‘Closing fish libraries like burning books’

Editor, The News:

The Book Thief is a powerful movie set in Germany during the Nazi regime.

One scene particularly stands out: the big book burning to ‘cleanse’ the country from word and thought that does not agree with the Nazi ideology.

Why is that scene still haunting me?

Partly because I grew up in post-war Germany, living the impact of losing democracy.

Mostly because I fear we are eroding our own democracy here in Canada.

Several weeks ago, the federal government dismantled one of the world’s top aquatic and fishery libraries as part of its agenda to reduce government and to diminish the role of environmental science in policy decision-making.

Established in 1973, when foreign governments hailed Canada as a world leader in freshwater science and protection, the library housed tens of thousands of reports, maps, charts and books.

Now the library is dismantled, dispersed, gone or only digitally accessible upon request and with permission, and if you can find where to look.

One prominent research scientist, a federal government scientist for 30 years, and who did not want to be identified, said: “All that intellectual capital is now gone. It’s like a book burning. It’s the destruction of our cultural heritage. It just makes us poorer as a nation.”

One scientist not willing to be muzzled by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, professor David Schindler, a water expert at the University of Alberta, said: “In retrospect, I am not surprised at all to find them trashing scientific libraries ... Paranoid ideologues have burned books and records throughout human history to try to squelch dissenting visions.”

The Conservatives are scared of true democracy.

Research and evidence that do not fit Mr. Harper’s ideology is no longer welcome in Canada.

Mr. Harper closed the national round table on the environment and economy because he didn’t want to hear about other solutions to environmental issues.

He shut down the internationally recognized experimental lakes area research facility.

He continues to muzzle government scientists in what they can research, publish, and say. Scientists that we pay, as taxpayers, to inform us.

Now he is so desperate to hold on to power that he is dismantling scientific libraries.

Our local member of parliament, Randy Kamp, constantly sends me notes asking, “Who is on track?”

Mr. Kamp, the only track I see your government to be on, is dismantling democracy. This scares me.

Maria Raynolds

Maple Ridge


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