Saturday, 29 June 2013

Why I'm not signing the e-petitions

There are a couple of Canadian genealogical-relevant web petitions open, neither of which I shall be signing. Here's why.

In Canada there is no such thing as an e-petition with any official standing. To be acceptable for presentation in the House of Commons petitions have to adhere to a strict paper format and bear original signatures. Even so they have little impact.
An e-petition is equivalent to an email with multiple supporters; a postcard with printed text sent individually would have more weight. If you want to show meaningful support send your own email or letter using your own words.
Now to the specific e-petitions.
One is supporting the early release of the 1921 census. I sent an email to Minister James Moore requesting that some weeks ago.  I suspect the e-petition is redundant at this stage anyway; likely the decision to release has already been made thanks to the flood of emails, letters and editorials received and awaits only an appropriate media opportunity in the coming few days, not weeks.
The second e-petition at http://action.sumofus.org/a/library-canada/?sub=fb asks the government to "come clean about the secret deal between Canadiana.org and Library and Archives Canada, and do not privatize publically owned books and records." While I find any "secret deal" offensive the rationale is destructive to broad access.  This is a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Canadian.org is a not-for-profit organization seeking to facilitate public access to Canadian historical records. I've seen no informed opinion stating that anything will be taken away from the public, rather Canadian.org will provide enhanced access at a cost to those who want it. The limited experience at LAC, and extensive experience of other peer organizations internationally, proves the success of such arrangements. I will not be signing and hope the arrangement, or something similar, goes through. 

2 comments:

MarieRoseAmanda said...

It is now July 24 and so far no release, no announcement just silence from the Harper government. All of our emails,letters and phone calls are being ignored. The 1940 US census was available to researchers within days of its release.

April Goulet said...

It's now July 30th....I wrote an email to my MP Ed Fast 2 weeks ago...have had no response. Why do we have to go through this every 10 years? Bureaucratic nonsense....