I am making publicly available the primary source documents that I used not only to construct my Canadian Historical Review article, but that also led to the media interest in December 2016. It is a sizeable download at roughly 46 MB but you should find it interesting reading. There is clearly more to this story that I’m working on piecing together but that will take time and as a result I’ve no idea what I can make public again for some time.
I’m pleased to say I’ve had more positive conversations with government officials about releasing material. I still have some wait times that I think can be reduced but I’m hopeful. I think the most positive thing about this release was that a) the sky didn’t fall, there was no security risk at all in releasing this document b) people took interest in this history. People were genuinely interested in reading about this material and history and wanted to know more. I think it actually has had the opposite effect of perhaps what some may have thought. I’m often amazed at how many students have asked me about joining the intelligence world (can’t help with that sorry) even after I’ve told them as complete a history as I know, successes and failures, wins but also scandals and abuses. This only became a media story when the Privy Council made it one by denying access. It was the excessive secrecy that made the story. As an example, few people outside of those closely following this (mainly in academia) recall the story about 3486 getting released, even though that was hugely important. Many more people recall government wiretapping and “secret archives” out of these stories. To be fair the office was simply following protocol. It’s policy that is the problem not people. But if the government is concerned about access and past scandals, the takeaway should be transparency and openness mitigates it. It also tells people “This is how it was, it’s not the same anymore.” Be open and honest with your history.
Despite these positives the recent bill C-58 proposed by the government is not a good sign for Access to Information reform. It places more burden on the requester who often doesn’t have a complete picture of what’s available and also reintroduces costs. It almost reads as a bill designed to curtail access. If this was the legislative result from all this media, this is not a positive sign. All my requests could very easily have been dismissed under this new legislation as frivolous, which is now possible with this bill, and as the public saw, they were far from frivolous. Hopefully the government directs the legislation more toward increasing access rather than curtailing it. There is plenty of time to do this.
Here is the link to my academic article on this: CHR Article
And here is the link to the primary source material
Scroll to the bottom of the pdf for the start of the primary source file. Happy reading.