At work, I was asked to do some advocacy work on behalf of the Saskatchewan Library Trustees’ Association in advance of the upcoming provincial election which happens on November 7.
(Okay, I didn’t get to have any actual input myself – I was mainly doing the grunt work of setting up a mailing list and coordinating the distribution of a press release and related materials to various media outlets, the province’s public library systems and the 48 local library boards within our own region.)
But coming out of that, my boss also assigned me a mini-project to find out what I could about where the three major political parties stood in relation to public libraries.
The results? One said “we support you”, one said “please wait while we transfer your call” and one said they were going to “work libraries” (Huh? “Work with libraries?” “Work over libraries?”) Anyhow, let’s hope that weird phrasology was just an honest e-mail error and not some crazy Freudian slip! Otherwise, assuming current polling holds and we have a Saskatchewan Party victory, it might make for a very tough next four years for libraries in Saskatchewan!
Anyhow, it’s unfortunate but probably not a big surprise that libraries aren’t on the political radar in a campaign where hot button issues are universal drug plans, crumbling highways, youth retention, privatization of the Crown corporations, a massive nursing shortage and so on.
Major Political Party’s Positions Regarding Public Libraries
For The 2007 Saskatchewan Provincial Election
On Friday October 19, 2007, I sent an e-mail to the main contact e-mail address listed on the web sites of each of the three major political parties running in the 2007 Saskatchewan provincial election. My e-mail asked what their party’s position was in regards to support and funding for libraries and if further information was available on their web site or elsewhere. I did not identify myself as someone connected with libraries.
As of Friday November 3, 2007, I have received replies from all three parties. The first, which came on Monday October 22, came from the Liberal Party of Saskatchewan.
We certainly plan to continue to support our libraries. We also strongly support literacy campaigns.
Have a good day,
The second reply arrived on Monday October
29, 2007 from the New Democratic Party.
We would be happy to get one of our local candidates to answer this question. Do you know what constituency you live in? We will also need a mailing address or phone number so that the candidate can contact you.
The final reply came on Friday November 2, 2007 from the Saskatchewan Party. It was as follows:
November 2, 2007
Mr. Jason Hammond
Dear Mr. Hammond:
On behalf of Saskatchewan Party Leader Brad Wall, thank you for your recent e-mail. Mr. Wall is busy campaigning and has asked me to respond to you on his behalf.
Public libraries in Saskatchewan provide a vital service for many people in our communities. We believe it is very important to support Saskatchewan’s public libraries.
If we are fortunate enough to form government on November 7th, we will continue to fund public libraries in Saskatchewan. A Saskatchewan Party government will work the libraries to ensure they have sufficient resources.
Once again, thank you for your e-mail and interest in the Saskatchewan Party.
I also visited each party’s web site to see if libraries were mentioned anywhere on the site or in their respective platform documents. The sites I visited were: Liberals (http://www.saskliberal.ca/), NDP (http://www.saskndp.com/), and Saskatchewan Party (http://www.saskparty.com/).
The only mention of libraries I could find on any of the party web sites was on the provincial Liberal’s site. The reference wasn’t in regards to policy but was contained in the biography of their candidate in the Weyburn-Big Muddy constituency who serves as a local library board chair in Coronach and on the Palliser Regional Library Executive.
Southeast Regional Library