“Over the past few years, I have conducted research at Archives New Zealand, the
National Archives of the United Kingdom, the National Archives of Australia and
Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Already, LAC was far inferior to these other
institutions in terms of the accessibility of the material in Ottawa, regionally
Access required filing a series of ATIP requests some of which took 18 months to
complete. Only after submitting a series of requests was I able to obtain
critical government information about the shaping of Canada’s immigration
programs in the postwar period. Often, it was through the rich collection of
political papers from key politicians and decision makers that I was able to
develop an accurate picture of how the current immigration system came to be.
Perhaps the most important tool for my research was archivescanada.ca, which
allowed me to search the holdings of smaller institutions and discover records
of relevance. It will be cut as a result of the hit to NADP funding. Many of
the important finding aids at LAC are not available on-line, which means that
researchers aren’t even aware of what is in the LAC collection.
The point of this brief summary is to point out that LAC was already struggling
to meet the needs of researchers prior to the recent cuts. With the cuts
announced last month, the collection at LAC risks becoming further inaccessible
and the critical work of smaller institutions is in jeopardy. Rather than
short-sighted digitization projects, LAC needs committed funds and support and
a vision that truly sees it serving the needs of the country. It already pales
in comparison to other national institutions in providing physical and on-line
access to records in its collection and I worry about the long-term and perhaps
permanent repercussions of the current cutbacks.”
The author of this testimony chose to remain anonymous.
The Graduate History Students in Support of Canada’s Archives, a coalition of graduate history student associations representing ten universities in Canada – York University, University of Manitoba, University of Winnipeg, University of Waterloo, Wilfrid Laurier University, University of Guelph, University of Carleton, McMaster University, Queen’s University, and Concordia University, whose views are supported by a number of other organizations and individuals, have sent a letter of protest to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Minister Moore, opposing the Conservative government’s proposed cuts to Canada’s archives.
See the letter here: GHSSCA letter to Minister Moore re_cuts to Canadian Archives
Our colleagues from the History Graduate Students’ Society at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, have joined our GHSSCA campaign. Their names has been added to the letter of protest that we are sending to Minister James Moore on Monday.
Thank you for you support!
The Graduate History Students’ Association of Concordia University in Montreal is the latest association to join the GHSSCA campaign, which counts with the endorsement of organizations representing over 6,000 graduate students.
The deadline to add your association’s endorsement to the letter written by the GHSSCA to Minister James Moore protesting the cuts proposed to Canada’s archives is today, June 1st, at 9.00pm. But we continue to welcome anyone who wishes to add their voice to our protest, and we will publicize in our blog any endorsements and testimonials received after this deadline.
Thank you everyone for your support!
“I am an historian recently graduated from Yale University, in New Haven, Connecticut. I used Canada’s archives and archivists extensively in my dissertation research. I was the recipient of funds from the Canadian government to conduct this research. I used archives in Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. I could not have completed my dissertation without these archives, archivists and funds. I would not have been able to write the balanced and complex history I did without these resources. I call on the Canadian government to continue to make these archives accessible.”
Taylor Spence, Ph.D. History, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Send us your testimonies (250-300 words) on how the cuts to Canada’s archives will affect your research and we will attach them to our letter to the Minister: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our colleagues at the Queen’s University History Graduate Student Association have joined the Graduate History Students in Support of Canada’s Archives campaign.
Thank you for your support. Welcome aboard!
The York University Graduate Students’ Association, that represents over 6,100 full and part-time graduate students, has endorsed our letter to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, James Moore opposing the proposed cuts to Canada’s archives.
The Graduate Students Committee of the Canadian Historical Association, which met on May 29, has also endorsed the GHSSCA’s campaign.
Thank you for your support!