I was so impressed by our esteemed librarian response to the current C-51 legislation. As usual Jacqueline Van Dyk’s outlines the themes and documentation so articulately. Bravo Brian!
And Brian’s activism work has only stepped up in his retirement from full time library work. He continues to lead and inspire with his passion and intellect. His ambition for libraries as a pillar of democracy continues to inform his thinking. In responding to Bill C-51 (Anti-Terrorism Act 2015), Brian offers this current challenge to libraries:
Bill C-51 is a direct attack over many aspects of public and private life – including thought. Many civil libertarian & other agencies have already spoken out against Bill C-51, as have prominent public intellectuals, retired members of the judiciary, the legal profession and politicians. It is clear however that the vast majority of the public has not understood its significance.
Thousands of grass roots organizations oppose Bill C-51, in which environmental and indigenous organizations are clearly targeted. Those organizations must mobilize a public education campaign that highlights the threat to stifle public participation in the decisions that affect our lives. Libraries, as they did with Bill C-54, can play an instrumental role to enable this public mobilization.
Libraries are an important public institution, perhaps the only one whose sole mandate is to make the collective literature and information of society available freely to the public. But we are only one institution and it is only by forming coalitions with social justice organizations, writers, publishers, indigenous organizations, trade unions and environmental organizations that we will have the opportunity to defeat Bill C-51 or, more likely, mount legal and civil disobedience campaigns against its implementation.
This can only be successful by combining our resources in a massive public and political education campaign.
Libraries have a responsibility to be active participants in our communities, and provide opportunities for citizens to learn more about issues that affect our world. It is our role to ensure that all relevant knowledge, opinions, and perspectives are given an opportunity to be heard. And by building relationships with the community and collaborating with partners, as Brian suggests, we magnify our reach and open the discussions more broadly.(‘True Champion’)
In his classic, novel “1984,” George Orwell famously wrote that “Big Brother is Watching You”. But what would George Orwell think of the new terror laws being introduced to democracies like Canada? (‘Critics Warn’)