"Archives matter - to me, to Canada, and to us all! I hope Archives matter to you."
If you’re thinking about writing a letter to express your response to the NADP, CCA, and LAC cuts, but aren’t sure where to start, perhaps the example below will help you get started. Many thanks to Nancy Marrelli for allowing us to re-post her words here.
Dear Minister Moore,
I am writing today to express my profound disappointment with, and disapproval of, the recent budget cuts to the National Archival Development Program (NADP) and to Library and Archives Canada.
As the Minister of Canadian Heritage, I wonder if you are aware of how devastating these budget cuts will be to the Canadian archival network and to Canadian documentary heritage - or are these are unintended consequences?
For the past 26 years the Canadian Council of Archives has administered the NADP (and its predecessors) to support archival initiatives in every corner of this country:
- small historical societies struggling to maintain and bring local history to their communities,
- archives that preserve and make accessible Canada’s proud history of innovation and development,
- archives preserving and making available the records of visual artists, writers, dancers, musicians, filmmakers and other creators,
- archives devoted to the preservation and access of records of women, racial minorities, indigenous peoples - and many other groups whose stories remain buried and untold,
- the preservation of important records at high risk: e.g. audio-visual materials and electronic records in obsolete formats, crumbling early paper documents, large old maps, fragile photographic records,
- the creation and maintenance of a national online database of Canadian archival resources to make our history available to researchers across Canada and the world.
Although the resources in the NADP are very modest (a mere $1.7 million in 2011/12!), this cost-shared program has leveraged matching funding from a wide variety of other sources, and it has allowed archives with professional expertise to move forward in countless ways with the safeguarding of our documentary heritage. We have done much with little! Cutting this very modest program has dire consequences for the entire Canadian archival network and I am at a loss to understand how this decision can have been made!
The cuts to Library and Archives Canada will lead to the loss of archivists who acquire and preserve the electronic records, early video, wax cylinders, paper documents, and the complex records of Canada’s creators. These specialist professionals process and care for the records so they can be made available in person or digitally to researchers in Canada and across the world. It takes more than a simple scanning project to keep these important documentary resources available to researchers in perpetuity. How are we to believe a vague promise of “improved service” when archivists knowledgeable about the records in their care are being eliminated, digitization staff is being reduced by 50% and highly specialized conservation staff in all media are being severely cut?
Archivists are the caretakers of our collective memory - we need resources to care for the records that tell the world who we are and what we have done! I urge you to reverse these calamitous cutbacks and to protect Canada’s precious documentary heritage.
Archives matter - to me, to Canada, and to us all! I hope Archives matter to you.
Hélène Laverdière, my Member of Parliament, Helene.Laverdiere@parl.gc.ca
Steven Harper, firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Mulcair, email@example.com
Bob Rae, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth May, Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca
Members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage:
Rob Moore, Chair, email@example.com
Pierre Nantel, Vice-Chair, Pierre.Nantel@parl.gc.ca
Scott Simms, Vice-Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Armstrong, email@example.com
Gordon Brown, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Calandra, email@example.com
Andrew Cash, Andrew.Cash@parl.gc.ca
Matthew Dubé, Matthew.Dube@parl.gc.ca
Parm Gill, Parm.Gill@parl.gc.ca
Jim Hillyer, Jim.Hillyer@parl.gc.ca
Rathika Sitsabaiesan, Rathika.Sitsabaiesan@parl.gc.ca
Terence Young, firstname.lastname@example.org
Clerk of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage: CHPC@parl.gc.ca