Folks are receiving responses to letters they have sent to Heritage Minister Moore. All appear to be the same, with perhaps minor differences depending on the topic.
Thank you for writing to me about the cancellation of Library and Archives Canada's (LAC) National Archival Development Program. I appreciate you taking the time to share your views with me.When there is a large volume of correspondence on an issue it is unrealistic to expect a personalized response. But it's also a signal that there has been a large volume. The minister, and his political staff, should by now be recognizing that there is an irritant that can't be ignored.
Please be assured that our Government recognizes the importance of LAC and the many services it provides, as well as the value of preserving Canada's documentary heritage.
As an agency in the Canadian Heritage Portfolio, LAC is responsible for operational decisions under the direction of the Librarian and Archivist of Canada, including those related to Budget 2012.
As such, I have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of our correspondence to Dr. Daniel J. Caron, Deputy Head and Librarian and Archivist of Canada, so that he is aware of your concerns.
Please accept my best wishes.
The Honourable James Moore, P.C., M.P.
There is some indication that action would be taken in this exchange from the Minister's appearance on 29 May at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (my transcription).
Liberal heritage critic Scott Simms.
Mr Simms ... I want to dive into LAC because there's a fundamental gap between what it is people do in telling our story as Canadians as opposed to what we think is a place to cut for reasons of inefficiencies. When it comes to digitization its not just piling a bunch of photographs on someone to put them on a repository; there's a story there to tell. The NADP was an essential part of telling a story in the smallest of communities. I have 200 communities in my riding and some of them took advantage of this (the NADP). They're in a situation now where the expertise is not really there. Just by digitizing something we've missed the narrative. Archiving is something more than we give it credit for. Would you agree?We're waiting for the promised announcement.
Moore: I think it can be seen by some obtusely as just a bureaucratic function, but I think your right. I come from a family of teachers. This is about protecting. Digitizing can become a blanket platitude for seeming like you're a la mode. It seems like a catch-phrase. Your right. it's about attracting and championing Canadian culture and history through archives, so it's an important tool of learning.
Simms: NADP was a vital tool of that. It seems like we've taken something extremely vital to the core of what you believe in. So you have to question do you believe in what it is they're doing?
Moore: Well we do, but you know look there are going to be other initiatives that Library and Archives is going to be announcing and we are going to be providing ...
Simms: Any hints ...
Moore: No, I'll leave that for LAC ... soon we'll have more to say on the subject.
Simms: On the Inter-library Loans issue. How did you come to that decision?
Moore: That was LAC's decision. The way the process works this is not I the Minister going to LAC and saying here's how you're going to absorb a five or ten percent reduction, and here's how we're going to force it upon you. We ask them to come up with the five or ten percent they think is least effectively spent related to their core mandate and responsibilities. So they come to us and say if our budget is reduced here's what we think is the least effective five percent of the money we're spending.