Hon. Stuart S. Garson (Minister of Justice):
Most members of the House of Commons have been receiving postcards reading as follows:
I am deeply disturbed by sections 46, 49 , 63 , 365 and 372 of Bill H8 (the proposed revision of the
Criminal Code), now being reviewed by the standing committee on banking and commerce in the Senate.
These and other sections of the bill have no place on the statute books of a democratic country, and I strongly urge you to oppose such police state legislation if and when it comes before the House of Commons.
The name and address of each hon. member to whom these cards are sent is not typewritten but printed on each postcard, indicating clearly that those responsible for this campaign are making it as easy as they can for the citizens to whom cards are circulated to merely sign the card and send it on under the franking privileges of the hon. member to whom it is addressed. The contents and purport of the sections of the code referred to are not indicated in any way, so that it is impossible for those who send the cards to get from the cards themselves any idea as to what they are protesting against. These cards are the latest phase of a well-organized and financed campaign directed against the enactment of these clauses of Bill "O" of the Senate. Although the revised code, or as it is now numbered Bill "O" of the Senate is not yet before the house, it is desirable in the public interest to place before the house information about the true origin, character and intent of this systematic campaign to discredit this legislation.
Certain hon. members have indicated some puzzlement as to what the significance of it was and suggested that it might be of interest to all hon. members that a statement be made.
This intensive campaign is conducted by the communists in Canada. To disguise the real communist control behind the campaign, the attack on Bill "O" is operated through the league for democratic rights, a front organization which is thoroughly communist-controlled and communist-inspired. The propaganda by the league for democratic rights, while directed to a wide variety of groups, is especially aimed at the trade unions.
Long before these postcards were circulated amongst many Canadian unions, I checked with the Ottawa head offices of the Canadian Congress of Labour and the Trades and Labour Congress to make sure that they were aware of what was going on. Not only had they been for some time well aware of the efforts the league for democratic rights was putting forth to line up their respective unions in opposition to Bill "O" but I am glad to pay tribute to the measures which they have taken to expose this barefaced communist manoeuvre to influence their locals and members.
As examples of the measures they took, I think perhaps hon. members would welcome my quoting from some of the editorials in the labour papers, if for no other reason than that the hon. members themselves might use those quotations in replying to the postcards they have received. In many cases, I am sorry to say, good, patriotic, innocent Canadians have been taken in by this sort of propaganda. I should like to quote from the November issue of the Trades and Labour Congress Journal which, I believe, has not yet come to the attention of all hon. members of the house. It is as follows:
One of the most difficult problems confronting democratically elected governments is how to frame laws that will give needed protection against those who work and scheme to destroy democracy and democratic institutions and at the same time not Infringe on the fundamental freedoms and rights which people in the free world cherish.
Most right thinking citizens desire some protection from the treachery or the Boyers, the Allens, the Mays and the Roses, and many others who are actively and continually exploiting the weaknesses of democracy with the sole objective of substituting dictatorship for democracy and slave camps for freedom. None recognize this problem more than the international communist party. It was for this reason that such fronts as the league for democratic rights came into being. In Britain they are known as the National Council of Civil Liberties.
At the present time a flood of circulars are being mailed out by the so-called league for democratic rights regarding some of the proposed amendments to Canada's Criminal Code as contained in Bill H8. Reading this stuff one is supposed to believe that the writers of the circular are really concerned with the organized labour movement and are fronting an expensive campaign on its behalf in order to protect Canadian workers from the hangman for the well-established crime of criticizing the government. To cinch this eyewash, the league for democratic "wrongs" with the assistance of the communist-controlled press (which has instructions to play it up) is quoting: "British opinion deplores Canada's Criminal Code amendments". Take a look at this British opinion. It is not that of the British Trades Union Congress, the British Labour party or the Churchill government, but it is the propaganda views of the counterpart of the same front in Britain.
The reference there to Bill H8 is really to Bill "O" of the Senate. This bill was introduced into the Senate last year and was given lengthy and careful consideration by the Senate. It has been reintroduced in the Senate this year and is now being considered by the Senate banking and commerce committee. When it is reported to this house we shall set up a committee with power to hear evidence from interested persons and organizations, as I stated in reply to a question by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) just the other day. The unions of Canada from the beginning, as I am informed, have planned to study this bill from the standpoint of organized labour
and will have an adequate opportunity to make representations concerning it.
Subtopic: COMMUNIST CAMPAIGN TO DISCREDIT PROPOSED REVISION