A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, January 26, 2014

The War on Information Continues.

It has been revealed that in addition to the 'consolidation' of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans libraries, where reports say that despite assurances that much of the material would be digitized a large number of books and papers have been destroyed without such backup, the Libraries of Heath Canada are now under attack.

The CBC reports that Health Canada scientists are so concerned about losing access to their research library that some are squirrelling away journals and books in their garages for colleagues to consult. This after a report calling for the libraries to NOT be closed was rejected as 'flawed' (i.e. Not the answer that was required) and the library's collection was moved to the National Science Library and the inter-library loan functions were outsourced to a private company.

"Staff requests have dropped 90 per cent over in-house service levels prior to the outsource. This statistic has been heralded as a cost savings by senior HC [Health Canada] management," the report said.
"However, HC scientists have repeatedly said during the interview process that the decrease is because the information has become inaccessible — either it cannot arrive in due time, or it is unaffordable due to the fee structure in place."
'If you want to justify closing a library, you make access difficult and then you say it is hardly used.'— Dr. Rudi Mueller, retired Health Canada pathologist
There is little doubt that most newer material will be available 'on line' however there has been no massive injection of resources to digitized historical reports and other material or to make such openly available. Obviously those most affected by these changes are very concerned and feel that the material is in danger of being 'disappeared'.

"One group moved its 250 feet of published materials to an employee's basement. When you need a book, you email 'Fred,' and 'Fred' brings the book in with him the next day," the consultant wrote in his report.
The report said the number of in-house librarians went from 40 in 2007 to just six in April 2013.
"Knowledgeable and expert librarians and archivists are invaluable resources in helping you find what you want,"
"So they [Health Canada] are not just closing physical collections of books. They are getting rid of the guides to those collections."

We all know that reference material is increasingly being accessed 'online' and scientific 'papers' are usually now published on line but not all are, and we are a long way from having the historical material all available from our computers. I would think that our research libraries would need more staff not less to enable them to scan this historical stuff to electronic media. Even that is little scary if said records are in a government controlled database give our current regimes predilection to historical revision and scientific denial.

When this regime talks about access to information they mean access to propaganda issued by themselves and the destruction of any factual information that does not coincide with their narrow view of the world. Make no mistake the attack upon knowledge is an attack upon democracy both of which have been severely compromised by these ideological oligarchs.

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