In yesterday’s press conference, Heritage Minister James Moore announced $25 million in one time funding to renovate and update the Canadian Museum of Civilization. The update includes a name change to the Canadian Museum of History, and a change in mandate. Both of these changes have yet to be legislated.
Interestingly, the funding for this project (which many are criticizing as unnecessary) did not arise out of funding cuts in the Department. Rather the Department just had this in its budget.
Heritage critics Scott Simms (Liberal), Andrew Cash (NDP) and Elizabeth May criticized funding this project while insisting on cuts in other areas of the Heritage portfolio, such as Library and Archives (including the NADP).
It is a great opportunity to write to your MP to remind him/her that funding to LAC is inadequate and that if the government can afford to throw $25 million taxpayer dollars at this museum, then it can and should fund the LAC to resume the acquisition of private donations of archival collections and to continue providing ILL service to regions of Canada — as a minimum! (I know readers will have many more ideas of how the LAC could spend $25 million).
See BCLA’s Library Month campaign for more information regarding the cuts to LAC and federal libraries.
Several media articles have included criticisms of this move including:
Changes are ‘wasteful spending,’ Liberal MP says
Liberal MP Marc Garneau questioned the motivation behind pending changes after Question Period Monday.
“Tell me what we are achieving by doing that, other than providing the Conservative government with another moment so they can make an event and … do some press conferences and spend some money,” Garneau said.
“They’re going to have to spend money on new stationery and a whole bunch of other things at a time when Canadians don’t want to see wasteful spending.”
And the Globe and Mail’s article from Oct. 12 called “Museum of Civilization to change name, focus only on Canadian history” outlines the current Conservative government’s penchant for jingoistic history – namely the focus on Canadian and British military history.