17 June 2019
The Canadian Historical Association/ Société historique du Canada deplores the destruction of the historical record in all its forms, but is particularly outraged to learn of the targeted disposal of the Cold War dossier compiled on Pierre Trudeau. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s determination that the file did not meet the legal threshold for retention either with CSIS or the Library and Archives Canada is unsatisfactory. When a security file on a Prime Minister of Canada can be deemed to have no enduring value, it calls into question the extent of the documentary purge in this and other departments.
Eliminating the record of the past does not change the past. It does, however, point to ongoing efforts to supress information. Not only do historians of Canada deserve better records management from government offices, but the public deserves institutions that are not actively engaged in concealing and ultimately destroying information.
We urge an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the decision to destroy the dossier, in an effort to prevent further purges. In the words of one of our members, this “crime against Canadian history” should never be repeated.
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