McDonald Commission and RCMP Security Service (overview)

Posted: December 4, 2011 by Sexycop in The McDonald Commission, Uncategorized

The link between these events and the Cold War events (spying on ‘subversives’, PROFUNC) is the RCMP Security Service. It had a history of bending and breaking the law, violating rights, and essentially waging clandestine wars against ‘enemies’ the October Crisis refers to the FLQ kidnappings and Trudeau’s response to them (the War Measures Act). The RCMP Security Service carried out a lengthy campaign against separatist groups. This campaign involved routine acts of noble cause corruption, which came to be known as dirty tricks. It was this activity – and the scandals that resulted from its revelation – that resulted in the calling of the McDonald Commission. The Commission found that the RCMP should not be responsible for security intelligence and policing, and recommended the creation of civilian intelligence service. The government created the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)

When we think about an example police deviance and accountability, there is nothing like the RCMP and Security and McDonald Commission example. During that time the intelligence branch of the RCMP, known for the time as the security service, had a history of covert operations of political nature and questionable legality. What happened in 1970? The October crisis happened. The October crisis was a campaign of ‘dirty tricks’ targeting Quebec Sovereignstist groups. Many allegations for crimes committed by the RCMP security service included electronic surveillance, unauthorized mail opening, and breaking and entering. But before all that had begun The Cold War was a long period of conflict between rival superpowers – the US and the USSR – and their allies and proxies. Canada was a key ally to the US in this conflict. The ideological and political Cold War between the capitalist west and communist Soviet Union played out globally. On the Canadian front, the federal government had been actively investigating and seeking to disrupt suspected communist and socialist activity since around the time of the Winnipeg General Strike. The Cold War just intensified things and put them in the context of a global conflict. Internally, this was not a battle between rival factions of equal strength. The RCMP had the resources and backing of a state. The targets of the RCMP, on the other hand, were rarely linked to anything resembling an ‘international communist conspiracy’. While there were definitely spies, many of the targets of the RCMP were merely ideological opponents, sympathizer etc.  Even though there were enough grounds for the RCMP to commit deviant acts towards suspected communist, it wasn’t as bad after Igor Gouzenko revealed confidential information to the Canadian government. He told this information so he could be protected and become a Canadian citizen himself.

Communists were first seen as traitors and less likely as spies. The Kellock–Taschereau Commission or the Gouzenko Affair inspected the findings related to the circumstances surrounding the communication by public officials and other people in positions of trust of secret and confidential information to agents of a Foreign Power, more popularly known as the Kellock–Taschereau Commissioner of the Gouzenko Affair. The Royal Commission appointed by Rt.Hon. Mackenzie King on February 5, 1946 to investigate the allegations set forward by Igor Gouzenko that a spy ring of Canadian Communist was handing over secret and top secret information to the Soviet Union (Link). The security measures that were taken after the Gouzenko affair of 1945-6 for the approval for national insecurity was to put widespread surveillance and penetration of the Communists by police, including security screening of public employees, immigrants, and applicants for citizenship.

According to the article ‘The Antagonists: Cops versus Commies’ “Gouzenko affair firmly fixed the image of Communism as an arm of Moscow in the Canadian mind”, the loyalty to Moscow meant that the Communists would do whatever to achieve their dreams of a better world, more cooperative, and more egalitarian. “The state maintained that the Communists were mere tools of Moscow, and the implication, by extension, was that all forms of the left-wing ideology were tainted with disloyalty.”  The numbers of members estimated by the RCMP was 18,000 to 21,000 and were viewed as ‘larger than life supermen who could wreak untold havoc if unchecked’. Before the electronic era data processing, there were 21,000 individuals on file and 2,300 organization (mostly trade unions) recorded by the RCMP. In 1954, 17000 files on individuals were dropped and in 1958 several thousands were considered useless. Those meant that the RCMP Security Service knowingly or unknowingly invaded people’s privacy and harass them for mere suspicion all in the name for ‘national security’.

With the Gouzenko affair occurring and the threat of the Korean War becoming a precursor for the ‘third World War’ the government of Canada decided they needed to take action and create a black list or known as PROFUNC, which stands for PROminent FUNCtionaries of the communist party. This was a top secret plan to identify and intern Canadian communists and crypto-communists during the peak of the Cold War. In the 1950’s RCMP Commissioner Stuart Taylor Wood had a PROFUNC list of approximately 16,000 suspected communists and 50,000 communists’ sympathizers to be observed and possibly be interned, in a national security state of emergency such as The third World crisis with the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (USSR) and Red China. The RCMP where given direct order to spy on these individuals that seemed a threat to the nation, people such as Tommy Douglas. Douglas was a Prairie preacher who served as premier of Saskatchewan and was the first federal leader of the NDP. The government actively maintained that full disclosure could give away secrets of the spy trade and jeopardize the country’s ability to detect, prevent or suppress “subversive or hostile activities” — even though the intelligence on Douglas was gathered as long as 70 years ago.

There was also a separate document related to the PROFUNC, known as the C-215. This document contained personal information such as age, descriptions, and photographs etc. This list basically gave the police the power to harass individuals that were suspected to be communists or sympathizers. The behaviour that the RCMP projected to these individual was nothing more than deviant because of the use of inappropriate actions used against them. (Link)  The C-215 was also an arrest order to be made out on a specific day. It is suspected that the PROFUNC blacklist was used to increase the number of people detained as Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) suspects during the 1970 October Crisis, in contravention of the presumption of innocence, many of whom had no affiliation with the FLQ.

As these events in history lead up to the McDonald Commission, it was found that the RCMP was not set out to face national security, therefore appointing it to the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).  As time went on the RCMP resumed their duties as a national police force, inquiring about cases that pose national threats alongside CSIS. The McDonald Commission revealed that the FLQ was completely infiltrated by police agents.  The Commission’s report, released in 1981 with the exception of one volume which has never been released for “national security” reasons, found police agents were responsible for planning and sometimes carrying out terrorist activities within the FLQ. This is a sheer example of police corruption and police deviance that was going on by the police members. Even though RCMP Commissioner William Higgitt and former Security Service Director General John Starnes testified that they knew members occasionally broke laws in performance of duties. RCMP officers also claimed that they had told their ministers of various activities, but Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and other ministers testified that they hadn’t received any information on any activities. (thecanadianencyclopedia, Link) Even though the RCMP has a history of deviant behaviour which they are accountable for, it seems as if the mistakes they made fade away as time goes on.

This poses the question, what should be done with the past issues of the RCMP that keep getting dissolved over time? Even though there are inquires held, such as the McDonald Commission, they never seem to have a permanent affect on the RCMP’s behavior. As of today we still see cases where the police investigate the police, and goes unresolved or faded over time. What can be dealt with this situation? well for one thing, there is the CSIS, where people can come to report there problems if they don’t trust the police or the police are the ones causing the problem. Even though when someone reports something to CSIS, most likely they will redirect it to the RCMP. So this is just a back and forth cycle, where the middle man is stuck in the middle. To change this ‘we’ must change the system of how things work itself. Deviant behavior, misconduct and corruption don’t happen because the police officer picks it up from outside the system, but rather in. The bad apple theory explains that there is one bad apple that rote the others, but from that orchard the apple got rotten and fell of from. This means that the orchard it self is need of changing its way of producing these apples. The system that puts these officers in training and protocols they follow, need to be looked over and re-examined.


  1. Mike Larsen says:

    “What can be dealt with this situation? well for one thing, there is the CSIS, where people can come to report there problems if they don’t trust the police or the police are the ones causing the problem. ”

    I don’t understand this. Could you clarify?

    CSIS is the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, a civilian intelligence agency that replaced the RCMP Security Service. CSIS does not receive or investigate complaints about RCMP activities. Do you mean the Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP (CPC)?

  2. Sexycop says:

    yes Mike, that is what I meant to say (thanks for correcting that).

    The Commission for Public Complaints against the RCMP (CPC) is for the public to file a complain against the RCMP for any deviant or miss use of power. But who handles the complains? the police it self! so the question becomes, is it just if we have the police handling their own matters ( police investigating the police)

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