Some of Canada's leading historians say the federal government is putting the country's historical record at risk by hoarding piles of documents inside secret archives that together would make a stack taller than the CN Tower.
Historian Dennis Molinaro of Trent University discovered ministries and agencies are stockpiling millions of decades-old papers rather than handing them over to Library and Archives Canada for safekeeping and public access.
He's launched a petition to try to convince the government to set them free.
The Canadian Historical Association (CHA) has joined his campaign and is calling on the government to mark Canada's 150th anniversary by overhauling the laws on access to government records.
"It's very disturbing that there are caches of documents about which we know very little. We don't even know the extent of this," said CHA president Joan Sangster, a colleague of Molinaro's at Trent in Peterborough, Ont., where she teaches labour and women's history.
As part of his research, Molinaro has been asking government departments to hand over information about Canada's Cold War domestic spy and surveillance programs run by the RCMP.