Thursday, September 27, 2012

Canada's Fahrenheit 451 - the destruction of our national libraries.

Fahrenheit 451 is a novel by Ray Bradbury, about a totalitarian society where books are burned, by a government that wants to suppress ideas.
German-Jewish poet Heinrich Heine once said: "Wherever books are burned, human beings are destined to be burned too."
Canada's collective written and photographic history is being gutted---Library and Archives Canada; and the Agriculture Canada, Environment Canada, Transport Canada, Citizenship and Immigration, Industry Canada, National Defence, Public Works and Government Services, National Capital Commission and Public Service Commission of Canada libraries have been told to decentralize, photograph, and get rid of their collections.
The National Capital Commission is the custodian of Canada's official residences, including 24 Sussex Drive, Rideau Hall and 7 Rideau Gate. I know for a fact that Library and Archives Canada has hundreds of historic photographs of NCC buildings in Ottawa.

 Pierre Berton used LAC material for his books about the history of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and the Dionne quintuplets.
According to "Canadian Geographic Contributors-Charlotte Gray" - "Charlotte Gray has been exploring Canada in the 1800s since she began writing biographies of 19th century women eight years ago...She spends months researching her books in the National Archives of Canada..."
The house where Sir John A. Macdonald lived for so many years in Ottawa is owned by the British Consulate. The only way Canadians can see Earnscliffe is through photographs at the National Archives, and in books.
It is considered an act of war, to destroy a country's historic buildings, iconic statues and museums.
The destruction of the greatest library in the world, the Library of Alexandria in Egypt, is still lamented by historians. According to the article "The Burning of the Library of Alexandra" by Preston Chesser:   "The real tragedy of course is not the uncertainty of knowing who to blame for the Library's destruction but that so much ancient history, literature and learning was lost forever."
Between 1996 and 2001, Conrad Black's company Hollinger paid over $9.6 million dollars for American president Roosevelt's  documents.
Every year, thousands of tourists from Japan make a pilgrimage to Lucy Maud Montgomery's farmhouse in Cavendish, Prince Edward Island. I am sure that "Anne of Green Gables" memorabilia could fetch a high price at Sotheby's auction houses.
Is the government of Canada "lowering the deficit" by selling archival material to collectors and auction houses?


Photographs of the Ballroom at Rideau Hall,  and the Royal Suite at Government House in Ottawa:
 

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