Andrew Cash
MP for Davenport

Andrew asks about a paywall at Library and Archives Canada – June 11, 2013

Mr. Andrew Cash (Davenport, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the fact is the government is taking public property and it is selling it back to Canadians at a profit. These documents belong to the people of Canada. They have already paid for them. But if they want to have access to them, they are going to have to pay again.

The digitization plan at Library and Archives Canada is already under free-fall due to the minister’s reckless cuts. They are his mistakes. Does he really think it is fair to make Canadians pay for them, twice?

Hon. James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, CPC): Mr. Speaker, my colleague again does not quite have it right like his colleague opposite. Library and Archives Canada receives over $100 million every year from taxpayers. It is a lot of money and the digitization that it has been doing is the modernization that libraries and archives across the country and in comparable countries are doing, because Canadians want to have access to this, not just those who have the opportunity to come here and physically access the archives, but to have it available digitally online in the format that Canadians choose to have it available in.

When the new permanent president is installed probably this fall, he or she will look at the digitization aspect and will look at these questions and make sure that Library and Archives is modernized in a way that will benefit all Canadians.