May 30, 1939 (18th Parliament, 4th Session)


Ernest Lapointe (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)


Mr. LAPOINTE (Quebec East):

No. I
will just repeat that the government is keeping itself well informed as to what is going on in the field which my hon. friend has indicated. My own conviction is that as regards nazi or fascist or communist activities in Canada, I am happy to say, neither the genuine imported articles nor their spurious local imitations are in any sense a serious political factor in any part of Canada. Of course since the war this new technique of international propaganda has been a rather disagreeable feature of political life in all countries; it has become an established routine of various governments and organizations to endeavour to stir up class and racial prejudice abroad as a means of carrying out their own political views; and in times of difficulty and depression, such as the one which the world has gone through, these seeds may be more dangerous, being sown on some fertile soil. Without mentioning anybody, I may say that on some occasions the government has reminded agents or representatives of foreign governments that their duties do not include a proprietary interest in the activities of naturalized Canadian citizens who may have been once nationals of their countries.
May I say that ninety-five per cent of our foreign population are opposed to the views which some people are trying to instil into them; they are loyal to the Canada to which they have come to establish themselves and their families; and it would be a mistake as well as gross unfairness to attribute to all the former nationals of certain countries the views which some propagandists are trying to spread in Canada.
I repeat that, despite a certain amount of flamboyant advertising, anti-democratic movements within Canada have not made any headway. I hope that Canadian common sense will always be an obstacle to their making the headway they would like to make.
We believe in the necessity and utility of freedom of speech and in the vigilant preservation of the institutions which make it possible. We cannot, preserve democracy by
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throwing away the freedom of discussion which is the essential and indispensable basis of free government. But I add this, that no theory of free speech confers any right on foreign agencies which have betrayed it to claim its protection for their efforts to intervene in our affairs for their own ends.
f think that is all I need say at this stage. If my hon. friend raises the question at another stage I shall be pleased to add something.

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