26 February 2013

Drastic Cut at Library and Archives Canada

Main Estimates tabled in the House of Commons on Monday reflect the Harper government's continued low priority for Canada's documentary heritage.

For 2013-14 the allocation for LAC is $98.3 million, down more than 16% from $117.7 million in the present year. Budgetary allocations for Exploration of Documentary Resources fall from $34.3 million to $29.9 million; for Preservation of Continuing Memory from $31.9 million to $21.3 million; and for Documentation of the Canadian Experience from 15.9 million to $14.2 million.
Ottawa-based federal cultural institutions all see decreases in Main Estimates allocations.
A substantial increase for the Halifax-based Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21, from $9.9 million to $18.5 million, and a tripling of the allocation for the Winnipeg-based Canadian Museum for Human Rights, from $10 million to $31.7 million are accounted for by allocations for accommodation (capital construction.)

The Department of Canadian Heritage sees a 2.9% increase, from $1,280 million in the current year to $1,317 million in 2013-14. This includes a one-time allocation of $122.3 million for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto so expenditures on other cultural activities are being reduced.


Pearson James, Calgary said...

Seeking reductions in spending is now part of the strategy of all levels of government, something people need to come to terms with. The cuts to the LAC budgets are no more serious than with any other department. Governments locally and around the world – whether national, provincial, state or municipal – are looking to trim expenses and, in many cases, institute austerity measures.

Citizens and taxpayers here should ask themselves whether they would rather see reduced funding for LAC-type agencies or pension plans. This is no more a stretch than contrasting the LAC cut with the funding of the Pan Am Games in Toronto, which I’m sure many people from that region would say is of great important to their local economy, and which is an apples and oranges comparison anyway.

Supporters of the LAC, or similar agencies, would do better to spend their time and energy looking for solutions to lowered government funding rather than complain about such things being caused by any group with a particular ideology, in this case, the federal Conservatives. Residents of Ontario must be asking themselves by now if they are better off after several terms of a Liberal government.

Perhaps interested parties should turn their attention to looking for alternative funding mechanisms, perhaps through private donations from individuals, corporations or individual societies, utilization of lotteries or the establishment of endowments, any of which might help create more stability and longevity.

J said...

While I understand Pearson James points about the general need for cuts in every department funded by taxpayers, I still consider it important to know that, for example, budgets are being INCREASED for advertising the "economic action plan", for the costs of adding 30 more members of Parliament, for painting the extra decorations on the Prime Minister's plane, and for many other of the trappings of government. Reducing interlibrary loan services from LAC really hurts the people who do not have the means to get to Ottawa for their research.
Thanks to this blog for reporting on the LAC cuts.

J said...

yes Pearson James, taxpayers do understand that cuts are needed to every department, but that is not happening in a balanced way. the advertising budget for promoting this federal government and its economic action plan is going UP, the cost of adding 30 more MPs is raising the federal Parliamentary costs UP, the costs of the monitoring of all government services is going UP. However the budget for LAC is greatly reduced, the budget for medical research is so low that this year only 17% of submitted proposals were funded, an all time low percentage. Education on reserves is underfunded, and interlibrary loan service from LAC is cut. This trend is upsetting to many people. Thanks to this blog for letting us know the details of the cuts to LAC.

Terry Reilly said...

Thanks so much for this cleat post Mr. Reid. I am sharing it with my archivist colleagues. It will help us to focus our efforts to support our colleagues at LAC.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post. James you do understand that LAC serves as the memory of the Government of Canada don't you? Without the mechanisms to hold government accountable such as an active civil society in which government archives' liberal democracy is little more than an empty shell. The professionals on the ground at LAC have been doing their best in the face of the cuts but do not have the resources to carry them out. They are being very badly led at the moment and have had to live in constant uncertainty about their jobs. Please explain to me how a government agency such as LAC, which has been cut serverly over the last two fiscal years, deserves to have their budget further reduced? How much has the PMO grown in the last two fiscal years? Alternative funding mechanisms? LAC is legally obligated to act as the memory for the government of Canada just the same as the RCMP is legally obligated to protect and serve Canadians. Should the RCMP seek alternative funding mechanisms?