PROFUNC: Using fear to justify repression

Posted: April 11, 2013 by mateffi in Uncategorized

               The PROFUNC program began during 1950s after the Cold War. It was made in fear of the Cold War becoming a “Hot War”. There was a common fear of communism within the Canadian Government. PROFUNC would target groups of people who were believed to be soviet or communist sympathizers. Stuart Taylor Wood was involved in identifying and neutralizing suspected spies. He planned on spying and interning on 16,000 suspected communist and maybe 50,000 sympathizers. This list was made by the RCMP and it qualified thousands of Canadians for indefinite incarceration. The RCMP referred to this as M Day; this was when special teams in uniforms arrived to neighborhoods where they awaited a signal that would allow them to enter suspected homes and roundup believed communist threats. This would happen all across the country in the event of international hostility.

               I was very surprised that the PROFUNC program existed for as long as it did and that it had government approval. In a sense it does make sense that the Canadian government would approve a program like this because their main concern is protection of their political ideology but the problem with the PROFUNC program is it used fear to justify repression in the name of national security. I would consider this being a form of combative/strategic corruption. Punch describes this as the aggressive efforts to gain convictions and achieve results against suspected terrorist suspects through extra legal means. PROFUNC specifically targeted Canadians that supported political beliefs that were in fact legal to support. The police at this time were going way beyond their duties of power by being able to watch, monitor and snatch someone due to “suspicion” and/or their political belief. None of these “suspected” Canadians had any evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they were in fact a threat, instead it was all based on suspicion. The PROFUNC program stripped thousands of Canadians their basic rights to keep public order.

The end of the Fifth estate documentary makes the viewer question whether we live in a surveillance state. Although the PROFUNC program has ended it seems that spying on “suspicious” political activist continues till this day. There are many government agencies that spy on Canadian citizens who are involved in democratic activity such as CSIS , CBSA, and the RCMP. Program such as PROFUNC makes Canada appear as a surveillance state with a repressive government.

  1. Mike Larsen says:

    Interesting commentary. You point to the extralegal aspect of programs like PROFUNC. This is an aspect of high policing practices that is often criticized.

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