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The CHA writes to Minister Glover
 
Ottawa, July 19, 2013

The Honourable Shelly Glover
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Canadian Heritage
15 Eddy Street
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0M5

Dear Minister Glover,

I would like, on behalf of the Canadian Historical Association (CHA), to congratulate you on your appointment as Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. We wish you the best of success in your new role and we look forward to continuing the dialogue that was begun with your predecessor, Minister James Moore, on various matters.

Founded in 1922, the Canadian Historical Association / La Société historique du Canada is a bilingual not-for-profit and charitable association devoted to fostering the scholarly study and communication of history in Canada. The Association seeks to encourage the integration of historical knowledge and perspectives in both the scholarly and public spheres, to ensure the accessibility of historical resources, and to promote the rights and freedoms of professional and emerging historians in the pursuit of historical inquiry.

With members from across Canada and around the world, writing and researching on the history of all periods and areas, the CHA/SHC serves professional historians and is open to anyone with an interest in history.

Although many files will undoubtedly demand your immediate interest in the coming months, we would like to draw your attention to some pressing issues that are of utmost importance to historians.

First, we would urge you to appoint a new Librarian and Archivist of Canada who will draw upon the long term strengths of this institution and refocus on its core mandate. Similar to the Association of Canadian Archivists, we believe the next Librarian and Archivist of Canada should be a qualified professional archivist, librarian or historian, who will collaborate in a constructive and productive way with government, LAC staff, researchers, as well as library, archives and history networks.

We also hope that you will also consider asking the new Librarian and Archivist of Canada, when appointed, to revive the National Archival Development program (NADP). The outgoing Minister had publicly expressed such a desire on June 10, 2013: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/06/09/pol-james-moore-funding-to-library-and-archives.html. With an annual appropriation of 1.7 million dollars, the Canadian Council of Archives effectively administered the NADP which distributed the funds to 13 archives councils in Canada's provinces and territories. Through this efficient, decentralized program, a wide range of professional archival services were delivered to Canada's regions, ensuring that Canada’s history was preserved in local communities. Canada’s archival councils have focussed on providing user-centred services, and support to archives and archivists so that they may better serve all Canadians.

As well, we wish to encourage you to restore the necessary funding and ask Library and Archives Canada to revive its valuable Inter-Library Loan Program, which was also cut by the administration of Dr. Daniel Caron in 2012. This program has been an essential support to the research, writing and publication in Canadian history across Canada. While it has impaired historical practice in all regions, its elimination particularly placed researchers living outside central Canada at a great disadvantage. Canadians should not have to live within the National Capital Region in order to be able to use the archival and book materials of Canada's national library and archives, or to be able to write the history of Canada.

Finally, we would also ask you to ensure that a balanced and non-partisan approach be taken in the comprehensive review of Canadian history that will be undertaken by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. The CHA urges the Committee to include meaningful consultation with and significant involvement by the major professional historical associations, including the Canadian Historical Association, the Canadian Anthropological Society, and the Canadian Archaeological Association. Without such meaningful involvement and input, the Committee’s work will be greatly impaired and will lack credibility with historians and the general public.

Our sincere compliments once again on becoming the new Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. We look forward to working with you on issues affecting the historical community at large.

Sincerely,

Dominique Marshall
President
Canadian Historical Association

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