Monday, January 13, 2014

Harper's Gov't, the moral equivalent of burning Library of Alexandria

This is news to me and I'm still in shock that something like this can happen and feel compelled to share it.  I knew things had gotten a bit ugly up in Canada, but had no idea how crazy, that is self-destructive, the Harper Agenda really was.

Why is it that learning about our planet has become such an enemy to the Right Wing power structure?  Why is it so hard for these people to appreciate that our "environment" is the only life-support system we have, and we absolutely depend on its health?   

I'll let Andrew Nikiforuk tell the rest of the story by quoting from his articles.  Although please visit the and read the full story because there's much more than I've shared here.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Harper government shuts down 'world class' collection on freshwater science and protection.
By Andrew Nikiforuk, 9 Dec 2013,

The Harper government has dismantled one of the world's top aquatic and fishery libraries as part of its agenda to reduce government as well as limit the role of environmental science in policy decision-making.
Last week the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which is closing five of its seven libraries, allowed scientists, consultants and members of the public to scavenge through what remained of Eric Marshall Library belonging to the Freshwater Institute at the University of Manitoba.
"It was a world class library with some of the finest environmental science and freshwater book collections in the world. It was certainly the best in Canada, but it's no more," said Burt Ayles, a 68-year-old retired research scientist and former regional director general for freshwaters in central Canada and the Arctic.
Established in 1973, when foreign governments hailed Canada as a world leader in freshwater science and protection, the library housed tens of thousands of reports, maps, charts and books, including material dating back to the 1880s.
"There are so many willing accomplices to what's going on," the scientist added. "All of our federal libraries and archives are being diminished. It's an ideological thing coming from a right-wing libertarian government."
Since 2012, the government has closed or consolidated more than a dozen federal libraries at Parks Canada, Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration and Canadian Heritage (see sidebar).
"The government is either incompetent or malevolent or both," added Ayles. ...
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Scientists reject Harper gov't claims vital material is being saved digitally.
By Andrew Nikiforuk | 23 Dec 2013 |

Scientists say the closure of some of the world's finest fishery, ocean and environmental libraries by the Harper government has been so chaotic that irreplaceable collections of intellectual capital built by Canadian taxpayers for future generations has been lost forever.

Many collections such as the Maurice Lamontagne Institute Library in Mont-Joli, Quebec ended up in dumpsters while others such as Winnipeg's historic Freshwater Institute library were scavenged by citizens, scientists and local environmental consultants. Others were burned or went to landfills, say scientists.

Furthermore, the government is falsely claiming that vital content is being retained by extensively digitizing material from nine regional libraries that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) whittled down to two. 


Closing libraries, stopping research
As reported by The Tyee earlier this month, key libraries dismantled by the government included the famous Freshwater Institute library in Winnipeg; the historic St. Andrews Biological Station (SABS) in St. Andrews, New Brunswick (Rachel Carson, the celebrated environmental scientist, corresponded with researchers there for her book, Silent Spring) and one of the world's finest ocean collections at Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland.
At the same time the government has killed research groups that depended on those libraries such as the Experimental Lakes Area, the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission and the DFO's entire contaminants research program. The Freshwater Institute as well as the Centre for Offshore Oil, Gas and Energy Research (COOGER) has lost much of their funding and staff, too.
Kelly Whelan-Enns, head of media and policy research for Manitoba Wildlands, spent two days at the library trying to salvage maps from the 1900s and wildlife data from the 1920s.
"I saw a private consultant firm working for Manitoba Hydro back up a truck and fill it with Manitoba data and materials that the public had paid for. I was profoundly saddened and appalled."
"It's obvious that this government cares little for public discourse."
'It must be about ideology': Hutchings
Hutchings said none of the closures has anything to do with saving money, due to the small cost of maintaining the collections. He, like many scientists, concludes that Harper's political convictions are driving the unprecedented consolidation.
"It must be about ideology. Nothing else fits," said Hutchings. "What that ideology is, is not clear. Does it reflect that part of the Harper government that doesn't think government should be involved in the very things that affect our lives? Or is it that the role of government is not to collect books or fund science? Or is it the idea that a good government is stripped down government? "
Hutchings saw the library closures fitting a larger pattern of "fear and insecurity" within the Harper government, "about how to deal with science and knowledge."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Andrew Nikiforuk is an award-winning journalist who has been writing about the energy industry for two decades and is a contributing editor to The Tyee. Find his previous stories here.

No comments: