Last weekend I attended the Tiger Boys Fly-In at the Guelph airport. Named for the famed “Tiger Moth” biplane, the Tiger Boys are a flying club; pilots and warplane enthusiasts who maintain, repair and fly warplanes which are relics of Canadian history. They hold an annual “Fly Day,” where ordinary people can come out and see these machines and even pay to go up for a ride in them. What an amazing way to bring our history to life.
Historical societies across Canada toil to preserve our heritage because it is important to Canadians. Yet while ordinary people like these care enough to preserve our history, I was stunned to learn that our government can’t seem to manage to spend less than ten million dollars to preserve our documentary heritage.
Ten million dollars is more than we can easily manage at the local level, so it may sound like a lot. Until you look at other budget entries. How much does the Federal government spend on, say, advertising? Or maybe a submarine. Or a helicopters. How much does every day our troops are at war cost us? How much did they spend on the Toronto G20?
How much did they spend ~ of our tax money ~ to quietly bail out the banks and the bankers? Hmmm.
And when all is said and done, who will have the money to be able to afford these priceless Canadian historical artifacts. Artifacts that rightly belong to all Canadians?
Photographs and heirlooms, some bought by Canadian governments with our tax dollars, and some donated, like the world famous Yousuf Karsh photographic legacy.
This is our heritage.
This is not only incredibly short sighted, but much worse, this is a crime against our children. And our children’s children. Canada’s shared history is our national photo album.
The story of where we’ve come from, and why we are where we are. I am really lucky that my family has some of our own heritage photographs, but not every family does. I’ve begun creating my own little heritage project, The Russwurm Family website.
The contents of Library and Archives Canada belong to all Canadians, past and future.
I don’t believe that any government should have the right to sell it off. Yet this is the kind of tragedy that can happen with an antiquated electoral system like ours. Still, there isn’t time to change that in time, this must be stopped,
Because these artifacts that our government plans to sell off to private collectors — our heritage — are unique.
These artifacts are irreplacable.
There is a petition:
Or you can write a letter on the Save Library and Archives Canada website, where you can use their system to write a letter to the man who has been entrusted with preserving Canada’s heritage, Heritage Minister James Moore.
Of course, you can write your own letter:
The Hon. James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
House of Commons
K1A 0A6 James Moore:
You can ~ and should ~ also write a letter to your own MP [Find your MP.] Under our “winner-take-all” electoral system, our MP is supposed to represent our interests in Ottawa. Whether she/he is a back bencher or Minister. Whether or not we voted for him/her.