PROFUNC: A form of deviance?

Posted: April 10, 2013 by shannonwatersafety in Uncategorized

PROFUNC, which stands for PROminent FUNCtionaries of the communist party, was formed in 1950, and was used by the Government of Canada to identify and intern Canadian communists. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Stuart Taylor Wood had a list of 16,000 suspected communists, and another 50,000 communist sympathizers. He wanted them to be observed and interned in any kind of national security state of emergency, such as World War 3.

PROFUNC allowed the police to be able to detain and observe people simply based on their political views. Every person on the list had a separate arrest document that included their age, descriptions, photographs, and vehicle information. It was even recorded when they left their homes, and when they returned to it. This breaches our freedom in Canada, since police are not simply allowed to detain anyone without suspicion. PROFUNC started to fade out in 1983.

Nowadays, it was believed that a new form of PROFUNC was re-emerging. The Government of Canada was trying to pass Bill 30, which stated that government officials were allowed to look into anyone’s emails, and in their internet history, without a warrant. This violates the same rights as PROFUNC did, not only watching someone because of a “hunch”, but being able to act upon it, with no repercussions if their “hunch” was wrong. Bill 30 was recently rejected, thanks to privacy and civil rights groups, however, the government is still trying to find ways to be able to look into people’s computers and internet information without needing a warrant.

In the documentary by the Fifth Estate titled “Enemies of the State”, it is very clear that even though there was police deviance, it was not viewed this way at all, and not everyone was aware of what was going on. Police did not feel like they were doing anything wrong by watching the communists, because they felt like it was for the good of the country, especially in the event of a state of emergency.

The Fifth Estate. (2010, October 15). Enemies of the State. CBCnews. Retrieved from

  1. Mike Larsen says:

    Interesting post. Question: If political policing that violates democratic principles is authorized by the federal government and backed by law and policy, can it still be conceptualized as *police deviance*, or is the concept too narrow to encapsulate the practice?

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