PROFUNC: Severe Deviance

Posted: April 11, 2013 by JatinderThandi in Uncategorized

At a secret meeting amongst senior officials of the RCMP and the federal government in August of 1950, a plan called “PROFUNC” was permitted.  PROFUNC is an abbreviation for “Prominent Functionaries of Groups with Communist Affiliation.”  It was created so the Canadian government could detain anyone with communist links or perceived to be a threat to Canadian nation security.   It didn’t take much to get on this list; being a member of a communist party or organization, being related to a member, or even being was enough to get someone’s name on there.  There were apparently more than 66,000 Canadians on the list.  After watching the fifth estate documentary, called ‘enemies of the state’ I was shocked a plan like this was even allowed and continued to operate for so many years.  Surprisingly, the PROFUNC operation remained in place until the 1980s.   It’s hard to picture today that a Canadian government would agree to a plan to arrest thousands of law-abiding Canadians and lock them away just because they were alleged to be a threat to Canadian democracy.  Under the plan, targets on the list could be held forever, subject to severe discipline, and shot if they tried to escape custody. The arrests made beneath PROFUNC were specified a code name, C-215.  Another surprising fact is that not only the actual suspects were targets of the operation.  Arrests made under C-215 not only involved the suspect but also his/her family and all other people that were close to the suspect.

It is obvious that the originators of the Profunc operation were using their powers to their advantage.  In doing so, they felt they were able to misuse their powers as influential figures.    The G20 Summit could be compared to this because similarly the police officers also mistreated their powers.  Like PROFUNC, the officers at the Summit had no respect for the civil rights of the people arrested.  Protesters and bystanders were searched, intimidated, beaten, arrested, and detained just because they exercised their democratic right to protest. Hundreds were arrested and detained for days; many were beaten, abused, or sexually harassed by the police.  With PROFUNC, everybody who expressed their opinion in contradiction of the Canadian government was put on the list.  The plan led to a mass number of arrests of citizens that had not committed a single crime.  For instance, Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen once spoke to an individual assumed of being part of a terrorist attack; for this he was not allowed into Canada and was deported where he was tortured for over a year.

PROFUNC simply represents police deviance in that it violated the constitutional rights of thousands of Canadians, similarly how the corrupt police officers do as well.  The PROFUNC operation abused their power and took advantage of law-abiding Canadians, just like how deviant police officers continue to do so today.  I’ve always thought of Canada as a country that would not have allowed a plan like this to operate.  The PROFUNC idea may have been considered a good idea by the creators but I think it was way too extreme the way it was set up.  Any time innocent citizens are being arrested and tortured is wrong and a plan like PROFUNC should not be permitted to operate.

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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