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Peaceful Transfers of Democratic Power and the Power of Information

13 Jan 2021 11:59 AM | National Office (Administrator)

We express dismay about the disruption to the customary peaceful transfer of power in the United States, our neighbour and home to CALL/ACBD friends and members, including me. We wish them strength and safety during this time.

Our disquiet arises from the observation that the violent actions and events, so shocking and counter to democratic norms, are, at least in part, attributable to widespread dissemination of and reliance on false, misleading, or inaccurate information or disinformation. As leaders of a professional community of legal informational specialists, we are disheartened to observe the extent to which false information about constitutional processes, legal facts, and proposed evidence is shared and then relied on without due attention to accuracy. 

 We work in legal information. The gathering, curation, and communication of reliable and authoritative legal information are at the heart of our missions. We help our communities to access, understand, and evaluate such information so that they may make informed choices consistent with their beliefs and goals. The enormous scale of the failure we observed causes us concern about the state of our information environment. We observed failings in the communication of publicly available authoritative primary and secondary sources, about legal processes, and about factual information or prospective evidence. We observed failings in the exercise of legal information literacy skills and commitment to reliance on accurate information. 

Canada does not stand inoculated to such failings. Although constitutions, processes, and legal information environments differ, disinformation and inadvertent sharing of inaccurate information abound. We, as legal information workers, must meet the rising challenge of finding effective ways to do what we do: gather, curate, and communicate authoritative primary and secondary legal information and educate our communities to receive and evaluate the same with skill and vigour.

Kim Nayyer

Shaunna Mireau, President
Ann Marie Melvie, Past President
Sooin Kim, Secretary
Eve Leung, Treasurer
Kristin Hodgins, Member At Large
Alan Kilpatrick, Member At Large

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