and remember in 2015. You are right, E.M., not to let this pass. What saddens me particularly as a former research scientist that used some of this (now scattered) material is that it will never be pulled together again.

    • Linda Steager

      Hopefully, the government can be taken to court on this one. Scenes from Ray Bradbury’s “Farenheit 451″ ,the temperature at which books burn, keep popping into mind. Strong libraries are one of the bases of a strong democracy, and in conservative speak, of a strong economy.

  • les

    this harper led conservative government is willfully blind, deliberatly ignorant and bent on a small minded short sighted vision for Canada and they are tricky with it. They are devious and they dont give a damn about the people of Canada. We are not who they serve. We are at their service. IF Canadians dont wake up and throw them out in no uncertain terms their kind will rule our lives to our entire detriment.
    Elizabeth is a champion of the people.

  • Natalie

    Thank you Elizabeth! It seems like you are constantly fighting an uphill battle. But you give me hope as a young person that at least some care about our future! And hope there is at least some resistance to the runaway destruction of the Canada I beleive in. We will never get those record back and that makes me sad. But at least there is someone calling them on it! I hope you make them pay!! Stay strong!

  • Lyn

    Just had a quick check of the Act (http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/L-7.7/FullText.html) and the Regs that I could find. There is no offence provision for breaching the section Ms. May refers to. It’s going to need more research by someone — perhaps there is another Act that would apply.
    When I think of all that information lost/destroyed…it makes me want to weep.
    Ms. May, when the gov’t claims it was all digitized, do they have one iota of evidence to verify their assertion?

  • Liz

    This has managed to infuriate my dad as well as me, and my dad doesn’t pay that much attention to national politics.

  • James Grayson

    2014 minus Thirty. This is not a weather forecast.

  • Sully99

    1) “There is no offence provision for breaching the section Ms. May refers to.” from comment made by Lyn.
    2) ” Clearly….I will pursue his law-breaking contempt for the documentary heritage of the people of Canada.”

    Elizabeth; this is the type of reason that your credibility and that of your cheering section below that spout such nonsense doesn’t grow in the eyes of Canadians.
    Respect for the office and never recognizing any positives in Canada’s elected government might be a good start rather than “law breaking contempt” smears.
    Boy oh boy…”Is there life on Mars?”

  • Fahrenheit 451

    How soon before the Harper regime starts destroying our public libraries too? We’ve already seen major cuts to hours and staff. Utterly reprehensible federal government, the corruption is deep and needs to be routed out.

  • Liz

    I did not know this was occurring. Appalling! Thanks for fighting for us.

  • SadAboutTheLoss

    Thank you Elizabeth, your legal knowledge is one of the public’s greatest assets, especially now that we’ve burned all the books :(

  • D Jackson

    While citizens in other strained democracies are fighting, with and for, their lives and the foundation of their democratic rights Canadians sit and ponder the raping, destruction and pillaging of their country and their heritage.
    I am ashamed of the government of Canada almost as much as I am ashamed of myself and my neighbours for sitting idly by while one man in parliament with all his puppet members nodding in unison behind him, systematically destroys decades of hard won protections and rights to accomplish his, and only his, master plan.
    I fear for this country and I fear for anyone that expects someone else to protect their freedom and rights. If a politician knows no one will resist being degraded to a door mat, then that is what we shall be. How does it feel to be treated like a door mat? You tell me.

    • Stew Wallach

      You have said it perfectly ! ! ! We are just rolling over to this destroyer of the Canadian culture and economy. Sad days ahead.

  • Melanie

    I did my masters years ago at the Freshwater Institute and that library was an amazing resource. The Institute is right by the University of MB library and the collection there paled in comparison to what you’d find at the Institute. I don’t think most people appreciate all the $ and effort spent on research for this department and others like Health Canada , where the end product is the report… and all those reports were thrown in the garbage. It’s not just paper…It’s irreplacable lost knowledge and data. Much of that research at the Institute would be so important when looking at impacts of climate change in the future. There was very rare Arctic research that provided amazing historical documentation of fish and fauna and lifestyles of people residing in this area of Canada. Oh well I guess with the efforts put into establish sovereignty in that region, the lack of data on this area will make future resource exploitation easier.

    I am so thankful for the Green Party. I really respect your party being so fact based and professional when they raise issues rather
    than attacking people. Love you Elizabeth and the amazing work your party is doing.

  • Peter Day

    I agree with a previous comment. Let’s get the RCMP investigating this criminal act.

  • anne marie benoit

    Do we have an account of what was there in our libraries? If anything disappeared do we know? Blocks of our society and country falling a part. I am a Acadian descendants with Aboriginal roots as well as French, Irish,Scottish and I am very concern. What about our National museum? My ancestors artifacts lay there somewhere. My children should be able to go there one day and ask to see it. I want materials and records to be protected. It is my right as a Canadian to have these documents protected.

  • Anti

    I am SO appalled at just about EVERY insidious move Harper makes, ALL have ulterior motives almost in the diametric opposite direction he purports to be going,
    How can this Zionistic idiot Harper be stopped from bringing Canada to its Knees, no laws seem to apply to his actions, Just a disgusting excuse for a human being !!

    • Joseph E Fasciani

      You’ve described perfectly what I call ‘little Stevie Harper and his Harpettes’, his pathetic tan-shirted followers who wannabe the Brown Shirts of Kanada behind him. Yet until we reform our flawed electoral system it will always be easy for another ideologue to divide and conquer Canada. As someone pointed out early on in these Comments, the Greens must unite w/the NDP & Libs to form a solid front against our proto-fascist little Stevie Harper and his Harpettes.

  • Doug Marr

    #DENOUNCEHARPER Shortsighted Greedy Criminals will never kill this planet. Please stand with myself and Elizabeth

  • fjwhite

    With respect, relative to all the other fights one could pick to do battle over with Harper, I hope library closures and book burning do not become too much of a distraction. To give just one example, inaction on the climate change front would seem to be Harper’s Achilles heel. It’s a life and death issue, demanding a no-holds-barred fight to the finish..

  • Bruce

    We need to think like a lawyer. These Departments should have or had a directory of their “library” holdings. There should also be records of these documents being scanned with file names that are the same or similar to the names in the directory. After the documents have been scanned the list of documents should be the same as the original list. What is not on the list of scanned documents is what has been destroyed. So this needs to be asked for – either directly or through an FOI request.

    Next the people that actually work in these departments should be called and asked for their statements as affidavits for evidence in the prosecution. These people will also need the protection of whistle blower legislation if we are to get real truthful statements. And I’m talked everyone from the Deputy Minister down to the custodians.

    This may all be a moot exercise as the documents already gone – unless the people that prepared them kept their own copy. Lets hope – I know I did when I worked for a government department.

    Our “fearless” leaders seem to have forgotten some of the lessons of history. Once some of us become so disgusted with the actions of these clowns or have nothing left to lose, personal sacrifices will be made for the greater good. Think of the French and English Revolutions with heads in baskets and on pikes. While I don’t advocate violence or revolution the laws of nature such as Newton’s Third Law come to mind – To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction. So let the reaction to this action be the mobilization of your human energy and yes some of your time and money so the Conservatives are routed to numbers similar to the Liberals in the last election. We have 20 months until the next scheduled federal election. That should be enough time to fundraise, get candidates nominated and beat the bastards – I mean Conservatives!
    It would be helpful to have some moles in the affected Departments – in fact in all Departments – and in the Conservative Party.
    Former Conservative, ex military officer, ex government employee.

  • Beth Deacon

    Thank you Elizabeth May for defending Canada.

  • Guest

    I would like to SEE word-by-word PROOF of every document and book and research paper, every full-quality scan of every map, and the same of every uploaded sound recording of every audio file that was in every library so extinguished, then believe this brass, sweeping statement that “everything would be available online” from someone whom, (and pardon me for my own sweeping statement) such as Mr Goodyear, is probably sold, bought and paid for by an amalgamated monster of corporate interest. Were all these materials catalogued and accounted for? What happens to all these materials that are thrown into cyber-space – if indeed, that is the case and Mr Goodyear is not a lying puppet – if our golden age is somehow thrown down, and something happens to this electric form of communication, so easy now with everything at our fingertips, if the power and resources to build computers, plug them in, or turn them on is suddenly cut off? Who is to say that such materials will not then become inaccessible to those without access, or extinct forever because we have used up the resources to power electricity or make computers, en masse? It is not impossible that we could be thrown out if this comfortable first-world life, consuming resources as we do. Many advanced civilizations have come and gone in this way. Furthermore, these unelected ministers could easily decide what the public should or should not be able to access online. How will we know if these materials ever existed in the first place if the originals were destroyed? What if our descendants need those hard copies for helping them restore or renew the environment, or other things we can’t even think of at this point in time? How dare we destroy this inheritance of theirs.
    Elizabeth, the way you describe your brief words with the Archivist of Canada, who was flanked by two “Heritage Ministers” and said scarcely anything but that it was “None of his business”, smacks of some dark science-fiction movie featuring a totalitarian government as the main antagonist. I can scarcely believe that our freedoms are being picked apart, one by one, in this way. I never believed it was possible. There has to be a way to save our democratic process, our rights and freedoms, and the environment we need to live in. Our medical system, too, now under threat. But respect and preservation and access of the Libraries, whether they be in the memory of a tribal ancestor, passed down from one generation to the next, or written on paper in a book, or recorded or filmed, is the one thing that indicates that their was something other than just greed and destruction at work in any culture. PROOF that it is “ALL available online” and a law that every citizen that requires access to their heritage – the research that we paid for, would be the only mollifying factor. Even then, I would still think it was stupid they destroyed or sold to private sectors all the hard copies. Stupid and obviously a corrupt action. Why else would they turn their attention to these libraries, and destroy their contents, if they did not perceive them as a threat? The amount of money they “save” by their destruction is of no consequence.
    Thanks for letting me rant here. Thanks for you hard work Elizabeth May, and for keeping us informed. At least you are allowed to speak for us. I can be grateful for that.

  • Melissa La Rosa

    I would like to SEE word-by-word PROOF of every document and book and research paper, every full-quality scan of every map, and the same of every uploaded sound recording of every audio file that was in every library so extinguished, then believe this brass, sweeping statement that “everything would be available online” from someone whom, (and pardon me for my own sweeping statement) such as Mr Goodyear, is probably sold, bought and paid for by an amalgamated monster of corporate interest. Were all these materials catalogued and accounted for? What happens to all these materials that are thrown into cyber-space – if indeed, that is the case and Mr Goodyear is not a lying puppet – if our golden age is somehow thrown down, and something happens to this electric form of communication, so easy now with everything at our fingertips, if the power and resources to build computers, plug them in, or turn them on is suddenly cut off? Who is to say that such materials will not then become inaccessible to those without access, or extinct forever because we have used up the resources to power electricity or make computers, en masse? It is not impossible that we could be thrown out if this comfortable first-world life, consuming resources as we do. Many advanced civilizations have come and gone in this way. Furthermore, these unelected ministers could easily decide what the public should or should not be able to access online. How will we know if these materials ever existed in the first place if the originals were destroyed? What if our descendants need those hard copies for helping them restore or renew the environment, or other things we can’t even think of at this point in time? How dare we destroy this inheritance of theirs.
    Elizabeth, the way you describe your brief words with the Archivist of Canada, who was flanked by two “Heritage Ministers” and said scarcely anything but that it was “None of his business”, smacks of some dark science-fiction movie featuring a totalitarian government as the main antagonist. I can scarcely believe that our freedoms are being picked apart, one by one, in this way. I never believed it was possible. There has to be a way to save our democratic process, our rights and freedoms, and the environment we need to live in. Our medical system, too, now under threat. But respect and preservation and access of the Libraries, whether they be in the memory of a tribal ancestor, passed down from one generation to the next, or written on paper in a book, or recorded or filmed, is the one thing that indicates that their was something other than just greed and destruction at work in any culture. PROOF that it is “ALL available online” and a law that every citizen that requires access to their heritage – the research that we paid for, would be the only mollifying factor. Even then, I would still think it was stupid they destroyed or sold to private sectors all the hard copies. Stupid and obviously a corrupt action. Why else would they turn their attention to these libraries, and destroy their contents, if they did not perceive them as a threat? The amount of money they “save” by their destruction is of no consequence.
    Thanks for letting me rant here. Thanks for you hard work Elizabeth May, and for keeping us informed. At least you are allowed to speak for us. I can be grateful for that.

  • Neil Evans

    I never imagined that anti-science, anti-evidence and anti-intellectual values would be so much incorporated into government of Canada policies. What a travesty!

  • Ken

    Well the PMO should spend time reading legislation and protecting our Heritage rather than plotting ways to distort the truth ie Senate

  • Jo. Unrau

    Harper is insane & he’s destroying our country. Can’t he be removed for the things he’s doing to Canada? If we allow this to go on then we must all be insane. Surely to goodness we don’t have to just sit back & watch our country being destroyed. I WANT HIM OUT!!!

  • Ron Cameron

    Another reprehensible act on the part of the Conservative Government. Much like
    the George W. Bush U.S. government, the current Conservatives will be the signal
    group of the drop-off of the freedom we are supposed to prize here. This is a sad
    day for Canada and there is no reason to believe we can return to the past.

  • Ed

    Elizabeth, thank you for all of the excellent work you are doing. Your articles are frequently forwarded to acquaintances throughout Canada, usually with an attached note proudly letting all know that we in Saanich-Gulf Islands have by far the best MP in Canada. I have received responses from people in Con ridings who say they wish they could have a thinking MP instead of some drone capable of nothing more than prattling Harper-approved talking points.

  • Alex Little

    I really do think you’re right about the destruction of the publications violating the law. It’s outrageous. I wouldn’t believe the government in the first place that it was intended to save money, but this makes it seem clearer that it is part of Harper’s anti-science agenda.

  • Joyce Ellis

    The question in my mind is, does this give the government the opportunity to rewrite history?

  • Peter Karwacki

    We need more green party members : I support Elizabeth May!

  • Peter Francis

    This act perhaps more than any other best shows the premise that Harper governs unde, fear that science that rational thought may get in the way of ideology. I hope this issue can provide traction for all reasonable people to stop the ongoing destruction of Canada by Harper and his business cronies. I have been a business owner all my working life and am appalled frequently by Harper’s toadying to big business interests, these interests are not inline with the needs of most people Canadian or not.

  • Joanne Lefebvre

    Thank you elizabeth

  • Jnap

    Very important initiative. thank you Elizabeth!

  • Lightning1945

    Just an aside – Until recently I always voted NDP or Liberal – I thank God that Elizabeth May is now around to be our parliamentary watchdog. No one does it better, and even though Green lacks many MPs, she does the work of a hundred other MPs. They have my vote!

  • SallyElizabeth

    The only way I see of ousting this dictatorship is for Canadian voters in each riding to to take their democracy into their own hands and figure out which candidate has the best chance of beating the Cons and simply ganging up on the cons; organize their friends and neighbours and get them all to vote either Green or Liberal or NDP, which ever one has the BEST chance to beat the cons candidate. Really, who cares which party they are from. Just get rid of the cons. Then we start fresh. We CO-OPERATE! Whoever heard of such a wonderful idea. Co-operation. Does anyone else out there think this could work? Does anyone think we could do it from the grassroots? Forget talking to party leaders; they haven’t figured it out.
    Elizabeth May, you inspire me. Keep up the excellent work!

  • Cynthia Joan Morrison

    He should be charged with Ecocide ( Crimes against the Earth ) & Crimes against Humanity
    Closing the Sciences & the Libraries killed the Wild Atlantic Salmon !
    I’ll charge him myself Ms May !
    We got your back !

  • Rosie

    Thank you for all that you’ve said so well Caroline. Keep up all your hard work Elizabeth. I wish this fight were fair, or at least easier but you’ve got my support all the way.

  • Jim Watson

    Lawbreaking government? “Welcome to this century.”

  • Nigel Tearle

    KEEP THOSE BASTARDS HONEST !

  • Tannis

    Add this to the disheartening list of actions this government has taken that enrage me!

  • Terry

    Thank you for realizing what a true and unrecoverable loss this is to our country and for doing something about it.

  • lesley

    Oh Elizabeth, if only we could clone you, please keep on keeping on

  • Paul

    Talk about bulls in china shops, dogs in mangers and other greedy stupid moves on the part of the Harper regime! Not that they explain or clarify anything but the rationale for this mass destruction hasn’t been explained in any sane way. Many of these documents are valuable historical records. Some of them may not be immediately relevant but anyone who reads history on any topic suddenly finds something someone studied and committed to paper that opens a door to today’s problems. I’m not going to go into detail but something like…The Diary of Ann Franck would probably be in landfill.
    The Magna Carta would be there as well because someone a lot like Mr. H. was forced to sign it.
    He is trying to re-write history. I forget who said it but I have a vague memory of Bill Bennett, Socred Premier of BC in the early 80′s either quoting someone (most likely)
    but saying that those who control language (meaning vernacular) control the great unwashed. At that time, ‘firing without cause’ became ‘downsizing’ and ‘restraint’ among other things.
    It’s disgusting. Keep up the good work Elizabeth,
    respectfully,
    Paul

  • Mike MacKinnon

    The Cons know theyre on the way out and seeking to destroy what they dont understand or want you to know. This is right-wing religious fundamentalism at its finest and Canadians really need to wake up to what makes this prime minister tick.

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