Government cuts are hindering Library and Archives Canada’s ability to preserve items important to Canada’s heritage, according to some academics and historians.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers launched a campaign to save Library and Archives Canada and is calling on the federal government to fund a protection project.
Jim Turk, executive director of the association said the federal archives have been cut by 35 per cent since the 1990s, most of the cuts being to acquisitions and staff.
"Unfortunately the government of Canada has signaled, rather than restoring funding it’s planning on cutting at least a further $12 million from funding," Turk said.
Liam McGahern, president of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of Canada said many items – like a letter written during the War of 1812 warning of battles along the St. Lawrence Valley – will likely end up in the hands of collectors in the U.S. because Archives Canada doesn’t have the money to purchase them anymore.
"You have to protect the documents," McGahern said. "We need a national institution whose mandate is to preserve and protect our history."
The Canadian Association of University Teachers is asking the government to amend the Library and Archives Act to ensure its mandate includes developing a comprehensive collection of Canadian material.