OTTAWA — The head of Canada’s National Library and Archives resigned Wednesday, surprising librarians and archivists who say they hope his replacement as the country’s top librarian is a better advocate for the trade.
Daniel Caron landed in hot water with Heritage Minister James Moore this week after it was revealed that he spent nearly $5,000 of taxpayer funds on private Spanish lessons last year.
On Wednesday, the NDP released a document outlining what Heritage critic Pierre Nantel called Caron’s “titanic expenses” over the past two years.
The publicly available figures show Caron expensed $87,000 in each of 2011 and 2012, dwarfing Moore’s own expenses, which averaged $46,000 in each of those years.
Expenses ranged from business meals, vaguely described as “lunch with a consultant” at expensive Ottawa restaurants such as the Rideau Club (31 visits costing more than $2,000), to stays at pricey hotels in Quebec City and Puerto Rico, and travel costs to Toronto, Europe and Australia.
While he was not available to comment on the numbers released Wednesday, Caron had earlier defended his efforts to learn Spanish on the public tab, saying he was trying to reach a basic competence in the language for attending international conferences, including the Forum of National Archivists in Toledo, Spain, and the International Federation of Library Associations in Puerto Rico.