Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deconstructing the LAC Code of Conduct

Thanks to those of you who have signed the Don't Muzzle Librarians and Archivists petition on Please take a moment to look at this petition if you have not yet had a chance to.

It is discerning that the LAC Code of Conduct was created by Dr. Daniel Caron, the Librarian and Archivist of Canada. It is notable that while Dr. Caron holds this title, he is not qualified or educated as a librarian or archivist as he does not hold an MLIS degree. The LAC has seen sweeping changes under Dr. Caron's direction which will have a detrimental impact on all Canadians.

It is important to consider the implications these changes may have down the road with respect to our nation, national bibliography, potential censorship, and control in terms of the collective identity and memory of Canada. For example, a legal deposit of all expressions are now being selected according to a narrow view of our history. The Toronto Star has an informative article on this issue. Further information on the state of Library and Archives Canada is available from the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) at

The LAC Code of Conduct has a section outlining the political activities which staff members may engage in:
“4.4.3 Political activities
Public servants have the right to engage in political activity as long as it does not impair and is not perceived to impair their ability to perform their duties in a politically impartial manner. LAC employees who are considering involvement in political activity should seek the advice of the LAC Delegated Political Activities Representative before taking any action. The Delegated Political Activities Representative will assess the file and liaise with the Public Service Commission of Canada (PSC) as necessary to ensure that the employee’s request is processed for the PSC’s approval. PSC approval is required before an employee undertakes any activity relating to political activity and/or seeks nomination for or is a candidate in a federal, provincial, territorial or municipal election.” (p. 17)
Does this mean LAC staff should give up any hopes of being a Liberal, PQ, or NDP candidate as this nomination is directly in conflict of values and ethics? This seems unconstitutional and highly imposing on our freedom  of thoughts and political affiliations. Please share any thoughts in the comments section of this post.

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