Tuesday, 7 December 2010

LAC fails on consultation

On November 30 Librarian and Archivist of Canada Daniel J Caron testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Official Languages. The text of his opening remarks was posted at the LAC website here.

His statement points out that "LAC received perfect scores for the provision of its services in both official languages in person or by phone. Concerning the active offer of service by telephone, LAC was one of only three institutions to receive this perfect score."

LAC seems unlikely to post anything about the question period that followed. You can watch an archived video of the session here. A transcript should be posted soon.

Mauril Bélanger, MP for Ottawa-Vanier, noted that the Commissioner of Official Languages gave LAC a grade of D overall for its official languages performance. Caron explained this on the basis that the Commissioner placed a great emphasis on consultation with communities, which has not been an LAC strength. He later added that it was also the result of a misunderstanding that LAC regional facilities do not provide direct service to the public.

Asked by Bélanger whether LAC plans to hold consultations with the community, not just the provinces, Caron appeared not to understand the question. The fact is, and its far more pervasive than just for official languages, that when it comes to consultation LAC management simply appears not to get it.

Asked by Bélanger whether LAC would be considering digitization of the Ottawa newspaper Le Droit as it comes up to its 100th anniversary, Caron responded "we're not into digitization." When pressed he clarified that "if it's the will of the community it could become a project."

LAC's Services Advisory Board, which has not been officially active for a year now, repeatedly during its existence rated newspaper digitization as a high priority. LAC chose not to listen to the will of that community.

Not everything about the session was negative. Richard Nadeau, MP for Gatineau, was quite complimentary about the service he has received from front-line staff while visiting LAC.

No comments: