Fisheries Minister Gail Shea dismisses complaints about closure of DFO libraries

Mike Carson
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Liberal calls decision 'complete mess and disgrace'

Egmont MP Gail Shea in her Charlottetown office

Federal Fisheries Minister Gail Shea has dismissed complaints voiced by Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay, the Liberal party critic for Fisheries and Oceans.

MacAulay is calling the Conservative government’s closure of seven of nine DFO fisheries libraries a complete mess and a disgrace.

According to MacAulay, a recent written response to an order paper question has confirmed that DFO has no ability to track which materials have been digitized, has no idea what has happened to thousands of records kept in the libraries, and has spent tens of thousands of dollars closing the libraries down.

“This whole process has obviously been a chaotic mess,” said MacAulay.

“Previously, the minister had stated that the process was carried out in an organized manner with records being digitized if they couldn’t find a home, and books and journals offered to staff, other libraries, and the public.

“These statements simply don’t wash. They contradict what staff has said, and the written response I’ve received from the minister has shown that many records are unaccounted for and there is no way to know what records.”

Shea said the nine DFO fisheries libraries were being underutilized and the government has developed a more efficient and less costly way to provide information to those who need it.

“These libraries had an average of five to 12 walk-ins a year,” Shea said. “With technology, people are doing things online. So, collections are being digitized and that’s how people are getting the information they need to know.”

Shea said the limited use did not warrant the cost of operation.

“It does not make any kind of sense to operate an operation of that size for 12 walk-ins a year. So, we can provide the same service faster and more economically through digitization and that’s what we’re doing. We have consulted with Library and Archives Canada so this was all done properly.”

Shea said no documents have been lost or discarded.

Organizations: Library and Archives Canada

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Recent comments

  • Peter G. Wells
    February 12, 2014 - 15:23

    The Minister is simply wrong or misled in her assessment of the use and value of the DFO Marine and aquatic science libraries. They were set up to largely serve the researchers, students, academics and consultants working on regional resources and problems, not the general user or public. As well, DFO's own data suggest a loss of one third of the collections, much of the content not digitized.. The overall result - the unnecessary reduction of an invaluable information resource to researchers, consultants and scholars, and a blow to Canada's formerly esteemed place in the marine science world. An unnecessary action in every way, one we will long regret as Canadians.

  • southsider
    February 10, 2014 - 22:11

    well at least she looked out for some hook an kill fishers…there will be tuna blood spilling everywhere this year and maybe some fisherman with a broken ego...

  • Stew
    February 10, 2014 - 20:56

    Sorry naysayers, but in the digital age this is what the future looks like for technical data, archival material and research journals. All online. You do not need infrastructure and oodles of staff to update and maintain it.

  • Kevin Kelly
    February 10, 2014 - 18:57

    Simply put, "Gail Shea represents the worst representative in Ottawa that the Island could have". Self serving at the expense of everyone on the Island. She should show some small degree of credibility and resign immediately. Trouble is she will not run again so we could at least have the satisfaction of giving her the boot. Harper will provide a cushy landing for her deeds, to bad we all pay for it.

    • don
      February 11, 2014 - 05:37

      right now we have "NO" representative in Ottawa. the ones that are in there now are in for themselves and there friends. they should be paying us for being there.

  • Adolphus
    February 10, 2014 - 18:29

    Catherine Callbeck retires as senator this year - guess who gets appointed!

  • wade
    February 10, 2014 - 12:08

    Once again She just keep defends what ever Harper dose and to hell with the island

  • BUDDY
    February 10, 2014 - 11:43

    I can see Gail's lips moving but all I can hear is Stevie's Voice.

  • AMAZED
    February 10, 2014 - 11:31

    The knobs need more money for Canada Action Ads so they cut and slash everything else . Disgusting .

  • Jon
    February 10, 2014 - 11:11

    I bet she'd be singing a different tune if one of the libraries were in Tignish!

  • Surprise
    February 10, 2014 - 10:51

    Lawrence : Listen to Gail , she is right although saving taxpayers money goes against your Liberal nature . You need to study money management 101 . It does not make any kind of sense to operate an operation of that size for 12 walk-ins a year

    • Scott Brown
      February 10, 2014 - 12:20

      It comes as no "Surprise", that you confused again. Those DFO library centers are for researchers, not idiots like you wandering off the street looking for directions to Cavendish.