Harper Government Disrespects the Past While Failing the Future
The Harper government’s war on knowledge continues.
30 or more national historic sites across Canada will be less accessible because of the Harper governments budget cuts.
Riel House, where Louis Riel lay in state after being hanged for treason, is losing access to funding for interpreters to work for school tours and summer tourists. These cuts mean that fewer Canadians will get to see and learn about the country’s history.
At the same time, the government has shut down departmental libraries, laying off librarians and they’re cutting the budget and the acquisitions at Library and Archives Canada.
We should have known when the government ordered all documents related to the gun registry destroyed in case another government had the idea to start it again that they were looking to erase the past and create their own history. We should have known when they decided to put an end to the mandatory long form census, handicapping researchers in the future. We should have known when they named an economist as the Head Librarian and Archivist of Canada.
The government is telling Canadians that digitization would mean that Canadians have access to records everywhere, so it doesn’t matter that services and hours are being cut at Library and Archives and that historic sites are shortening their hours and going unstaffed.
Ask any trained librarian or archivist and they will tell you that paper books have outlasted every form of technology so far.
This government is spending money to celebrate Canada’s history – the multimillion dollar commemoration of the War of 1812 is proof of that; they even made an app – but they also appear to be picking and choosing which parts of our history deserve to be saved and celebrated.
Photo Credit: Peter Vanderheyden