Harper Government Cutbacks Threaten Canadian Culture and Heritage

July 25, 2012, 11:50 AM EST

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The CAW is calling on the Harper government to reverse ongoing cutbacks to Canada's culture and heritage, including putting an end to dramatic cutbacks at Library and Archives Canada.

CAW Economist Jim Stanford, CAW Research Director Bill Murnighan and CAW Librarian Kathy Bennett outline concerns regarding ongoing federal government cutbacks in a July 23 letter to Heritage and Official Languages Minister James Moore.

The future of Library and Archive Canada (LAC) is being threatened by ongoing Harper government cutbacks, the letter stresses. Here are some excerpts from the letter:

"These cuts and changes must be stopped. Library and Archives Canada is mandated to maintain a comprehensive collection of Canada's documentary heritage, yet LAC officials are now arguing they can only keep a "representative" collection. This raises serious questions about what histories, whose history, and ultimately how much of Canada's history will be preserved for future generations to explore.

The Harper government is putting the possibility of maintaining a complete record of Canada's past at risk. In the context of other measures affecting Statistics Canada, the CBC, the work of government scientists, and other anti-democratic reductions in the collection and dissemination of information, these cuts indicate a dangerous willingness on the part of this government to suppress knowledge.

The LAC cutbacks jeopardize our military, music, labour, aboriginal and early settler histories, as well as literature and many other collections.

Of particular interest to us, many decades of labour documents, photos, moving images and histories are stored at LAC, including CAW archival materials as well as material from other unions and workers organizations."

".These ongoing attacks against our national heritage and culture must be stopped and reversed. Instead, the government should commit to continuing to fund the collection, storage, and access to these important materials. After all, understanding our past is the first step in building a stronger future for all Canadians."

To read the complete letter please go to http://www.caw.ca/en/11360.htm

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