Conservative Budget Puts Libraries and Archives in Despair, Olivia Decries in Parliament
June 12, 2012
OTTAWA – The Conservatives are recklessly cutting funding for our nation’s libraries and archives, undermining efforts to preserve and access invaluable documents. The budget eliminates the national archival development program that more than 800 heritage institutions rely on.
Olivia took a stance for our libraries and archives in Parliament and denounced the reckless cuts and the long-term damage that the Conservatives are causing.
Ms. Olivia Chow (Trinity—Spadina, NDP):
Madam Speaker, 800 archives and other heritage institutions across the country are supported by the national archival development program, but the budget cuts to Library and Archives Canada eliminate the program.
This means that Library and Archives Canada will not be able to meet its legislative mandate to support the development of the library and archival communities of Canada. Given that it is eliminating all its support, it will have a devastating impact on Canadians’ ability to access their own heritage and learn their own history.
What is the justification for this steep cut of $1.7 million to the archival program?
Mr. Mike Wallace:
Madam Speaker, it is an excellent question because I have an excellent answer.
I was at committee just last week when not the chief archivist but a member from the financial area came in and said they were cutting a certain number of jobs and activities. Absolutely. It was because it was part of the archives’ leadership management plan long before DRAP, long before we cut.
The NDP asked for the number or percentage of that change, in terms of how they operate, that is due to DRAP or the economic action plan changes that we are implementing. It was 3% or 4%, exactly what other departments are doing.
That person is making a managerial change because technology has changed and they can operate differently from the way they have in the past. Those changes would have happened regardless—