One of the great tragedies of ancient times was the burning of the great library at Alexandria in what is now Egypt. With this destruction, the history and cultural knowledge of centuries before was lost. Unbeknownst to most Canadians, a similar process has been undertaken by the Harper government in their continuing assault on science.
The St. Andrews Biological Station in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, the Freshwater Institute library in Winnipeg , the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John’s, along with three other world famous science labs, have been closed or literally destroyed by Harper and his cronies. Information essential for the legal and political security of Canada’s waterways and coastline has been burned, trashed or scavenged by private interests.
In the words of Peter Wells, marine environmental scientist and aquatic toxicologist, who spent 32 years working for Environment Canada, “that we as a society are condoning information destruction and core library closures in Canada is unbelievable, and in my view, undemocratic and probably criminal”.
The libraries contained almost a century of information related to Canada’s fisheries, freshwater ecosystems and oceans. Closure of the libraries will save a grand total of $443,000 per year. These closures are part of the Conservative party’s assault on Canada’s knowledge base. Knowledge is power; lack of knowledge leads to ignorance and a populace more easily manipulated and controlled. This is what Harper is clearly doing with his ongoing war against science.
We can only hope that in less than two years’ time, Canadians consign Harper’s ultra-right wing ideology to the dustbin of history, just as he is now doing to our scientific facilities.