[with apologies for cross-posting]
On December 10, 2001 the Honourable Paul Martin, Minister of Finance, announced the Federal Government's 2001 Budget entitled Securing Progress in an Uncertain World. Given the increased focus on security issues, we are pleased to inform CLA members that the Minister did not overlook the importance of libraries and education to the future of our economy.
CLA had lobbied for increased funding for broadband initiatives prior to the Budget announcement and the commitments in the budget for broadband are of particular interest to Wendy Newman, CLA's Vice-President and representative on the National Broadband Taskforce, who was also extremely active in pushing for increased funding.
The Government announced the extension until 2004 of the highly successful SchoolNet (LibraryNet) and Community Access Programs at an annual cost of $40 million. The Government is also setting aside $35 million a year for three years to support the expansion of broadband access to the Internet.
$600 million over the next four years will be provided to implement the Government's On-Line strategy and resources will be made available to modernize the information management and information technology infrastructure of a number of government departments and agencies.
In addition, the Federal Government is providing $110 million of funding to build CANet 4 (which includes SchoolNet, the Community Access Program, Smart Communities and Geo Connections), a new generation of Internet broadband network architecture that will link all research-intensive institutions, including many community colleges.
The Budget also recognized the priority identified by universities and provincial governments of the need for further funding targeted to the indirect costs of research. Budget 2001 therefore provides a one-time investment of $200 million through granting councils to Canada's universities to help alleviate financial pressures that are associated with federally supported research activity at universities and research hospitals. This initiative will help support world-class research facilities and respond to the needs of Canada's smaller universities in their effort to become more research oriented. This initiative was strongly supported by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) in their pre-budget lobby campaign.
CLA's pre-budget brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance argued that libraries are the best way that society has of ensuring that Canadians have access to the Internet. Our statement that "while provinces and municipalities will remain the main source of support for libraries, the federal government has an overall economic responsibility for investing in the nation's information infrastructure" was of particular interest to the Committee and was highlighted on page 109 of its report, Securing our Future (November 2001).
For more information on CLA's brief to the Finance Committee or its recently launched Campaign for Canada's Libraries visit the CLA website (www.cla.ca) or contact Vicki Whitmell, CLA Executive Director at 613-232-9625 ext 306 or email [log in to unmask]
Canadian Library Association
328 Frank Street
CANADA K2P 0X8
(613) 232-9625; Fax: (613) 563-9895