Library closures the tip of the iceberg

The Conservative government is continuing its war on information

Editor, The Times:

The Conservative government is continuing its war on information by closing down seven DFO libraries across the country.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Gail Shea has said that the items in the closed libraries would be digitized and/or offered to other libraries, third parties, DFO staff and the general public before being recycled.

The problem is her claims don’t wash. Library employees have contradicted her statement, and a recent written response I’ve received from the Minister has proven that her department has no ability to determine what has been digitized, and has no idea what has happened to thousands of books and journals which were contained in the libraries. The process has obviously been a chaotic mess, yet the Minister somehow keeps repeating the same talking points which directly contradict her written response.

In many cases the government had spent hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars upgrading these facilities in recent years, only to suddenly decide to shut them all down and spend at least tens of thousands of dollars to do so. The Conservatives claim they are saving taxpayers around $400,000 – a drop in the bucket for a Conservative government which has spent over $548 million advertising itself to Canadians.

On top of these library closures and the loss of much of their information, the Conservative government has also slashed funding for the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL), closed the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, gutted the Fisheries Act, cut hundreds of jobs at DFO including many chemists, biologists and other important researchers and scientists, eliminated the Ocean Contaminants and Marine Toxicology Program, eliminated federal responsibility for the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area, and muzzled well respected government scientists.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Something far more dangerous and ideological is happening than the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans claims. The Conservative government is on a path of destruction for any scientific information, knowledge, or people who might get in the way of its devastating agenda for our country.

Lawrence MacAulay, MP for Cardigan, PEI

Fisheries and Oceans critic for Liberal Party of Canada