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Friday, November 9, 2012

Canada, The Road To Facism(chapters 7-8)

 Written by Robin Mathews


The Struggle Between Lester B. Pearson and Walter Gordon. Economics, Culture, and Survival. Part One.
(pages 73-92)

As Canada moved into the 1960s the tug-o-war became intensified between Canadians who wanted a sovereign, self-respecting, independent country and those who wanted to live in a servile colony. Two figures focussed the conflict. Walter Gordon, first finance minister of the Lester Pearson Liberal government of 1963, fought a tireless fight for economic independence. George Grant, the irascible Conservative philosopher, declared the death of Canada ( out of a failure of political philosophy) in his 1965 book Lament for a Nation. They stood as very different beacons casting light onto possible paths to independence. Walter Gordon came to understand the centrality of  “culture” – the structure of resistance to indoctrination.  George Grant, perhaps, less so.

One was a business man, the other an academic philosopher. Arranged around them was an army of people – too numerous to name – who joined the battle for an independent Canada. The energy and organization they produced eventuated (between 1967 and 1972) in the creation of wholly new organizations. Not the least of the new creations was a long list of new publishers devoted to the publication of Canadian ideas (the battle for the culture). It is essential to note that by February of 2012, all major Canadian publishers had sold out or collapsed. The symbol of Canadian-oriented Canadian publishing was sold to U.S./German interests in early 2012. McClelland and Stewart was permitted by the Harper government to be taken over, though the Canada Investment Act provides the power for that government to have rejected the sale.


One of the most important publishing houses created at the time of the proliferation of publishing houses was Hurtig Publishers. Mel Hurtig, at the time an active Liberal and bookseller in Edmonton, turned to publishing for nearly two decades. He took up the struggle for independence as a writer, speaker and as a founder of the Council of Canadians in 1985. Almost uniquely, he has gone on publishing books on the sell-out of the country – books which provide a rich resource on the subject.

Other new organizations appeared from every direction. Listing some of them tells the story. The Committee for an Independent Canada, the Waffle Movement in the NDP, the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Canadian Liberation Movement, the National Farmers Union, The Confederation of Canadian Unions, the League of Canadian Poets, the Action Committee of The Status of Women, the Canadian Artists Registry, and the first shape of what was to become Telefilm Canada. Theatre companies came into being or flowered with new energy, shaping a voice in Canadian theatre not heard before. Among the earliest were George Luscombe’s Toronto Workshop Productions, Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto Free Theatre, and Twenty-Fifth Street Theatre in Saskatoon. After them new theatre companies sprouted across Canada – concerned to consolidate Canadian theater.
In 1970, Pierre Juneau changed the musical history of Canada by insisting, as head of the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, upon Canadian Content regulations on radio and television. One visible result has been the creation of internationally successful Canadian musicians in the popular music sphere. Before the Juneau rulings, such Canadians had trouble being heard in Canada, let alone outside it. Their plight was plain evidence that private Canadian broadcasters wanted to use the airways for quick and high profits using mostly U.S. material rather than developing any meaningful Canadian broadcasting.

In the late 1970s, I was invited with a few others to Moses Znaimer’s City TV in Toronto. We were invited in order to be interviewed by the bumptious and confrontational host of “The Shulman File”,  Dr. Morton Shulman, former chief coroner of Ontario and former MLA in the Ontario legislature. The subject was to be organizations for independence and independence ideas. Dr. Shulman hosted us at a bizarre champagne breakfast before the show. Then, in the bare-bones studio, just before the cameras rolled to film our live show, Dr. Shulman informed us we would never have been on City TV, would never have been invited to the show – except that City TV needed to fill its Canadian Content quota. “That’s what you are”,  he said flatly,  “Canadian content.”  The remark was an intended insult by Dr. Shulman. But we were there to discuss an issue important to Canada, which we wouldn’t have been without the Canadian Content rules.

The cultural change going on in the country was paralleled by investigations into the effects of foreign ownership of the Canadian economy. The investigation by a number of Canadian economists into Foreign Ownership and the Construction of the Canadian Economy resulted in the Watkins Report in 1968. In 1970 the House of Commons Committee on External Affairs reported on the same subject in the Wahn Report, named after its chairman, Ian Wahn. And then in 1972 a parliamentary report on Foreign Direct Investment in Canada was popularly known as the Gray Report, named after its chairman Herb Gray, then minister of national revenue. The Trudeau government refused to release that Report – a clear sign of Trudeau’s position on foreign ownership of the Canadian economy - about which more, later. The first of the Reports, the Watkins Report, was the result of an investigation conducted by academic economists at the instancing of Walter Gordon who gained the support for it from prime minister Pearson – though others in the cabinet, like Mitchell Sharp and Robert Winters, did not want the work undertaken. That situation takes us back to the beginning of the 1960s and Walter Gordon’s determination to have action on the state of foreign (especially U.S.) ownership and control of the Canadian economy.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s U.S. (and other foreign) academics were streaming into Canadian universities, affecting – as we shall see – views of Canadian culture. The Vietnam War (1955-1975) was moving out of its  “U.S. advisors”  phase and toward the commitment of large numbers of U.S. troops. U.S. participation in the Canadian economy was growing. The U.S. film industry had a stranglehold on Canadian movie theatres. At the same time, the U.S. CIA, established in 1947, was expanding heavily into cultural activities internationally. Spending lavishly (behind the scenes) the CIA – in the 1950s and 1960s and after – placed its agents internationally in publishing houses and the film industry and in visual arts activities. At the peak of its influence, Frances Stornor Saunders tells us, it had influence in more than 800 magazines, newspapers, and public information organizations. Stonor tells us, for instance, that the “CIA’s clandestine books programme was run … with the following aims in mind:

Get books published or distributed abroad without revealing any U.S. influence, by covertly subsidizing foreign publications or booksellers … Get books published … regardless of commercial viability … Stimulate the writing of politically significant books by unknown foreign authors, if contact is feasible, or indirectly, through literary agents or publishers.”

More on this in the, later, CIA section.
Canadian publishers produced few Canadian titles at the time, serving as agents for U.S. and other foreign publishers’ books. When I began teaching Canadian literature in the late 1960s, I was glad I was also on cross-country speaking tours. That allowed me to haunt the Thrift Shops and second hand stores of Canada in order to buy out-of-print titles of major Canadian authors so that I could hand to my students important titles that were often not available otherwise. Jack McClelland of McClelland and Stewart publishers and Malcolm Ross of Queen’s University had begun, in 1958, the New Canadian Library soft-cover series to bring important Canadian fiction and poetry back into print. Even so, the list was short when I began teaching Canadian literature. The McClelland and Stewart/Malcolm Ross initiative was – in the cultural field – of first importance. It provided a basis of reading and study in the literature of Canada not previously available.  What’s more, its importance grew …  Nevertheless, even in the late 1960s, it was not possible to supply, for instance, all of the major works of novelist Frederick Philip Grove to students wanting them – without having a private library from which to supply some of the books.


The story of the New Canadian Library series must be seen from a larger perspective than its status at the time. It is now astonishing that as late as 1970 major works of major Canadian writers in literature and the social sciences – valuable to the educational system – would have been permitted to become unavailable. It is astonishing, as well, that major cultural spokespeople carped about their value – and that there should have been no solid, assured government guarantee that the works would be kept in print. All of those facts speak to the prevailing colonial-mindedness of Canadians who, it seems, were unaware they were being denied access to their own literary and social history. Existing on a 4000 mile border with the most powerful imperial nation in history, Canada took almost no care – as an aware community – to assure the works and history of its culture were present, available, and taught in the educational system. The work of getting Canada fully and fairly represented in Canadian educational institutions took a fierce battle – which hasn’t, by any means, been concluded. It took and will continue to take a fierce battle because many major cultural thinkers and actors in the country believe deeply that Canadian achievement at all levels is so inferior it is best ignored in favour of the achievement of other (especially imperial) countries.


The NCL (excellent) publishing adventure was locked in the politics of imperialism and colonialism. Seeing McClelland at a large Teach-In at Dalhousie University in the early 1970s, I suggested to him a two-volume Canadian poetry book for use in universities and colleges. I assured him I didn’t care who edited it, just as long as it was produced, for it was needed. He told me that Malcolm Ross managed such matters and he would have Malcolm contact me. Malcolm Ross never did, ever. And when, later, I was teaching a summer school in Nova Scotia, friends of Ross told me he had only unkind things to say about me, and was – in their words – my  “enemy.”

I puzzled about their words because I had only been in his company once for about fifteen minutes and had said practically nothing. Then when he retired in the 1980s, Maclean’s Magazine carried a short tribute to him for his work in Canadian culture. Thinking he deserved the praise, I wrote to him to wish him well in retirement. At the end of my letter I brought up what his friends had said about me, and I asked him if it were true. I received a short, kindly letter from Malcolm Ross. In it he wrote:  “I always thought you were too anti-American. And now we are losing the country.”


Malcolm Ross had final control over the choice of people who would edit and write introductions to the dozens and dozens of reprinted New Canadian Library books he oversaw. His choice was often not determined by expertise but by political persuasion and personal friendship. That situation describes an important aspect of the Canadian “rebirth.”  It was often hesitant. It was often timid. It was often apologetic. It was often weakened by self-assigned cliques. It was often vitiated by the quarrels bred of ideological difference. And it was resisted every step of the way by quiet continentalist power and by spokespeople for Canadian sell-out. Many excellent initiatives were blunted, modified, or defeated after a very short time. Malcolm Ross is symptomatic. Looking at Janet Friskney’s excellent book on the M&S New Canadian Library, one can see the central sickness in our colonial society. Responses to the launching of the NCL are almost predictable. George Woodcock, editor of the flagship journal Canadian Literature, Northrop Frye – Canada’s leading literary critic and theorist at the time, and the energetically climbing Mordecai Richler, novelist and gutter journalist, for instance, all seemed constitutionally unable to see their own literature without wearing what might be called Imperial Blinkers.


The very idea of finding the self-worth of Canadian literature within the literature was beyond them. Through many years, interviewed in the Victoria College student paper, and elsewhere, Northrop Frye, for instance, declared he did not think courses in Canadian literature should be taught. Works by Canadians, he believed, should be examined in a general study of literature, not as works of a national literature. In the light of those kinds of responses, Ross and Jack McClelland deserve the highest praise for initiating the New Canadian Library. Friskney, in a sense, writes the acceptable history, and in doing so has produced an admirable work. But the unreported fist-fights on the ground illuminate the deeply colonial nature of the history she records. Malcolm Ross considered me – for some years – an  “enemy”  for confronting the major impediment to Canadian independence: the U.S.A. Mordecai Richler attacked James A. Steele and me  – in an English publication, and in Canada – for urging the hiring of excellent Canadians to Canadian universities.  George Woodcock refused to publish an article of mine in the journal Canadian Literature in its early years because I suggested that, partly, the rejection of Canadian literature had to be considered from a political point of view. What political forces, I asked, were retarding its full, independent flowering?


Later in 1975 when the first Learned Society in Canadian history was created to concentrate attention on the literatures of Canada – The Association for Canadian and Quebec Literatures – the flagship journal, Canadian Literature, would not report the founding or support ACQL/ALCQin any way. At the University of McGill meetings of Canadian Learned Societies at which the first steps were taken, the Associate Editor of Canadian Literature, William H. New, attacked me directly for working to bring about the organization. The editor of the journal, George Woodcock, obviously agreed with his Associate Editor. That story illustrates the sick power relations found in colonies like Canada. In the late 1950s Canadian Literature was created in Vancouver to produce the only learned journal west of the Ontario border – a journal to concentrate upon and investigate Canadian literature. Fifteen years later when the first national society was created to study (and produce articles and books) about the literatures of Canada, Canadian Literature refused even to acknowledge its existence.


The animosity felt towards ALCQ/ACQL by the editors of Canadian Literature may have had its roots in the politics of George Woodcock and William H. New. Woodcock was born in Winnipeg, but for nearly the first 40 years of his life he lived in England where he became an English Anarchist. He and New were in contact, of necessity, and probably in sympathy with the forceful U.S. Anarchists who flooded Vancouver after the late 1950s. Many of those U.S. Anarchists – as we will see – wanted to erase the history and traditions of Canadian literature and replace them with U.S. cultural references exclusively. The creation of a national organization – francophone and anglophone – to focus attention and concentrate work on Canadian literary production would probably not please Anarchists at all. And it would especially not please the U.S. imperial Anarchists living in our midst who had – it seems – quite other plans for the future of Canadian literature and culture than were held by the members of ALCQ/ACQL.


Jack McClelland, on his part (who had rejected The Struggle for Canadian Universities for publication in 1969), then categorically refused to re-print the work in the Carleton Library Series in the mid-1970s. He did so for political reasons – which he made very clear to Pauline Jewett, co-editor. Obviously surprised, Jewett described the letter to me in detail. Even the staunchest of fighters for a Canadian voice compromised their strongest held ideals because of imperial pressure on them to do so. The contradictions in people who were, apparently, leaders in the work of Canadian culture reflect the colonial lives and actions of leaders right across the spectrum of culture, politics, economics, and social ideas. Colonials – in most cases – live like colonials. They long for independence, for creative power, for vibrant culture, for brilliant and unique economic initiatives. But they crumble under the pressure of imperial power and will do so until the day when, finally, they determine, with the whole population, to be masters in their own house.

The Canadianization Movement to force fair hiring of qualified Canadians in universities and other cultural institutions – and to increase the teaching of Canadian materials throughout the educational system was (as J.L. Granatstein observes in his book Yankee Go Home?) remarkably successful, more successful than many of the other defensive and offensive initiatives undertaken to provide fairness for Canadians in their own country and culture. But that movement, too, was contested vigorously … and attempts to subvert it were undertaken openly and covertly, without let-up.

In 1969 James A. Steele and I were searching for publishers for our book The Struggle for Canadian Universities (Toronto, New Press). That book helped to launch the movement. It was angrily rejected for publication, before even being looked at it, by Ottawa’s Michael Macklin of Oberon Press. McClelland and Stewart’s chief negotiator at the time – who later became Anna Porter of Key Porter Books – clearly attempted (as I judge the matter in retrospect) to prevent publication of the book by pretending it was taking a long, long, long time to be considered. She called it our  “non book”.  New Press launched its own life with the publication of the book in 1969.

In the mid 1970s, Pauline Jewett was the Carleton University editor of the Carleton Library series. (She later became president of Simon Fraser University and, after that, an NDP MP in the House of Commons.) The Toronto editor was Jack McClelland of M&S. Pauline Jewett suggested to him (without Steele or I knowing) that The Struggle for Canadian Universities, because of its historical relevance, should go into Carleton paperback. The Carleton Library series was a sort of adjunct to the New Canadian Library series, intended to keep in print books in the Social Sciences that had continuing relevance to, especially, scholars and researchers.

Jewitt told me that she received a long, highly political letter from Jack McClelland absolutely refusing to consider having The Struggle for Canadian Universities included in the Carleton Library series. Some of McClelland’s friends and associates, she intimated, wanted to kill the Canadianization Movement and he was cooperating with them. “When I write my memoirs,”  Pauline Jewitt said to me, “that story will be in it.” Living a very full political life, Jewitt never found the time to write her memoirs.

As the 1960s decade extended, Canada was not formally in the Vietnam War. That war, nevertheless, haunted Canadian life. A large number of young, U.S. professors newly in Canada were primarily interested in the U.S.A. The flood of U.S. deserters and draft-resistors could think only of the U.S.A. They didn’t come to Canada; they fled from the U.S.A. They would have crossed into New Zealand if it were the closest English speaking country. That fact must be underscored. Many developed a warm and loyal relation to Canada. But their arrival in Canada was not the result of a desire to come to this country; it was the result of a determination to flee the U.S.A. The usual Canadian colonial preoccupation with U.S. affairs, moreover, assured that the Vietnam War would often usurp much-needed attention to Canadian matters.


At the time, I wrote there was a strong likelihood that the U.S. government quietly wanted the Draft Dodgers ( as they were called) in Canada. First, by their exodus to Canada, tens of thousands of young U.S. males were kept out of U.S. jails and away from  “resisting” the Vietnam War at home. And, secondly, the CIA could plant agents among those fleeing to Canada. That is not a wild idea. Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks record the U.S. operating in just that way in a slightly different context, at almost the same time.

In the late 1950s, when espionage was still a big business in Germany, former [CIA] agents and defectors were routinely resettled in Canada and Latin America.  The constant flow of anti-communist refugees to those areas was too much for the agency’s Clandestine Services to resist. From time to time, an active agent would be inserted into the resettlement process. [Bold type used in the original.]

With thousands of U.S. youth pouring across the Canadian border after 1965, it would have been easy to have some  “active”  agents “inserted into the resettlement process.” Indeed it would be surprising if Clandestine Services did not take advantage of the opportunity. The whole question of the CIA and Canada in those years has never been fully researched. But the CIA was almost certainly active in Canada … more of which later.

After the battles about U.S. nuclear war-heads in Canada and the so-called Cuban missile crisis, the Diefenbaker Progressive Conservative government was defeated and the Liberals under Lester B. Pearson took office in 1963. Lester B. Pearson had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1957 for his adroit diplomacy in the Suez Crisis. It was a crisis spawned from East/West manoeuvres in the Cold War. President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser – annoyed at lack of financial support from  “the West”  for a dam project – was determined to nationalize the Suez Canal. In brief – a plan by Israel, Britain, and France to return the Canal to Western control ignited a war in 1956 which not only threatened to expand but also was splitting the relations between the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. Lester Pearson, Canada’s minister of External Affairs, was a confirmed Cold Warrior, and he was horrified at the break.


Using his many connections in the international world as Canada’s minister for External Affairs (now Foreign Affairs), he did a truly remarkable job of assisting to bring the crisis to a resolution – one in which he was responsible for the first UN peacekeeping mission. It was an initiative that blossomed in later years with positive effects. Partly as a result of his international fame, Pearson was later seen as a worthy contestant for the position of prime minister. But in 1957 the Liberal government was defeated, and Lester Pearson ceased to be minister. The Nobel Committee award of the Nobel Prize for Peace and his established international reputation  worked in his favour later when he sought the leadership of the Liberal Party. One of his closest supporters and a man always key to the effective organization of the Liberal Party was Walter Gordon. He worked hard to assure that the leadership of the Liberal Party would go to Pearson, and it did in 1958. Walter Gordon was a close friend of Pearson’s, and he was a successful organizer and strategist. Pearson was neither. He developed the reputation of always seeming to agree with the last person to whom he spoke … and leaving, sometimes, the impression that he approved of policy suggestions he had no intention of supporting. Psychological dissection of the two men might be interesting. But the paths and patterns the two men clearly cut out over the next ten years – paths and patterns critically important for the life and future of Canada – are what matter.


Walter Gordon, not until the 1960s in political office, was responsible for and had headed up the Royal Commission on Canada’s Economic Prospects. Its commissioners were appointed in 1955. The work was extensive and, often, aspects of inquiry were undertaken for the first time. The preliminary Report was released to the public in 1956. It was attacked by one of the most powerful Liberal cabinet ministers of the day, C.D. Howe, often called  “the minister of everything.”  Howe was a continentalist, having good and strong relations with major corporate leaders in the U.S. The Liberal prime minister, Louis St. Laurent, also criticized the Report, contributing – Gordon believed – to the defeat of the Liberals by the Diefenbaker Conservatives that year.


The battle for the defeat of the Liberals was sharpened by what was called the Pipelines debate. C.D. Howe had arranged for a U.S. Corporation, TransCanada Pipelines, LP, to build a Canadian pipeline West to East, using a significant number of loans of money from Canada to complete the project. The CCF (forerunner of the NDP) saw clearly that the pipeline would be profitable and wanted it to be a public asset. The House was alive with controversy. Debate and argument in the House of Commons were hot and heavy – and when the Speaker of the House went against his own ruling that debate could continue (his change being suspected to have come about because of pressure from C.D. Howe), the House descended into bedlam.


A university student at the time, I remember the account I received from a friend who happened to be in Ottawa, and in the public gallery, when the pipeline debacle occurred. MPs, he said, stood on their desks tearing up phone books and throwing the paper into the air as order in the Chamber disappeared and the death knell of the Liberal government was being rung out across the country. The Diefenbaker years lasted until 1963.  The Liberals returned as government then under the leadership of Lester B. Pearson.


Three or four points must be made to reveal the overall movement in politics from that point. Lester Pearson supported internal changes in Canada to bring about greater security for average Canadians.  Walter Gordon was often the person to suggest changes, but Pearson rarely blocked change. Lester Pearson supported U.S. policy on all other matters, almost without change. He suggested a bombing halt in the Vietnam War at his Temple University, Philadelphia address in 1965. But he was suggesting a pause. Nowhere did he take a strong position against the War in Vietnam as Walter Gordon did. Under pressure from Walter Gordon, Pearson protected Canadian banks from what would have been significant takeover. But when Gordon was not on the spot, Pearson was willing to follow Mitchell Sharp (continentalist cabinet colleague) and open up Canada for bank takeover.
In an Ontario Liberal Convention held in Ottawa in the early 1970s, Mitchell Sharp figured darkly. The student Liberals at Carleton University were determined to weigh in on the drive for Canadian independence. They produced a button reading  “Keep It Canadian.” Pierre Trudeau, prime minister, refused to wear it when he made a speech to the convention. The students persisted, nonetheless. As the convention was winding down, Mitchell Sharp called the students together. Out of the range of the media, Sharp tore a strip off the students, telling them if they wanted to succeed in the Liberal Party they would drop the call for an independent Canada.


The irreparable rift in the Gordon/Pearson friendship was the result of Pearson’s loyalty to the U.S.A. Even his actions concerning the Suez Crisis were in many ways the result of his recognition that the new imperial power was the U.S.A. Both Britain and Canada needed to find ways to take a quiet place in that new structure. The U.S., like the Nobel Prize committee, was delighted with Pearson’s diplomacy. Pearson changed the Liberal position on the acceptance of nuclear weapons alone and without consultation with other leading Liberals. He made his speech to that effect on January 12, 1963 in Scarborough, Ontario. Walter Gordon suggests a number of reasons why Pearson may have made the sharp change in Liberal policy – to accept nuclear weapons by Canada. Gordon ends his list of suggestions by saying Pearson may have been influenced..

 “by the views of some of the people he saw in New York on the weekend before he made his speech.” 

In one of the first Canadian histories of Canada after 1945 the authors see Pearson with different eyes than those of Walter Gordon. The book, Canada since 1945: Power, Politics, and Provincialism, is – among other things, it seems, an announcement of the supremacy in Canada of the historiography of neo-liberalism. The book reads a little as though it were written by three boys realizing suddenly that they are the biggest bullies on the block. And that is fitting, because neo-liberal history writing was just coming into its sense of being the dominant mode in Canada. The book by Robert Bothwell, Ian Drummond, and John English is a perfect example of neo-liberal history, and it is approved of by the person who would become the Dean of neo-liberal history in Canada – J.L. Granatstein. Combining incorrect fact with insult, the book denigrates anything that is not neo-liberal. Historians always have a world-view, of course. They have to have or they would be unable to select and present a meaningful flow of ideas.


But a general rule of historians is that – inasmuch as it is possible to do so – they will correctly report facts, whatever they decide to interpret from them. Neo-liberal historians cast free of that heavy responsibility. In Canada since 1945 the authors, just for instance, report incorrectly information about Cy Gonick, founder and long-time editor of Canadian Dimension magazine. They report incorrectly information about poet and critic Robert Kroetsch. They report incorrectly information about me. They report that Mitchell Sharp wanted to protect Canadian banking – a serious factual error. As I wrote earlier, neo-liberals never let facts stand in the way of their arguments. In Canada since 1945 “qualified observers” are never named but always hold neo-liberal views. The authors do not write of the movement of industrial activity to oppressed or slave economies but to “the efficient low-wage countries of Asia and Latin America.”  In their coverage of the imposition by Pierre Trudeau of the War Measures Act they don’t use incorrect facts. They simply don’t report the facts.


Their assessment of Lester B. Pearson erases his apparent contradictions and places him in the neo-liberal camp. Readers will have to decide for themselves who Pearson really was. Perhaps friendship and political closeness confused Walter Gordon about Pearson. If so, those things don’t confuse the authors of Canada since 1945. In neo-liberal code, the authors declare Pearson in the U.S. camp – perhaps thereby explaining his private visit to New York in 1963 before changing his (and the Liberal Party’s) position on accepting nuclear weapons in Canada. Attempting to characterize Lester Pearson, the authors set out what they believe was his overall position. “Like Frank Underhill, J.W. Dafoe, and, in 1963, Peter C. Newman and Pierre Berton, Pearson shared an acceptance of Canada as a North American nation. Like Berton, he believed that Canada had  “cast [its] lot with this continent for better or worse.”
The authors go on to quote journalist Peter C. Newman (writing in March, 1963) to sum up Pearson’s position.


The future prosperity and even the existence of Canada depend directly on the goodwill of the USA. This doesn’t mean we should toady to Washington. But it does mean that we can hardly expect our point of view to carry much weight, if our chief emissary in future bargaining with the U.S. president is a politician elected on the basis of blatant anti-Americanism.


The authors continue:  “Canada was part of the American team; quarrels over strategy were for the privacy of the clubhouse, not for the playing field.”
The assumptions in the authors’ position are huge. First, they covertly declare that John Diefenbaker was an anti-American for attempting to protect independent Canadian policy. Secondly, the fact that Canada is on the North American continent means (to the authors) it must be subservient to the U.S.A. Then it must see itself as part of the U.S. “team”, which means it may have no significant internal or external policies that differ from those of the U.S.A. As the holder of huge, valuable resources that the U.S.A. has recorded it wants to tap for its own profit and policy, Canada must give them up to the U.S. on U.S. terms. The whole indoctrinating language of Canada being a North American nation is intended to mean  “a client state of the U.S.A.”,  as is the statement that Canada has cast its lot with this continent for better or worse.


    The authors do not say that the U.S.A. is a North American nation which has cast its lot with this continent for better or worse, and it must, therefore, pay strong attention to the needs and policies of Canada and work for its health and power, that the U.S. must consider itself a part of the Canadian team. They would laugh at such an idea. Clearly, then, they are arguing that Canada has no right to independent internal or external policies but must be a colony of the U.S.A. Early in the thrust forward of visible neo-liberalism in Canada, the authors of Canada since 1945 declare subordination to the U.S. as a characteristic policy of Canadian neo-liberalism. Might – for neo-liberal writers – is right.  And the U.S.A. has might.

The result, during the tumultuous years of the 1960s, was that Lester B. Pearson, during his years as prime minister, permitted Canadians (because the U.S. permitted them) to improve enormously their position socially in Canada. He betrayed Canadians on most economic matters involving the U.S.A. and, like his successor, Pierre Eliott Trudeau, fudged any major moves to protect Canada’s economic and cultural independence. Yves Engler, a writer with an opposite ideology to the authors of Canada since 1945 underscores their evaluation. He charts Pearson’s public life, his policies, and his actions, revealing what may be described as a total commitment to the U.S.A. and its policies. Engler records Pearson’s sell-out of an independent Canadian foreign policy, saying that Canada not only “voluntarily and wholeheartedly accepted the leadership of the Untied States”, but that Canada had a special role  “interpreting U.S. foreign policy to other nations” as far as Pearson was concerned.

Walter Gordon was the initiator of Canadian social reforms at the time. As Tom Kent wrote:

the social programs of the Pearson period … were very much the policies of Walter Gordon … Without him, there could have been no major transformation of Canadian society achieved through Medicare, the Canada Pension Plan (integrated with the reform of Old Age Security), extended family allowance, student loans, the Canada Assistance Plan, and other measures.

Stephen Azzi remarks (p. 131) that on the economic front Gordon was a failure, that his “initiative to reduce foreign investment was thoroughly defeated … ”  Gordon was pummeled by “the business community” and mostly left to hang out to dry by Lester Pearson. In that period of Pearson’s prime ministership Gordon made no headway. It is hard to criticize him for failure because the repudiation of his 1963 budget was so total and so harsh he might well have given up and left politics. The enemies he created in cabinet worked against his success without let up. He did leave politics in 1965 as a result of what was a double-cross by Pearson. The Right group in the cabinet wanted Gordon out, and so when he vowed he would resign if he couldn’t bring the Liberals to a majority win in 1965, Pearson pretended that he had to accept Gordon’s resignation. Pearson wanted rid of him in the finance portfolio … to be replaced by Mitchell Sharp. Shortly after, however, Pearson realized that Gordon had such popularity in the caucus and the country and that his presence in cabinet was reassuring to many Canadians (and might prevent a damaging split in the caucus). Pearson felt that the legitimacy of the cabinet in the eyes of Canadians needed Gordon as a member. And so Gordon was invited back as almost anything but finance minister. Pearson suggested Gordon be president of the Privy Council.


Gordon was back in cabinet in a shadowy role…but he was there. And when Mitchell Sharp did his best to open the country to what would be U.S. banking takeovers, Gordon fought him to a standstill. Winning that battle may well have been one of the most important actual victories Gordon had … for the country. When he met with Pearson and others, Gordon reminded them that his return to cabinet was effected for political reasons. By that he meant he knew he was not invited back out of loyalty or friendship or collegiality but because the prime minister had to invite him back in order to maintain harmony in the Party. That meant Gordon’s position mattered in the Party. He used that power to defeat Mitchell Sharp and the neo-liberals in government on the matter of the Bank Act.


 The Struggle Between Lester Pearson and Walter Gordon. Economics, Culture, and Survival. Part Two
(pages 93-110)


Before the election of 1965 Walter Gordon told Lester B. Pearson, prime minister and friend, that if the Liberals didn’t win a majority, he would resign. Gordon was a major organizer. Even neo-liberal commentators remark that it was a promise Pearson should not have accepted when the Liberals won a few more seats than they had held but not enough to give them a majority in the House of Commons. But the man the U.S. government worked openly to have elected in 1963 was feeling pressure from having independentist Gordon – usually refusing any other post than the one of finance minister – in the cabinet. The neo-liberal forces in cabinet had Pearson, earlier, offering Gordon almost anything to get him out of finance. And so – in an embarrassing personal meeting in which Pearson accepted Gordon’s resignation after the 1965 election – the friendship ended, and Walter Gordon believed he would have to do his work outside cabinet.
The U.S. continued to want unfettered access to Canadian resources and to the developed economy of Canada – and the neo-liberals in the Pearson cabinet supported that pressure. Gordon did not, but as finance minister, he originated the idea and assisted at the remarkably successful conclusion of what came to be called the Auto Pact – long in negotiation and finalized in January 1965. To many, the Pact was an acceptance of the integration of U.S. automobile production on the continent – an acceptance that the industry was being  “rationalized”  continentally on the U.S. model. Canada had once had small automobile manufacturers who were gobbled up by the big U.S. auto companies. Beginning again from scratch seemed too huge a task. The agreement was not a free trade agreement. It was a managed trade agreement over which Canada had considerable power. Canada protected Canadian production, monitored the relation of production and sales, and prevented Canadians from importing cars duty free. The Auto Pact was strongly positive for Canadian employment and inventive initiative.
Through all the discussions and arguments about trade with the United States, sectoral agreements, and managed trade relations were always possibilities. Before the first Free Trade Agreement was completed in 1988 Canada and the U.S. had sectoral and managed trade relations – and the two countries traded very effectively. But the U.S. did not want trade agreements in which Canada had real strength in regulation and oversight. Walter Gordon himself was uneasy about the Auto Pact, but it was not an overall deal nor a free trade agreement in fact.
Mitchell Sharp – new finance minister after 1965 – was a continentalist, an economic integrationist, a colonialist. Things seemed calm, but Lester Pearson found that Gordon wouldn’t go away. He had gained strong support in the caucus and the country, and Pearson – as already noted – discovered he needed Gordon back in cabinet for political reasons. So Gordon was invited back. He was not eager to return to the cabinet and – as it turned out – his return was messy. As he writes in his political memoirs he had three reasons for entering politics. One was to answer  “the need for policies to counter the excessive foreign control over the Canadian economy and resources if Canada was to avoid a satellite status. ”  He had fought for that and mostly lost. He had left cabinet, and continentalist Mitchell Sharp had been given the finance portfolio. When Pearson was forced to ask Gordon back into the cabinet, little changed on the foreign ownership front. The opponents in cabinet were at each other’s throats. The focus point at the time was the U.S. attempt to, first, get a banking foothold in Canada and, then, to move in on Canadian banks. Walter Gordon was central in the battle. In the midst of it Gordon got approval for a Task Force to inquire into the state of foreign investment in Canada.
But the spotlight was playing on the attempt of First National City Bank of New York to secure special (banking) exemptions for its subsidiary in Canada, the Mercantile Bank. Gordon covers the affair in Chapter fourteen of his political memoirs. In short, the U.S. intended to move its banking force into Canada. A battle went on that Gordon finally won. Mitchell Sharp – a leading continentalist force in the cabinet – fought every step of the way, breaking agreements made in meetings and doing everything he could to force legislation into place that would open the Canadian door to the U.S. in banking. The battle went on from 1963 to 1967. The U.S. took an active part. James S. Rockefeller and Robert MacFadden of City Bank came to Ottawa on more than one occasion. The U.S. State Department was heard, as well as the belligerent U.S. ambassador to Canada, Walton Butterworth. Gordon makes his own position clear in his political memoir.

I was opposed to opening the door to the American banks. I believed that if Citybank was permitted to establish itself in this country on a large scale through its subsidiary, the Mercantile Bank of Canada, it would be very difficult to prevent the entry of other American banks. (p. 269)

Canadians should realize the importance of the victory Walter Gordon won for Canada. The 2008 meltdown of the U.S. banking system occurred because of U.S. banking practices not accepted in Canada. U.S. practices threw the U.S. into recession and began the huge assault on European finances – because European banks followed the U.S. lead in de-regulation and in the production of ersatz  “securities.”  The neo-liberal government of Stephen Harper was able to stand relatively aloof from the 2008 collapse because of a fight Liberal Walter Gordon had fought and won forty years before, something Harper would, of course, never admit!
The Report of the eight economists set up during the Mercantile Bank fracas was completed in 1968. Called the Watkins Report, after the man asked to head it up, the Report saw the light of day only because Gordon and Watkins fought hard to save it. Antagonists wanted it completely suppressed. Robert Winters didn’t even want it tabled on the grounds it might upset the financial markets. A few years later, Pierre Trudeau, prime minister, used the same argument to attempt suppression of the Gray Report. To the threat of the Watkins Report’s suppression, Gordon threatened to resign and tell all, even managing to get a few boxes of the Report from the Queen’s Printer to assure it didn’t disappear. Watkins, on his part, leaked it to the Toronto Star and let it be known he had done so. Cornered, Pearson permitted the Report to be tabled with the statement that it was not backed by the government. Gordon resigned from government in March 1968 and in April 1968 Lester B. Pearson was replaced by Pierre Elliot Trudeau.

The Report placed international attention on Mel Watkins, head of the Task Force. He moved to the political left as the months passed, and he was to be a major force in the attempt to move the New Democratic Party to the Left. The result of what was called “the Waffle Movement in the NDP”  (1969-1974) was – at best – mixed. Some might judge that the backlash against it from the U.S. unions and New Democratic Party bureaucrats was so heavy that the NDP began, then, a long road to the Right until it would, finally, find itself voting in the House of Commons for neo-liberal legislation without turning a hair.
The 1950s and the 1960s very plainly were decades in which U.S. politicians, diplomats, and even bankers made themselves visible in attempts to gain advantage for U.S. interests in Canada. U.S. ambassador Butterworth’s statement after the election of Lester Pearson as prime minister in 1963 to the effect that U.S. approval for Canadian politicians seeking office was now a matter of fact revealed naked political intention. In culture direct intervention seemed somewhat less. Everything written about culture in Canada in the 1960s, however, faces a huge – and as yet unanswered – question, never before, to my knowledge, posed. The question relates to the lavish expenditure by U.S. agencies of the CIA in publishing, film-making, painting…and much more, after the founding of the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) in 1947.

We know the CIA was active in Europe. We know it created and financed one of the most prestigious cultural journals in English, produced in London. Encounter began in 1953 with Stephen Spender and Irving Kristol as editors until 1967 when the CIA role was revealed and Spender resigned. As a CIA supported publication it went on for more than twenty years. The journal was founded and funded to further U.S. policy and ideas in subtle fashion, and it did. The CIA set up agencies and adjuncts. They were concerned with influence, indoctrination, ideas, and persuasion sympathetic to U.S. intentions in the world. The organization was able, at its peak, to have influence with more than 800 magazines, public information organizations and newspapers.  It sponsored U.S. jazz artists, opera recitals, the New York school of abstract expressionism, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on tour. It placed agents in publishing houses and the film industry.
Because of its wealth and its covert activity, the CIA and its agents could support, favour, push forward, and endow writers and artists – even without their knowledge. Indeed, the CIA claims that its huge support of the New York school of Abstract Expressionists was unknown to the artists involved, though their work was toured internationally and celebrated at home by the expenditure of huge sums of CIA money. Canada, during those years … and after … fought a pitched battle over the question of independence as is clear from the role of Walter Gordon in the federal cabinet and – later – out of it. It is clear, too, that independent choice by Canada concerning its own resources and political policy was not something the U.S. wanted. If the CIA worked just below the radar, the U.S. government didn’t. It interfered, as has been pointed out, directly in the federal election of 1963 to make sure the Liberals of Lester B. Pearson would be elected.
In retrospect, the battle becomes clearer. Over and over cultural organizations and cultural spokespeople – who should not have done so – denigrated Canadian achievement and/or became the offspring of U.S. cultural trends or schools. In the middle 1950s, the organization of artists in Ontario called ‘the Painters Eleven” (from which leading artists were generated) took the New York School [heavily financed and supported by the CIA] as an important example of how they wanted to work. The Painters Eleven, in 1956, were included in a showing of U.S. Abstract Artists at the Riverside Gallery in New York (which may well have been organized or secretly supported by the CIA).
In 1957 the leading exponent of the New York Abstract Expressionists, Clement Greenberg, came to Canada to review the work of the Painters Eleven. Greenberg was a member of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom, an arm of the CIA, and he was known as a conservative intellectual. He was most likely fully informed about the CIA connection to the Committee for Cultural Freedom. Greenberg came back to Canada in 1962 to be a workshop leader at Saskatchewan’s famous Emma Lake annual artists’ gathering. He was revered by many in the Canadian Art Establishment, and when he would write for Canadian Art magazine, its editorial staff considered the magazine had hit the big time. Greenberg’s influence on a number of Canadian painters of the time has to be seen as enormous. He travelled across Canada in the early 1960s, as well, and wrote of Canadian artists in the major Canadian art magazine Canadian Art, influencing the directions art in Canada would take.

In the politics of art, the Painters Eleven were, themselves, not especially fervent advocates of U.S. superiority and influence, with the exception, perhaps, of William Ronald and Jack Bush who went to New York and were, for a time, embraced by what were very likely CIA-supported critics and galleries. In his book The History of Painting in Canada longtime art educator, critic, and museum specialist Barry Lord writes of the first exhibition of the Painters Eleven in 1954 that it  “was just as much a reflection of the times as the establishment that year of the Continental Air Defence Command, which subjected Canada’s forces to direct orders from the Pentagon.” 

The group of writers who coalesced as  “the Tish Poets”  in Vancouver in 1960-1961 were much more visibly and audibly fervent advocates of U.S. superiority and influence. They were, to start, five young men who came under the influence of U.S. Anarchist and academic Warren Tallman. He arrived to teach at UBC in 1956. In most of their own writing George Bowering, Frank Davey, and Fred Wah, of the five, play down the formative force of Warren Tallman in their poetry and their lives. Quite naturally, they want to be seen as having developed independently when they did not. They were attracted to hospitable and energetic mentor. Tallman was inspired by the work of U.S. poets Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Charles Olson, and Jack Spicer. In the much recorded Poetry Conference of 1963 held at UBC, he saw that only one Canadian poet was included, an excellent poet and one of the quietest in Canada, gentle Christian poet Margaret Avison. Tallman effected such a monopoly of U.S. writers, of U.S. theory, and of U.S. reference in Vancouver that B.C. Bookworld refers to Vancouver at the time as a “branch plant”  for a  “distinctively American approach to writing. ”  Tallman was not alone as a U.S. influence. Soon at SFU there would be Robin Blaser and Jerry Zaslov – and others – pushing hard to centre attention on U.S. experience.
It may not be irrelevant to point out that in 1985-86 I was proposed for an academic exchange at Simon Fraser University by a Canadian scholar there who wanted a year in Ottawa. Cleared by the Dean of Arts and by the SFU qualifications committee, I was stopped dead by the English Department chaired by U.S. citizen (and spokesperson) Jerry Zaslov. He stated clearly that the Department – made up of a majority of recent arrivals, about 50 percent of whom were from the U.S.A. – did not want to let me discuss ideas of Canadian literary and cultural nationalism in British Columbia. Jerry Zaslov and his supporters dug in. Not until the Canadian Association of University Teachers published the finding that Simon Fraser University was violating the fundamental principle of Academic Freedom did the university reverse its months-long position supported by its Canadian (in fact, Vancouver Island born) president William Saywell.
Did professor Zaslov and some of his ardent supporters receive encouragement from the CIA? That is a question to which we may never find an answer.

In Vancouver in the 1960s and beyond U.S. immigrants strongly carrying the message of U.S. culture were everywhere. Stan Persky, Jack Spicer, George Stanley, J. Michael Yates, Jane Rule, Helen Zontoff, Warren and Ellen Tallman - fifty percent of the teachers in SFU’s English Department and a heavy percentage at UBC recently from the U.S.A. In fact, a graduate student from UBC who entered a graduate class I was teaching at Carleton University in Ottawa told me he had done an honours degree in literature at UBC and had never once been taught by a Canadian.
Knowing critics suggest that the best interpretive essay on George Bowering’s work has come from Robin Blaser, a missionary for U.S. poetic theory. Blaser was among the U.S. people for whom Canada and British Columbia were wiped out in a proposition that life in B.C. was lived in the  “Pacific Nation”  from Alaska to California. Perhaps not strangely, the definers of that nation were all from the U.S.A. The young Canadians who made up the Tish group were militantly in favour of U.S. influence. In his book Craft Slices (1985) George Bowering looks back to the time when some nice people in California provided the wherewithal to make possible the Tish poetry publication about to be founded (1961-69). The little sheet was probably not significant enough to be backed by the CIA. Though Bowering writes that the nice Americans wanted to see poetry get started in Canada, plainly meaning U.S. poetry.
Bowering and his friends used the Tish publication to attack Canadian poetic traditions and to attempt to replace them with poetics from the U.S.A. That is not surprising, perhaps, considering Bowering wrote that he wished he had grown up American. That attitude was paralleled across the country and across the sea by novelist and essayist Mordecai Richler, who made the same kind of statements as Bowering. Richler’s biographer, Charles Foran, tells his reader that Richler thought the border between the two countries silly. Richler, says Foran, in addition  “believed himself a proxy American.” 

In 1970 Warren Tallman, a U.S. citizen who didn’t want Canadian citizenship was appointed a judge for the Governor General’s literary awards. It was a strange appointment for a self-confessed Anarchist to take on – to represent the Queen’s representative in Canada. The appointment was challenged publicly. It was challenged because in the West of Canada there were many excellent people who had spent their lives working in the literature of the country – Canadians. They were by-passed for a U.S. citizen who didn’t want Canadian citizenship. As a result, the whole process of judging the awards was reviewed and changed. Tallman was enraged. He attacked me in articles – and eventually, later, hired a hall in order to create an event in which he could devote himself, publicly, to that attack. Tallman was a fierce fighter in the cause of erasing Canada. He said in one article that people were going to have to get used to things like his appointment – meaning that U.S. people would be taking over major cultural positions in Canada.
Strangely, members of the Tish group didn’t only preach the superiority of U.S. traditions and patterns of thought, they also attacked Canadians who were in no way engaged in dispute with them. Frank Davey excelled in the viciousness of  “Tish”  attack. How to explain the attack on Earle Birney in the little book, Earle Birney, Davey published in 1971 with Copp Clark? Almost all the things the Tish group and their U.S. puppeteers preached as desirable Earle Birney carried out in his poetry (and more) – before any of them appeared on the scene. He wrote of the local. He wrote of place. He fixed place brilliantly in simple language. He was experimental, attempting to catch the exact rhythm of speech – and succeeding in doing so. But he was a Canadian poet in the Canadian tradition. He made ridiculous the essence of the Tish group’s dependency on U.S. mentors, and puppeteers, and  “breathing” , and other nonsense mantras. All that they had of unique quality – if truth were to be told – was their colonial subservience.
Earle Birney had to be removed if the U.S. tradition was to be paramount in B.C. and Canada. And so – Frank Davey’s book appeared. It was so bad, so vicious, so calculatingly insulting that I wrote a note to Birney. I had been his student. We didn’t like each other much. But I knew he was a major Canadian poet … and will be a major Canadian poet. What on earth could have happened I asked Birney? He replied that Frank Davey had approached him as a warm admirer, had gained an invitation to visit, had taped and taped and taped relentlessly. And then Davey had taken the hours and hours of tape and used whatever he could find in them to insult and to denigrate Earle Birney in the book. Birney said that the invasion, the deception, were so awful that he had written a full account and archived it in his collection of papers in the Robarts Library of the University of Toronto,  “for the record.”  In a way, though, Warren Tallman won in the short term. In the year (1970) when he was a judge of the Governor General’s Awards for literature, his acolyte George Bowering won an award for two of his books of poetry.

In Eastern Canada more subtle rejections of Canada and its traditions were being played out in the 1960s. By 1962 Northrop Frye was a major cultural figure commenting on almost everything. He sat across the University of Toronto campus from Marshall McLuhan, attracting a different kind of student than McLuhan – and a great deal of public and media attention. He had published The Anatomy of Criticism in 1957, an important and influential book that brought him fame and popular attention. The CBC asked him to present a series of lectures in the 1962/63 Massey Lecture series. The six lectures Frye delivered nationally were called The Educated Imagination. Here was a leading Canadian scholar of international reputation delivering a series of lectures on the imagination and literature to the Canadian audience. In six hours of lecture Frye did not name a single Canadian author or work.
Quite clearly, for Frye, Canadian literature – as meaningful expression – didn’t exist. As if to underscore that proposition he always discouraged the teaching of Canadian literature unless it was tucked into a study of literature generally. And when he was asked (as the reigning literary scholar in Canada) to write the final essay in the 1965 Literary History of Canada – its  “Conclusion”,  Frye agreed. To prevent anyone from being carried away with enthusiasm at the thought of the major book produced on English Canadian literature, Frye commended the authors of the book for simply setting out what had happened in Canadian literature. They could not, he opined, have sought for excellence in the literature. If they had done so, he wrote

 “this book would, if written at all, have been only a huge debunking project, leaving Canadian literature a poor naked alouette plucked of every feather of decency and dignity.”
 
Frye’s obvious dissatisfaction with Canadian literature was shared by the young, coming author, Mordecai Richler. He was to become famous for his outspoken contempt for Canada, for most of its literature, and for anyone working for the country’s independence and viability. Richler presents a huge puzzle. A  “proxy American”,  he left Canada for Europe around the age of twenty. He didn’t really return to Canada – to live – until twenty-two years later. Nonetheless, he became the Canadian-hater abroad. His journalism from Europe taught disdain for Canada, which he termed a desert. He wrote, in his novels, about Canada because, one gathers, he felt so scarred by his milieu in Montreal that it spilled out whenever he put pen to paper. There, a fictional Canada comes alive.  But he wrote in his critical prose, his articles and essays, very often, to denigrate Canada.
The strangest things about his biography, written by Charles Foran, are the huge gaps Foran leaves. Mordecai, The Life and Times is a hagiography, a work of devotion and adulation. It is worth considering here because its research received the full support of the Richler family, and it is considered authoritative.  The biography gives itself away. Foran leaves out much of what matters. In a way it is a fantasized, fictionalized accounting that takes its place in the new Canada as neo-liberal community. Foran leaves out the reality of Richler’s personality. And he leaves out  “the times” … named in the title of the book. Richler’s  “times”  in Canada were times when he was aspersed by many for his anti-Canadianism. That could hardly be otherwise. At the moment he returned, in 1972, the country was alive with rejection of the old colonial hatred of home which Richler made incarnate. At least one negative article was written about his return. None of that is mentioned by Charles Foran. He completely voids his biography of any of the reality in Canada when Mordecai returned, and he reports nothing of the attitude to his return. Foran writes nothing about the vitality and the creation of cultural and other organizations at the time, which, in fact, created the milieu into which Richler stepped when he returned. Foran writes of the universities Richler visited, not mentioning the university/artist connection would have been almost impossible only a few years before.

The independence movement was changing the attitude in Canada to its own artists . One might say Foran writes of Mordecai Richler, making sure the reader will not be aware of the real tensions and social forces in the country that were almost palpable when he returned, and most certainly made up Richler’s  “times”.
Charles Foran has received award upon award for his biography of Mordecai Richler. Welcome to colonial Canada. As I have written already, the neo-liberal historians are unconcerned about fact. What is important is the propaganda image projected as part of the policy to shape a new reality in Canada.

The facts of Mordecai Richler’s  “rise” parallel the cultural activities of the CIA almost exactly. Mordecai was in Europe and England, writing of the stupidity of Canada and Canadians. The CIA, at the same time, was creating and financing a U.S. propaganda journal, the posh Anglo-American journal Encounter, as well as pushing forward U.S. cultural designs everywhere. One of those designs was to attach non-U.S. people to U.S. policy intentions. What better way to do it than to get those people to have contempt for their own countries and to look upon the U.S.A. as the desired land. Mordecai Richler had already set up the U.S.A. as a wonderplace. What would the CIA do with a young Canadian in England aspiring to be a major Canada-hater? Perhaps the CIA would help him out a little.
When the 1960s arrived, Mordecai Richler began to get wonderful access to U.S. publications. He soon began to get contracts to write for film. He appeared in leading U.S. magazines … and other ones. He even, later, in 1973, got a very lucrative place on the committee of people who ran The Book of the Month Club. The first and only Canadian. The U.S. magazines that liked him and paid him very large sums seemed to want his attacks on Canada, his mindless vituperations about Quebec, his trivializing of Canadian “personalities”.  His mindless vituperations about Quebec disregarded history and  “the times”  he lived in. That was no problem for his biographer who places Richler’s ahistorical attacks on Quebec in a haze that makes them seem to have substance – giving them a legitimacy that many Quebecers think is fallacious.
Remember Frances Stonor Saunders writing that the CIA, at its peak, had influence in something more than 800 magazines, newspapers, and public information organizations. Remember she wrote that the CIA put its agents into publishing houses, film companies … everywhere. Remember she pointed out – as did an agent of the CIA – that people who were doing the work of the CIA didn’t even have to know they were being backed, financed, given assignments and contracts. If they were saying the right things, all the CIA had to do was make sure they had places to say those things. Mordecai flourished. He returned to Canada. He soon bought a house in expensive Westmount, Montreal. Then he bought a summer place on Quebec’s fashionable lake with the anglo-nobs of Quebec, on Lake Memphramagog. And he put his children – whenever possible – into private schools that cost plenty. Nothing was impossible for this brilliant man who had gained access to so many sources that paid very, very well. His ardent admirers will say that Mordecai Richler rose to his position of approval on the basis of sheer brilliance and genius – and they may be right.
The mood of the times was a strange mood. Canadians were fighting for Canada … and many of the U.S. migrants to Canada were fighting against it with, alas, Canadian supporters. Those with good ears could hear echoes of the War of 1812 and the Commercial Union Movement of the 1880s. One of my U.S. colleagues at Carleton University (who did not take Canadian citizenship) gave speech after speech to high school students to the effect that  “nationalism”  always ends up doing things like the Nazis did in Munich, smashing and burning the homes and businesses of Jews. He was also the CBC Radio drama critic for Ottawa and unfailingly panned productions by The Great Canadian Theatre Company (founded 1975) which devotes its work solely to the creation and production of Canadian plays.

A scholar who hardly managed to produce a few letters to the editor in his career, he was named an Associate Editor on the production of the lavish 1976 book, Between Friends/Entre Amis,  “Canada’s official bicentennial gift to the people of the United States.”  He joined a group at the university that, by whisper campaign, tried to have a professor supporting the Canadianization Movement named (libelously) an anti-semite. That, if successful, would have tarred the whole group and its purpose. It was a brilliant tactic. The vicious and baseless whisper campaign was only stopped by a visit to the president of the university and a threat of legal action against the group. Then their slander disappeared as suddenly as it had surfaced. Tiring of his persistence in anti-Canadianism, I confronted him one day.  “Charles”,  I said,  “you do the work of the CIA. Do you do it out of love, or are you paid for your work?” Charles looked as if he had been hit by a baseball bat. He fumbled. Then he said:
 “The Embassy calls me every Christmas. But I’ll have nothing to do with them.”

U.S. Embassies around the world frequently have spies employed. They are given cover jobs, embassy ‘duties’, but they are there at the Embassy to spy and/or to direct spying in the country where the Embassy is located. The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa called my colleague every year, he informed me. As it doubtless did many other U.S. migrants to Canada, some of whom – we may assume – were happy to co-operate with  “the Embassy.”  When colleagues of James Steele and I found themselves at U.S. Embassy events, they were often taken aside by Embassy aides and grilled about The Canadianization Movement. And they were urged to have nothing to do with the “extreme nationalists” James Steele and Robin Mathews. Many visitors to the U.S. Embassy said nothing afterwards. But there were a few who made sure that Steele and I knew of the pressure being exerted by employees of the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
Culture matters. The CIA and U.S. Embassy employees in Ottawa knew that culture matters.
A complex set of events which must be called a cultural trend, though not related directly to what we think of as the arts and culture, was the huge support in Canada for the U.S. deserters and draft dodgers from the Vietnam War who began pouring into the country in the mid and later 1960s. Already memory is fading about the largeness of that activity. University and college teachers recently arrived from the U.S.A. made up the majority of early organizers who worked to support and assist the Draft Dodgers, as they were generally called.  U.S. professors pressed to have the new arrivals admitted to universities and colleges. One, a philosopher at the University of Windsor, took to radio to tell Canadians they had a moral duty to admit just arrived draft dodgers into graduate programs in Canada.
Their effect on the culture was, for the most part, an  “Americanizing”  effect – and often innocently. The biggest issue in the minds of the mostly young migrants, often, was their own condition away from their homeland and families. They talked about it, wrote about it, broadcast about it, and had drop-in centres for the like-minded … to talk about it. They created and operated a magazine called Amex Canada concerned with the condition of the U.S. migrants.  Mark Satin, a recent arrival to Canada wrote the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada

in 1968 (Anansi Press) which is believed to have sold 100,000 copies. To this day, materials on the Vietnam War migrants in Canada is almost wholly enthusiastic, positive – even adulatory.  When I wrote at the height of the influx in Canadian Dimension magazine suggesting they would be a great deal more effective if they stayed home, went to jail, and joined the U.S. anti-war movement in the U.S.A. – the thousands coming to Canada - the magazine added a note that my article was a personal expression of opinion.
    The Canadian poet Marya Fiamengo Hardman was driving through the interior of British Columbia where she picked up two hitch-hikers at the height of the influx.  They were draft dodgers, they told her.  She gathered from their attitude they believed they expected praise for their courageous stand.  She remarked quietly that if the same thing happened in Canada she would stand her ground, fight, and go to jail here if necessary. She told them she wasn’t sure that leaving the fight was the most courageous thing to do.

    There seems to have been a general Canadian reluctance to consider the larger cultural implications of the influx, its draining effect upon the anti-war movement in the U.S., its effect on opportunity for Canadians in the higher education system, and its general tendency to make U.S. events more important than Canadian events. At one level, the huge sympathy the migrants received from Canadians speaks of the generous openness that exists in this country. At another level it may point to a colonial mindedness that automatically sees any major U.S. issue as a major Canadian one – and sees it as even more important to Canadians than Canadian issues.  Over the years many of the migrants moved into Canadian life and into Canadian arts and letters. None distinguished himself by taking a strong and influential position on behalf of Canadian independence.

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Chapters 9-10 tomorrow


The Straight Goods

Cheers Eyes Wide Open

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