Saturday, 15 February 2014

Caron - the victim?

Former Librarian and Archivist of Canada Daniel Caron in an article in Saturday's Le Devoir claims to have been the victim of an "administrative assassination". The way he sees it he faced internal opposition within LAC to his modernization and digitization plans, ideological intrusions by the Harper government which prohibited significant new acquisitions, and a lack of support, even hostility, from then Heritage Minister James Moore.
Then there's the Spanish lessons.
While Caron cannot be accused of lack of vision, one can debate whether it was the right vision, the article once again illustrates his lack of leadership skills.
He had difficult challenges to tackle. The fact that he embraced them, where he could have followed the lead of the former head of Statistics Canada, Munir Sheikh, when asked to proceed along a path he thought ill advised, illustrates he lacked the required depth of knowledge of the organization business to properly lead. To succeed he would have needed exceptional skills in selling the changes, internally and externally. He also lacked that skill. He alienated most in the external constituency by his inability to communicate and persuade.
I don't find the situation is any worse since Caron left so abruptly. Perhaps the delay in filling the vacant role is that nobody suitably qualified can be found prepared to assume the responsibilities under the conditions imposed by the Harper government.
Could the delay also have something to do with the virtual invisibility on the file of the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Shelly Glover; in fact no news of any type was posted on her website from November 27 to January 31. The more recent posts are routine. When asked in Question Period on 31 January by MP Pierre Nantel "When will they (the Harper government) start to treat our archival heritage with respect and appoint someone competent to run LAC?", the reply came not from Minister Glover but MP Paul Calandra who responded "there is a process under way, and I am sure a decision will be made in the fullness of time..."
No M. Caron, the victim is Canada's heritage.

4 comments:

Dorothy Kew said...

It's utterly disgraceful that LAC has eliminated inter-library loan of such things as newspapers on microfilm where they are the only repository. So now researcher have to traipse to Ottawa to see these papers? It's a total disservice to the genealogical and research community

J said...

Thank you for keeping us informed on this important file.

Anonymous said...

Can we seen a connection with "poor" Daniel Caron's victimization theory and the same ridiculous logic Mike Duffy, Pamela Wallin, and Patrick Brazeau relied on to defend their time in office?
Caron's interview in "Le Devoir" notably lacked any mention of specific achievements he could point to with pride. His "modernization" theme was o-so 1990s without any hindsight or ability to connect with the library or archival communities he needed to interact with to be reasonably successful.
L. Bruce
PP Ex Libris Assn.

Gerald Parker said...

Daniel Caron is the Rob Ford of Canadian Archivism and Librarianship. Tories have no shame!