In my condemnation of cuts to Library and Archives Canada and the elimination of the National Archival Development Program (NADP) (Brandon Sun, May 30), I stated that the cuts would result in the closure of the Association for Manitoba Archives (AMA).
I would like to correct that statement: the AMA will continue with the support of its institutional members, the provincial Department of Heritage, Culture and Tourism and individuals working in the heritage field in Manitoba. Though it will continue to exist, the AMA has been harmed seriously by the elimination of the NADP. In short, the services offered to rural Manitoba in particular will be greatly reduced.
What services? National Archival Development Funds channelled through the association have provided advisory services, supported educational opportunities, fostered a Manitoba archival network and funded projects for member institutions.
Of particular note for Manitoba, the AMA has used NADP funds for a number of co-operative projects that have benefited the entire Manitoba archival community. These projects have included preservation work through institutional preservation assessments; a co-operative humidification project; and the creation of the Images Exhibit by archives in rural and northern Manitoba, which has been touring the province since opening in 2011.
Programs such as these will be very difficult to sustain under the conditions imposed by the elimination of the NADP. Two programs will be immediately suspended: first, a collaborative project Media at Risk, designed to preserve Manitoba’s archival sound and moving images; second, the continued development of the Manitoba Archival Information Network, a provincewide online catalogue facilitating worldwide access to Manitoba’s documentary heritage.
The NADP — the only federal funding program for archives in Canada — has been a collaborative program with archives at the grassroots: NADP funds are always matched with local funds so that on average, Ottawa got a 150 per cent return in direct and in-kind contributions for every federal dollar spent on project development.
For the past 26 years, this program has contributed to the basic work of Canadian heritage organizations from coast to coast to coast.
Now suddenly, without consultation, without notice, the program ($1.7 million) has been abolished. It is not a decision in the public interest: it is a decision that seriously compromises the ability of many institutions to preserve and make available to Canadians the nation’s archival collections.
The Brandon Sun is to be commended for its coverage of this important issue and for its continued support of the vital work of archives.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 20, 2012