I have an article up at Rabble.ca today about the library closure situation at Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
When closures happen, the librarians and staff work very hard to minimize the impact on their community, especially to make sure valuable collections are not lost and that research support services are maintained.
This is where the DFO situation takes a downward turn.
Apparently, this careful process to keep irreplaceable material was not, at all, what happened at the DFO libraries that are being closed. Instead, chaos and confusion seemed to reign.
Finally many thanks to Kaitlin McNabb for offering me this opportunity and for her very valuable editorial suggestions which made the article much better. I'll have the full text posted here in a week or so.
During my time as the Central and Arctic regional librarian at DFO Winnipeg, the government was suing a diamond strip mining operation for destroying the fish population in a NWT lake. We had an un-published report from an environmental consultant under contract with Indian Affairs and Northern Development done on this particular lake back in the 1970s, when there was money for this sort of frivolity. DFO was able to prove the loss of an entire lake of trout, based on the 1970s data. However, company lawyers were able to prove that there was no 'monetary value' on this particular school of trout because they were so far out in the wilderness, no one ever fished there. Their fines were considerably less than if the lake had been part of a commercial fishery. None-the-less, they did have to pay a relatively small fine and restore the area to pre-strip mining condition. It's one of those cases that has really stuck with me. It does prove the old saying "if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears..." then no one really cares.
But, all the reports I see talk about the Freshwater Institute collection on fresh water being so significant. What was really significant about the DFO Wpg collection was the Arctic and northern stuff. With all those contractor reports quietly incinerated, the government won't be able to sue the Harper-friendly businesses any more as northern development starts accelerating and running rough-shod over the landscape.