“Rediscovering the Past: The Canadian Government’s Obsession with Crushing the Red Menace”
In 1974, while researching historical documents, I came across a surprising cache from 1932 relating to about 900 alleged Communists in north Winnipeg, compiled by the RCMP. Upon reading the document, I was astounded to find that many of my neighbors’ names from the 1950s were mentioned, some of whom were sweet grandparents living quietly. The level of information revealed about these people, including wild accusations against them, was shocking.
Focusing on the Left
The document was a small part of the RCMP’s extensive surveillance and infiltration of the Communist Party of Canada and sympathetic organizations. Though there were more members in Nazi and fascist organizations and the Ku Klux Klan, the government and the RCMP paid closer attention to the left.
The Anti-Socialist Campaign
The anti-socialist campaign that began after the Russian Revolution saw a severe crackdown on socialist groups, censorship of enemy alien languages, and the imprisonment of alien individuals.
Labour Revolts and Suppression
Labour revolts in the 20th century faced heavy resistance from the government, with leaders being jailed, organizations banned, and an emphasis on blaming Communist subversion while ignoring the pain and hardships endured by working people.
Prejudiced Immigration Policies
The postwar immigration policies were heavily implied to be racist and anti-communist, with barriers to certain ethnic groups and individuals fleeing from Nazi regimes such as Jews. The rise of the Nazis was even greeted blandly rather than with active resistance from Canadian authorities and the media.
The history of Canadian government’s obsession with suppressing the left and Communism provides insight into the controversial decisions made by the authorities and the policies implemented that shaped the nation’s trajectory. It begs the question of whether the actions taken were morally justifiable and highlights the need to learn from the past to prevent future injustices.