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“Communist Jailed As Church Robber,” Montreal Gazette. October 18, 1938. Page 10. 

R. Lepage Gets Seven Years After Pleading Guilty to Over 20 Charges

Pleading guilty yesterday to more than 20 charges of theft from churches in Montreal and surrounding districts, Roland Lepage, 28, alias Fred Way, self-styled Communist, will serve the next seven years in St. Vincent de Paul penitentiary as the result of sentences imposed upon him in Police Court.

The accused objected to being charged with breaking and entering the churches, telling the court ‘that when the door is open and you walk in that is not breaking.’ The charges were amended to read plain theft and the accused pleaded guilty.

Lepage was given three five-year-terms by Judge Maurice Tetreau on three charges of theft, the three sentences to run concurrently. Brought before Judge Guerin, he was given two years on each of 21 charges of theft, the sentences to run concurrently but he will begin to serve these sentences only after he has completed the five-year term.

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“Charge of Complicity In Breaking ‘Padlock’,” Ottawa Citizen. July 25, 1938. Page 03.

Two Men Who Tried to Wire Constables Inside Their Own Car Escape But Man Who Helped Them Charged With ‘Complicity After the Fact.’

Canadian Press.
QUEBEC, July 25. – F. X. Lessard, self-styled ‘only living Communist to break open a Duplessis padlock for Communists.’ remained in the cells today while friends considered means of raising bail of $1,200 set Saturday by Judge Hugues Fortier when the 40-yer-old carpenter appeared before him on a charge of ‘willfully breaking a provincial law.’

Behind bars also was Henri Beaulieu, the man police charged with ‘complicity after the fact’ in the escape of two men who tried to imprison guards in their automobile Friday while Lessard entered the home authorities padlocked two days before because of the carpenters alleged Communistic activities.

When police went to the six-room Lessard dwelling last Tuesday to advise the family the flat would be locked up for a year under the special law aimed at halting the spread of Communism, it was the authorities’ third visit to homes occupied by the carpenter. Twice before they had seized literature from Lessard’s dwellings.

Away at work when police told Mrs. Lessard the family would have to evacuate the premises ‘within 24 hours,’ the carpenter again was absent when two detectives arrived the following day to execute the withdrawal order. His blue-eyed, middle aged wife and two children were marched from their home singing the ‘Internationale’ and the ‘Young Guard’ after refusing to remove their furniture. 

Two policemen immediately were detailed to guard the abandoned flat, located in to the top of a tall building below steep St. Sauveur cliff.

Curious lookers-on frequently engaged the two guarding officers in casual conversation and the police saw nothing to arouse their suspicions when two men approached their parked car Friday ostensibly for a chat.

But the officers were startled suddenly to notice their ‘callers’ slyly were binding the car’s doors with strong wire and when the guards attempted to seize the men the pair fled – just as Lessard walked along the sidewalk, pulled open a street door, and ran up three flights of stairs to his former home.

Drawing revolvers, the policemen followed and on reaching the top of the stairs they found the ‘padlocks’ (official seals of Quebec province) had been smashed. Lessard, calmly walking about the kitchen, made no resistance to arrest.

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“Soviet Tombstone Disgrace, Slap In Face, Says Veterans,” Toronto Star. July 14, 1948. Page 03.

Special to The Star
Kitchener, July 14 – Waterloo Mount Hope cemetery’s ‘Soviet’ tombstone brought a volume of protest at a general meeting of the Kitchener-Waterloo branch, Canadian Legion, last night.

One legionnaire termed it ‘a slap in the face to all veterans’ and ‘a disgrace to the Twin Cities.’

Several suggestions from the floor recommended that the tombstone ‘be blown up,’ ‘smashed with a sledgehammer’ or ‘pulled over with a rope.’

The legion decided to contact the Waterloo park board and request the board to keep them informed as to what action they were taking.

Indignation has been aroused in several quarters over the tombstone which flaunts the Russian hammer and sickle emblem. The radical philosophy inscribed on the stone first became generally known some days ago, when it was noticed by a Twin Cities minister.

Chris Schondelmayer, chairman of the cemetery committee of the Waterloo park board, said he intends to bring the matter before the park board commissioners at the next general meeting.

‘A thing like that should not be let stand in a Christian cemetery,’ a legionnaire said.

The hammer and sickle is surmounted by a five-point star set in the middle of the stone. Around the top are inscribed the words ‘Workers of the World Unite.’ The verse reads ‘Mourn not the dead but rather the apathetic throng who see the world’s great anguish and its wrongs, and yet dare not speak.’

The deceased man, Morris Wehansky, on whose tombstone the Russian emblem is inscribed, died several years ago.

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EARLY in September, 1940, two men rented a room

in the home of Dr. Samuel Levine, research associate in geophysics at the University of Toronto, who has worked at Princeton, Pennsylvania and Cincinnati Universities in the United States and at the University of Cambridge in Great Britain and who is an authority on the forces controlling the stability of coloidal solutions. The men obtained permission to use a table in Dr. Levine’s dining room for typing. Two weeks later, the police staged a midnight raid on the house and arrested the two roomers as Communists, also seizing a few pamphlets they found in the dining room. One of the arrested men, named Ehrlich, testified that these pamphlets were his property and not that of Dr. Levine. Nevertheless, the police two days later arrested Dr. Levine in his laboratory at the university for ‘possession of documents intended or likely to cause disaffection to His Majesty.’

Dr. Levine was tried before a police magistrate and without a jury. His roomers testified that Dr. Levine knew nothing of their affairs, nor of the pamphlets. In spite of this testimony, the judge on October 10, 1940, sentenced Dr. Levine to six months’ imprisonment. An appeal, heard on December 11, 1940, and again without a jury, was denied. At the appeal Professor Samuel Beatty, dean of the Faculty of Arts and head of the department of mathematics, and Professor E. F. Burton, head of the department of physics at the university, testified on Dr. Levine’s behalf.

When three months of the sentence had been served, a request was made for remission of the sentence, supported by four leading professors at the university, all of whom had been Dr. Levine’s teachers. These were Professor A. T. DeLury, retired dean of the Arts Faculty; Professor J. L. Synge, head of the department of applied mathematics, and Professors Beatty and Burton. President H. J. Cody, of the university, and A. W. Roebuck, Member of Parliament for the district, also supported the request, which nevertheless was denied. Dr. Levine was released from the Ontario Reformatory at Guelph on May 15, 1941. He was immediately taken into custody by mounted police and sent to an internment camp, without being permitted to communicate with his family.

A determined struggle to obtain the release of her husband was then undertaken by Mrs. Levine. Editorials and articles on behalf of Dr. Levine appeared in many Canadian papers and he received the sympathetic support of many individuals in academic and public life. The American Association of Scientific Workers began to investigate the case following a request for aid by Mrs. Levine, and entered into correspondence with the Dominion Minister of Justice. According to the latter, Dr. Levine was interned on the Minister’s orders, by virtue of powers granted under the Defense of Canada Act, ‘to prevent him from acting in a manner prejudicial to the public safety.’

In spite of all protests, nearly three months elapsed before there was held the first hearing on the internment, and another month before the character hearing, both hearings being held ‘in camera.’ Finally, still another month later, Dr. Levine was unconditionally released. Additional support was received at these hearings from Professor H. Eyring, of Princeton University, and from Dr. Levine’s former colleagues at Cambridge. The importance of Dr. Levine’s scientific work was stressed as an added reason for his release.

Sir William Mulock, chancellor of the University of Toronto, and former Chief Justice of Canada, presented at these hearings a brief summarizing his study of the original trial. He characterized the evidence as inadequate and criticized the conduct of the trial judge.

Therefore, it appears that Dr. Levine was sentenced to prison, and to have remained with his internment a prisoner for nearly a year, because the trial judge and the Minister of Justice committed acts leading to a miscarriage of justice. They were enabled to act thus because the Defense of Canada Act, adopted in war hysteria, is harsh and undemocratic. Great Britain, closer than is Canada to the war’s dangers, has not found such laws necessary. For example, possession in Canada of Communist pamphlets freely printed in Britain is an offense, as is membership in the Communist Party. American scientists are well aware through reading Nature of the free and active discussions on Marxism, socialism and dialectical materialism which are engaging the interests of British scientists. It is ironical that Dr. Levine incurred the enmity of the Fascists interned in the camp so that he was in danger of physical harm, and was transferred to another camp by the authorities.

Dr. Levine’s devotion to his work is exemplified by the fact that he continued as best as he could under at times brutal treatment his research work in geophysics and practically completed the mathematical treatment of a complex problem in the theory of electrical transients as applied to the exploration of subsurface formations. He is now seeking reinstatement, which rests with the Board of Governors, is not yet assured in spite of support by eminent colleagues.

The injustice to which Dr. Levine has been subjected through a year of baseless imprisonment may be continued unless the pressure of scientific opinion is exerted in his behalf. The success of the previous efforts by scientists in obtaining Dr. Levine’s release augurs well for success in obtaining his reinstatement. The continuation of Dr. Levine’s scientific work is particularly important now, since his geophysical researches promise to contribute significantly to the success of the Canadian war efforts in the international fight against Fascism. The scientists of the United States, as citizens of a country which is also pledged to cooperation in this fight, have the right to expect that Dr. Levine’s training and abilities will be fully utilized by Canada in the aid of our joint efforts.

– Harry Grundfest, Office of the National Secretary of the American Association of Scientific Workers, Science. Published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Vol. 94, No. 2446 (Nov. 14, 1941). pp. 461-462.

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“For reasons of timing, as much as anything else, CCYM activities were
shaped to an extraordinary extent by the Communist Party. The CCF had been founded during the ‘‘third period,’’ and the CPC dutifully
denounced the new political formation in hyperbolic terms as ‘‘social
fascist.’’ A couple of years later, the CCYM’s emergence coincided with
the beginnings of the CPC’s turn to the People’s Front policy. This
affected the CCYM in several important ways. Both the CCYM and the
YCL were rivals for the support of young workers, but with the Popular
Front policy, the decline of Communist sectarianism, and increasing
willingness to engage with liberals, church-goers, and the middle class
more generally (along with, of course, the traditional constituency of
workers), the Communists’ broadened gaze increasingly coincided with
the CCYM’s. The CCF was famously suspicious of working with the Communist
Party, at least officially, yet CCF leaders recognized the danger

of their perceived abstention and often allowed members to participate
in ‘‘immediate struggles’’ with the Communist Party. Among the most
successful of all the Popular Front movements were those specifically
comprising youth. The Youth Congress against War and Fascism, and
subsequently the Canadian Youth Congress, was extraordinarily successful
in mobilizing young people from a range of organizations
and political viewpoints.

The declared aim of the Popular Front was to fight the twin threats
of war and fascism, issues that appealed to young people who felt
particularly vulnerable. An initiative of the YCL, the Youth Congress
against War and Fascism attracted members of the YMCA, Jewish,
Catholic, and Protestant organizations, as well as farm and labour
groups. It also attracted the CCYM. T.C. Douglas, a national figure in
the CCYM, accepted an invitation to address the 275 delegates at Youth
Congress against War and Fascism in Toronto in early August 1934. Not surprisingly, given the CCF’s troubled history with the cpc, the
parent organization very quickly challenged this relationship. The ccf
leadership felt that the youth had to toe the line, although cracks
emerged within the adult organization, with many older labour socialists
open to the idea of a working-class alliance.

CCYM units had diverse reasons to be wary of collaboration with the
Communist Party. For many, the compromises of the Communists’
Popular Front strategy conflicted with their Marxism. They saw Stalinists’
appeal to pacifism, reflected in the language of the League against
War and Fascism, as a dangerous concession to liberals who did not
understand the full threat of fascism and the importance of socialism
as an alternative to the capitalist crisis that had bred both militarism
and right-wing movements. This was particularly true of the BC CCYM.
who felt themselves to have, ‘‘perhaps,’’ a ‘‘more revolutionary outlook,
even a keener discipline than some other provincial units,’’ but they
were able to point to CCYM groups in North Toronto, Winnipeg, Moose
Jaw, and Regina whose ‘‘positions on all issues has been consistent
and Marxist.’’ Other CCYMers criticized the CCF leadership for organizational
sectarianism toward the Communists, for placing the interests
of the federation ahead of broader struggles. Given the diversity of the
CCF and its youth movement, a variety of responses to the broadening
movements of the mid-1930s would emerge from the CCYM.

This was apparent in the emerging Canadian Youth Congress,
which came to replace the youth section of the League against War
and Fascism. While CCYM participation in the League against War
and Fascism was uneven and episodic, they found themselves pulled
much further into the workings of the CYC. The CYC was the most successful
Popular Front initiative undertaken by the Communists both
in size and breadth. The first Youth Congress, held in Toronto in
May 1935, represented 162,000 young people in ‘‘all’’ political parties,
church groups, athletic clubs, and social organizations; the 500 delegates
at the 1936 Congress represented ‘‘well over’’ 750,000. These
astounding figures are explained by the composition of the movement.
The first congress was addressed not only by Communist leader
Tim Buck and by James Woodsworth, but by Liberal and Conservative
politicians as well. The executive of the Winnipeg CYC (Canadian
Youth Council, as local branches of the congress were known) included
future CCF Member of Parliament Alistair Stewart and future Manitoba
Communist leader Bill Ross, but also the future Conservative premier
of Manitoba, Duff Roblin. The Saskatchewan CYC was, if anything,
even more socially diverse, with representatives from the regular political,
labour, farm, and church groups, as well as Doukhobors, Metis,
and the Jewish ‘‘Young Judaeans.’’

What was remarkable and reflective of the initiative gained by the
left broadly conceived was that, in spite of its size and breadth, the
CYC was clearly an organization of the left. With only eight dissenting
votes (largely Social Crediters), the 1935 Congress passed resolutions
condemning capitalism as well as tracing war and unemployment to
the functioning of the capitalist system. What made all of this possible
was the CPC’s turn. Ontario CCYMer Murray Cotterill articulated succinctly
the role of the YCL:  

Where two years ago, [the Communists] would have ‘‘ruled or broken,’’
now they seem to have laid down with the lion of capitalism. Standing rigidly
erect for God Save the King, modestly refusing to allow more than one Y.C.L.
delegate to stand for office, although allowing the usual profusion of Workers’
Unity League, Unemployed Youth Councils, etc., who, of course are ‘‘nonpolitical’’
and even voting for a place on the Continuation Committee for
Young Conservatives, the Commies seem to have adopted every one of the
alleged vices with which the C.C. F. was contaminated a few years ago, and to
have added a considerable amount of class collaboration to boot. It is some
zig-zag that the Third International has just taken.

The strengths and weaknesses of the Communists’ Popular Front
strategy were apparent to most CCYMers. Vastly more young people
were mobilized than either the YCL or the CCYM would have been able
to engage on their own; this was the rationale behind the CCF acceptance
of the participation in a Communist-associated movement. The
problem of the CYC was that it engaged huge numbers of young people
but, arguably, was incapable of offering them any useful direction.

CYC congresses, both national and provincial, were valuable venues
for debate and discussion. Developing a common program and plan
for action, however, would potentially demonstrate how fragile the
organization was. Certainly the Communists argued for the broadest
basis of unity possible (even including delegates from the Canadian
Union of Fascists, at one point). In response, in 1935 CCF trade unionist
Al Desser tried and failed to get the congress to explicitly oppose
fascism, and the following year the Trotskyist Revolutionary Youth
League, along with some unionists, resigned in protest against their
continued attendance. In 1937 the challenges of inclusivity emerged
in another way. The annual congress was held in Montreal, and the
Quebec delegation, comprising mostly Catholic youth organizations,
put forward a list of conservative demands as a precondition to their
participation. The CYC was to condemn all ‘‘subversive doctrines,’’

affirm the existence of God, declare the right of individuals to private
property, and seek social peace between social classes. For the first
time the YCL and the CCYM delegates met together in caucus to determine
a response and concluded that they had little option but to
accede. The Communists’ Daily Clarion celebrated the spirit of unity,
arguing that ‘‘the congress, with such diverse views present, was not
the place to present the case for socialism.’’ The Montreal Star lauded
the ‘‘true statesmen’’ for their response to the ‘‘ultra-nationalistic’’
French-Canadian groups. The trajectory was clear. Immediately afterwards,
the Thunder Bay Youth Council opted not to condemn the
Padlock Law (generally seen by the CCF as emblematic of the threat of
domestic fascism) in order not to alienate Catholics.

Such concessions were rooted in the logic of the Popular Front,
which placed unity ahead of a political program. Violet Anderson, a
delegate of the Youth Unit of the League of Nations Society, gave great
credit to the Communists for steering the CYC away from its explicit
critique of capitalism in 1936 (while admitting that the chair was
‘‘somewhat tyrannical’’ in prohibiting any discussion of the question). CCYMers, not surprisingly, were of various minds. Some, like CYC co-chair Kenneth Woodsworth, Student Christian Movement activist
and nephew of J.S. Woodsworth, were entirely onside. Surveying the
movement at the end of the decade, he argued that youth, at least
in the CYC, exercised a greater pragmatism than their parents. ‘‘The
Youth Congress ‘platform’ is not an attempt to provide any panacea
for our economic ills. Proposals for extension of educational opportunities,
technical training, employment projects, recreation, etc… .
seem to many older people to be disappointingly mild. Where is the
much vaunted radicalism of our modern youth? It would be hard
to find.’’ At least, one could add, in the CYC.

In general, however, CCYMers were more interested in winning
the CYC to a more explicitly socialist program. While a vaguely anticapitalist
statement was passed at the Toronto Youth Congress 1936,

for instance, a CCYM resolution calling for social planning, the socialization
of industry and finance, and the encouragement of co-operatives
as alternatives to capitalism were defeated.68 ccymers were at odds
over how to proceed. In the Calgary Youth Council, for instance, a very
public debate emerged between CCYMers. Alberta CCYM Vice-President
Tom Roberts felt that the CYC should be more explicitly socialist, while
CCYMers in the Alberta CYC leadership disagreed. Gertrude Gillander,
the secretary of the Alberta CYC, having recently played a role in
cementing Junior United Farmers of Alberta support for the congress,
wanted to distance the CYC from its initial reputation as a ‘‘red
breeding ground.’’ And provincial CYC President Margaret Archibald
defended the concessions to the Quebec delegates in front of William
Irvine and J.S. Woodsworth, who ‘‘both expressed their disapproval
of ‘our’ attitude towards the French Canadians. They both say that all
socialistic minded youth sacrificed all they stood for in order to get the
French Canadians interested.’’

No doubt many CCYMers felt the same and questioned the purpose
of building the CYC as it seemed to bring Canadian youth no closer to
an understanding of socialism. Tom Roberts, for instance, was far
from isolated; he was chosen Western Canadian officer for the CCYM by the 1938 National CCYM convention. Most CCYMers do not seem
to have bought Kenneth Woodsworth’s or Margaret Archibald’s Popular
Frontism and either abandoned CYC activities or struggled valiantly
to politicize CYC gatherings. This was particularly the case as the Communists’
growing support for collective security contrasted with the
CCYM’s refusal to support, or participate in, ‘‘another imperialist war,’’
and, indeed, willingness to take advantage of a ‘‘revolutionary situation’’
that a war could provoke. Those CCYMers who continued to take part
in the CYC were, according to David Lewis, perceived as ‘‘cantankerous
and doctrinaire’’ by church groups and other CYC participants whom
the CCYM was presumably trying to attract.”

– James Naylor, “Socialism for a New Generation: CCF Youth in the Popular Front Era.” The Canadian Historical Review, Volume 94, Number 1, March 2013, pp. 67-72

Pamphlet cover is from the Canadian Youth Congress, 1936. Source.

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“Local radical groups
had watched the harvester movement with interest from the beginning.
The Worker, the Communist organ published in Toronto, long critical
of imperial migration policy as merely a ploy to dump unemployed
British industrial workers on the colonies, appeared to welcome the
harvester movement for the potential political points which could be
scored. The 5 September issue featured an editorial “Fifty
Thousand Men Wanted!” which foresaw problems with urban
unemployment once the harvest was over. A cartoon on the same subject
punctuated The Worker’s argument. Once the British were in Western
Canada, the paper was quick to recognize their plight as the 9
September feature story “Harvesters Exploited and Unscrupulously
Misled Dumped on Prairies Without Cent Government and Rail Companies
Responsible” announced.

The other major
radical newspaper, the One Big Union Bulletin, also stressed that the
British harvesters were the victims of misrepresentation but saw a
benefit to the working-class movement from their presence:

On the whole …
these our new countrymen are conscious of their status in society and
can be relied upon to stick with the rank and file movement of the
working class. It is but one more lesson to them of the ruthlessness
of capitalism and they will soon find their place among the militant
workers of Canada.

Once the
disappointed harvesters returned to Winnipeg, local radicals began a
street campaign to discredit the governments and the railways. The
One Big Union and the local Communist Party helped organize a
demonstration in Market Square to coincide with a letter-writing
campaign to newspapers throughout Canada, and worse still, in the
“Old Country” describing the harvesters’ predicament.
However, public officials were quick to try to extinguish this early
brush fire as they immediately announced jobs for the dissatisfied in
the bush or in railway construction at 20 cents an hour. Meanwhile,
the Saskatchewan government, with the most to lose if the harvest
were threatened through negative publicity, confronted the men right
at the rally with offers of $4.00-a-day jobs for those willing to
work. Reports indicate, however, that the offer was rejected unless
the men could 36 get signed contracts from employers on the spot.

The first flush of
protest faded quickly once the harvest was in full swing and with
reports of worker shortages and rising wages. Consequently, the
British harvesters were instrumental in taking off and storing the
largest crop on record, and many who persevered earned enough money
to send some home to their families.

The early protest
did have an effect, however, and even before the crop was off a
debate began on the merits of the movement and its possible
consequences. Aside from the general conclusion in many prairie
papers that the complainers were just urban slackers who were useless
for harvest work at any wages and should not have entered the
country, concern was expressed regarding the harvesters’ fate once
the crop was in. Reflective of those who believed, based on past
experience, that the country was courting trouble by letting them
stay was Saskatchewan Premier Charles Dunning who privately confided
that the best thing to do was to send them home after the harvest and thus avoid problems with winter work and urban unemployment The
majority opinion, however, reflected the hope that they would find
permanent farm work attractive and in the spring they would start
farming on their own using the services offered by the Soldiers’
Settlement Plan.

Since the optimistic
scenario had always been the plan, public agencies mobilized their
resources to place the British harvesters somewhere before winter set
in to stay. Provincial offices of the Employment Service of Canada,
through its central office in Ottawa, coordinated a national search
for vacancies and by mid-October reported that they had found 7846
farm jobs, 6334 openings in lumber camps, and 460 in railway
construction available, with wages ranging from $15.00 a month plus
board for farm work to $50.00 a month in the bush.

Since only 347 of
the nearly 12 thousand British harvesters departed Canada under the
30-day rule it must be assumed that the remainder did not qualify for
a cheap return fare or that they wished to exploit this
once-in-a-lifetime chance to cut ties with a dismal past. For
example, of the minority who had been given accommodation at the
Winnipeg Immigration Hall after the harvest, 4322 in all, 912 were
placed on farms as far away as Québec, another 160 went to the bush,
while 76 got work within one of the railways, and 98 accepted jobs as
general labourers. Others, however, had no intention of spending the
winter at such menial tasks and a few even “openly stated they
would go to gaol man accept farm and bush work.” They argued
that they were skilled tradesmen and they wanted appropriate
employment. Failing this, they threatened to spend the winter in one
of Winnipeg’s Immigration Halls. Finally the Department agreed to pay
the cheap harvest excursion rate to send a number to central Canada
where the prospect for industrial jobs appeared to be better.

Toronto alone
absorbed 1,700 of those men who arrived before the end of September
but later arrivals found the situation increasingly bleak with
widespread unemployment. Even jobs in the woods vanished because
employers found British harvesters too green. As one paper company
official lamented, while “it hardly seems right to be employing
Poles, Finns and other foreigners when Britishers are idle,” his
firm preferred specially imported workers for their superior
experience. Moreover, the prime farm jobs had also disappeared
leaving only those which hardly paid enough to sustain even a single
man, let alone one with dependents in Britain. To add to the problem
farmers demanded year-long contractual commitments so as to realize a
return on what they considered winter charity.

Farm work meant at
least bed and board in return for chores but for the men who remained
unemployed in the towns and the cities simple subsistence was a
serious problem. Help from municipal sources was out of the question
as some of the estimated 250 to 300 harvesters in Toronto discovered
when they were told they had to fulfill residence requirements to get
relief. Appeals to family and friends proved equally fruitless and
yet the government was loath to deport them because of the expense
involved. As a consequence, some resorted to panhandling and others
to petty theft to stay alive. Only the inordinately severe winter
saved more from these humiliating alternatives as a series of
snowstorms brought shovel work at 15-25 cents an hour. Even these
small mercies had their price, however, as three harvesters were
killed by a locomotive while working in the Canadian National Railway
yards during a blizzard.

Again, as in
Winnipeg, public response was surprisingly good. Church groups did
what they could for those of their own denominations supplemented by
the YMCA, the Salvation Army, and the Sisters of the House of
Providence. Occasionally even private citizens offered groups of
unemployed free restaurant meals, and some theatres showed free
movies to help them pass the time, indicating the degree of local
concern for the plight of the jobless. The British Welcome and
Welfare League, a kinship organization specifically dedicated to help
newcomers from the British Isles down on their luck, provided food,
lodging, and the amenities of “home” to SO harvesters, and,
with money secretly supplied by the federal and Ontario governments
and the two railways, it organized a “huge” Christmas
dinner for the men. However, the men discovered that they would not
be fed before they were marched to church to listen to a sermon on
the prodigal son.

Even this source of
help soon evaporated because the League’s money ran out shortly after
the new year. Since most of the harvesters stranded in Toronto came
with trade union experience, primarily as metal workers and allied
tradesmen from the Amalgamated Engineering Union, local labour and
leftist organizations were able to provide valuable assistance as
well. While their union travelling cards may have opened doors to
employment at other times, during the winter of 1923-24 they proved
useless in Toronto at least. However, the men’s trade union
affiliation provided an entré to the Labour Temple where they found
people genuinely sympathetic to their predicament and willing to
help. Toronto Trades and Labor Council (TTLC) Secretary William
Varley led a deputation, which included Tim Buck of the Communist
Party, to Toronto’s City Hall in mid-December to cast light on the
newcomers, while Varley alone arranged a meeting with officials from
the federal labour department and the Soldiers’ Settlement Board
where 142 unemployed British workers aired their grievances.

As time went on,
TTLC headquarters became especially important to the harvesters still
in Toronto. To those who had no other religious or fraternal
affiliation the building became a refuge, and a place to exchange
information necessary to survive in a strange place. In addition, the
Labour Temple became a focal point for the development of structures
which would lead eventually to efforts to alleviate the situation.

In the first
instance leadership and guidance for Toronto’s unemployed, the
British harvesters included, came from various groups either from
within or associated with organized labour. The Worker never allowed
the migrants’ plight to slip from sight and when winter set in the
paper featured a story describing in detail the conditions the men
were forced to endure in the city. Meanwhile, the Communist Party
helped the TTLC and remnants of the OBU to raise money, to convene
the Labour Forum to discuss the plight of the jobless, and to
organize demonstrations in Queen’s Park to focus attention
particulariy on their British brethren. In due course, however,
leaders from the ranks of the displaced Britishers themselves took
the initiative. One was William Leslie, already noticed by the
immigration officials and branded “a well-known red [sic].”
In all likelihood the RCMP security service had had him under
surveillance as soon as he had arrived in Canada. However, Leslie
acquired a local reputation as a disturber early in December after a
Labour Temple speech in which he declared that he and his colleagues
from Britain would mobilize the unemployed to sweep Canada’s “shining
bald heads” from power. Described by the Toronto Globe as
“loquacious and pedantic,” his efforts were largely
rhetorical until February 1924 when he broke a window at the
Immigration office to focus attention on the harvesters’ plight and
was arrested.

The second leader to
emerge was James Law, not a harvester at all but a marine engineer
from Dumbarton, Scotland who, after several visits to Canada, had
immigrated permanently with his family in the spring of 1923. An
ex-serviceman who had given up his right to a pension for $600 cash
in 1920, his work history, according to his surveillance file at
Immigration, alternated between unskilled jobs and unemployment
largely because of recurring trench foot.

Early in March, Law
and Leslie brought together some of Toronto’s British unemployed and
the harvesters to form The British Harvesters’ Immigrant Group, an
umbrella organization to formalize the protest. Initially the Group’s
goal was to find ways to draw attention to the rumoured mistreatment
of deportees by Immigration authorities. Their most notable effort
resulted in a question raised in the British House of Commons
concerning 21 harvesters who had been “imprisoned in cells and
deprived of fresh air and exercise” at the deportation centre in
Halifax. Group members, however, soon felt that something more
dramatic was necessary. This resulted in a new organization called
the Harvesters’ and Immigrants’ Union whose objective was a 300-mile
march from Toronto to Ottawa to confront the Prime Minister with a
demand for jobs at union rates. Until then they vowed not to accept
work under any circumstances.

At first, the
organizers hoped to convince not only the stranded harvesters but all
the British unemployed in the Ontario capital to make the two-week
trip, but, despite their shared experience, this proved futile since
the men differed markedly in background and aims. One difference,
according to inside sources, was religious: those who belonged to the
new union tended to be more secular in outlook and thus leaned toward
organized labour rather than church organizations for support
Meanwhile, the trek organizers’ uncompromising stance made unanimity
impossible since those whose principal desire was to find work
quickly dissociated themselves from the “labour [sic] Temple
group” fearing that the leaders of the trek, and especially
Leslie, “who inclined to Socialism,” could harm them by
saying too much.

Despite the apparent
divisions, organizers expected more than 60 people to march. However,
only 46 appeared at dawn on 15 March, dressed in great coats and
carrying bundles on their backs. They shuffled about nervously until
reporters appeared. Then they unfurled their banner specially created
for the occasion which bore the legend ‘Stranded British Harvesters
Starving in Land of Plenty’ between a sheaf of wheat in one comer and
a woman bent over, “presumably … suffering from hunger,”
in the other. Then Leslie and Low stressed the need for orderly
behaviour because their objective was to garner sympathy and not
provoke hostility. Finally they were divided into groups of ten with
Law in the lead and a Captain Graham in the rear and, in
“semi-military” formation, marched east towards West Hill
14 miles away. Meanwhile, Fred Fleming and Leslie went ahead to make
arrangements for food and lodging.

Government
authorities, who until this time had chosen to observe the activities
of the harvesters from a distance, suddenly decided that the march on
Ottawa was no trifling matter now that it was under way. If the
marchers achieved even some of their objectives they could contribute
appreciably to the political harm already done to Canada’s imperial
immigration and settlement policies. As a consequence, various
agencies instituted a coordinated damage-control strategy on several
fronts the day the march began in order to minimize its
effectiveness. First, the RCMP, with their new secret-service mandate
to collect information with which authorities could predict problems
and “permit arrangements being made to offset any intended
disturbance” were instructed by the justice minister to keep “in
touch with the situation.” Meanwhile, the immigration department
contacted the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and local police forces
with the request that they watch the marchers carefully and prosecute
any violations of the law they saw. In the same vein, immigration
officers were instructed to approach municipal officials along the
planned route to use "a little diplomacy” to find out what
they could about the men involved, and particularly when they had
come to Canada.

While the
immigration department sought to gather information by secret means,
some of its men were told to remain very visible to the marchers.
Immigration Minister James Robb gave precise instructions that his
department “arrange that these men are offered jobs at every
town, where they stop en route.” Towards this end Robert
McCheyne, an investigating officer with the Eastern Division
headquartered in Ottawa, along with E.L. Braithwaite of the Soldiers’
Settlement Board, were told to follow the march in full view of the
harvesters, armed with lists of farm and industrial jobs supplied by
Ontario agricultural officials and the Employment Service from places
along the entire route to Ottawa. Whenever possible they were to
offer work to the men and to invite applications “individually
and collectively” for the positions. If their efforts proved
successful the railways had agreed to transport applicants to their
new jobs for a one-cent-a-mile fare. Once placed on the job the men
could get a refund from their employers.

Even with
discussions to discuss local jobs with the fellow travellers, the
marchers made good time and by noon of the second day they had
passing Pickering, and they spent the night in Oshawa where they
found the public reception gratifying. City council offered bed and
board and the Salvation Army Juvenile Band provided musical
entertainment.

After Oshawa, the
adventure began to lose its lustre as monotony, improper footwear,
and poor conditioning took their toll. The military precision
suffered and delays became more frequent as the men sought ways to
ease their discomfort. Some of the trekkers even had to take the
train for short distances to get some relief while others accepted
rides from passing motorists because fatigue was common, as even the
march leaders admitted. It soon became apparent that their message
was more important than the march, so, to save themselves for the
miles still ahead the harvesters introduced an interesting ploy. By
delaying their departure from a community in the morning they would
arrive at another one short of their destination. Citizens there, who
were not prepared for their visit, gladly carried them to the
outskirts of their planned destination in cars and trucks where they
would disembark and walk the remaining distance “with banner
waving.”

Ever hopeful, the
government’s shadows interpreted the harvesters’ use of local
conveyances as a sign of waning resolve. Their regular reports
deemphasized public support in the communities along the way. In
fact, while some local editorial writers were critical of the
trekkers’ repeated refusal to accept work, reporters assigned to
cover the march often told a different story. A surprisingly apt
description came from a writer with a knowledge of working-class
history who [likened the] called the group a “miniature Coxey’s
army,” referring to the celebrated group of unemployed who
marched on Washington to seek relief from Congress in 1894. Most
reporters simply described what they saw: that the marchers were
imperial ex-servicemen with a legitimate complaint about the way they
had been treated.

By the time the
Harvesters’ and Immigrants’ Union reached Belleville, 90 miles from
Toronto, the daily routine had been established and the trek from
there through Napanee and Kingston was typical of most of the trip
both in terms of organization and response. The rank-and-file
trekkers did little else but march, eat, and sleep while Braithwaite
and McCheyne proceeded ahead to solicit jobs. There was little
interaction between them as trek leaders did most of the talking.
Only in Belleville did tempers flare momentarily when one marcher
turned on Braithwaite with a tirade that “he didn’t see any use
of our acting as spies on their movements any longer! He was fed up
with seeing us at every turn.” No doubt the report of a case of
scarlet fever from within their ranks helped contribute to the
stress.

Kingston, the
planned site of a major rally, offered some relief from the growing
tension as the men picked up forwarded mail and relaxed. Local
citizens who had concluded that the trekkers were a “good,
honest, clean-looking and an obedient and well-behaved lot”
responded with numerous gifts of cash, clothing, tobacco, and
entertainment Later two hundred showed up for the rally where more
money and clothing were proffered and gratefully accepted. As usual,
Braidiwaite and McCheyne came up virtually empty-handed due to the
depressed state of the local economy.

The trekkers
returned to the same boring daily routine once they turned norm.
Public reaction continued to be positive ahhough the men were worried
for a while when the mayor of Prescott initially refused to let the
men stop in his town because some marchers some years earlier had
caused considerable damage there. However, he eventually relented.
Meanwhile, the shadows continued to ferret out jobs to offer the men,
mostly on farms nearby, despite the futility of their efforts.

At Manotick, 15
miles from Ottawa, the advance men entered the capital to line up
food, lodging and contact-people willing eidier to support their
cause publicly Gike representatives of local organized labour and
politicians such as J.S. Woodswordi of the Labour Group), or at least
listen to their concerns. The trekkers’ propaganda was working. As
the distance to Ottawa diminished the level of interest from public
agencies increased even more. The OPP, for example, made every effort
to appear cooperative, even offering transportation between Gananoque
and Brockville. Meanwhile, officials of the immigration department,
the Soldiers’ Settlement Board, and the Employment Service stepped up
their job searches. Also, those  responsible for public relations
braced themselves to disprove the accusations made by the harvesters
on their home turf. At the same time members of the cabinet affected
appeared visibly shaken by the possible political consequences of the
trek, especially since the confrontational nature of some of the
leaders was well known. Immigration Minister Robb, for example,
wanted to avoid a meeting altogether, but he instructed his senior
officials that if he was cornered he would entertain only a small
delegation. In a similar vein, his deputy minister, W J. Egan, said
he would talk to the men only if Leslie was not in attendance “owing
to Leslie [sic] past record.”

The Ottawa people,
familiar with marches and demonstrations and perhaps hesitant to bite
die hands that fed them, were noticeably cooler toward the harvester
trekkers. There was no welcoming committee to greet the men, now down
to 31, as they trudged into the city with their banner on the last
day of March. The mayor and city controller merely directed a request
for help to Parliament which they saw as the real source of the men’s
difficulties. A desperate search finally resulted in supper at a
hotel courtesy of the Salvation Army and a roof for the night at the
Union Mission.“ The next day was little better as only two small
donations trickled in to defray expenses.

While rank-and-file
marchers were thus preoccupied with survival, trek leaders met with
Woodsworth on 1 April to arrange for their interview with the Prime
Minister and selected cabinet members. The feared confrontation
between the harvesters’ five-man delegation (Law, Fleming, Gallagher,
A. Constable and Alexander Milne) and Prime Minister King, J. A.
Robb, and Labour Minister James Murdock did not materialize as the
meeting was surprisingly cordial. In his introductory remarks the
wily King first complimented the men on their pluck in undertaking
the march. But, unable to resist an opportunity to throw a barb at
the imperial authority, he pointed out that a similar meeting would
have been impossible to arrange in the Old Country where government
was far less accessible to the governed.

In their turn, the
trekkers repeated the arguments they had made ever since leaving
Toronto: that they had come to Canada for the 1923 harvest because
they believed the railway recruiting agents who told them they could
get work at their respective urban trades after it was over, earn
enough to send money home, and eventually bring their families to
Canada. The farm work at $ 15.00 a month offered was grossly
inadequate. Moreover, such a wage was even hazardous to accept for
some of them since, under Scottish law, they could be convicted and
jailed for desertion and non-support if, on returning to the United
Kingdom, officials found that they had worked in Canada but had not
sent money home. Hence, they wanted decent work at a living wage or
outright government assistance.

King’s reply tried
to shift responsibility elsewhere: since Canada lacked an
unemployment scheme like that which operated in Britain, assistance
was out of the question. As for the alleged misrepresentation of
Canadian conditions, these had occurred overseas and he suggested mat
the marchers seek redress from that source. Meanwhile, they should
visit the local office of the Employment Service of Canada where
preparations had been made to process their work applications them.
Although "far from satisfied,” the organizers decided to
cooperate in hopes of having more fruitful discussions with the
government later.  

While the delegation
waited upon King’s cabinet, the organizing committee had to deal with
the more pressing problem of where the men could spend the second
night. A return to the Union Mission was out of the question after
its operators insulted the men by having the place fumigated
following their departure that morning. However, requests for
alternate accommodation directed at various Ottawa clergymen produced
no results. The Prime Minister had earlier offered to take two or
three into his personal care if they were destitute but for the
remainder who awaited word in Union Station the only prospect
appeared to be a night in a jail cell. Finally, however, the labour
minister relented and announced that his department would put up the
men for a single night at local hotels, the result being a frantic
bed-hunt by Law, Woodsworth and two reporters which eventually turned
up sufficient rooms in three Lower-Town hotels to house the men for
the night.

Since this was the
first night in a long time in a real bed, some of the hikers slept so
soundly that they missed Wednesday’s breakfast, also supplied by
Immigration, and had to scramble to join their colleagues at the
employment office where they were met by C.S. Ford, Superintendent of
the Employment Service of Canada, as well as McCheyne and
Braithwaite. There they learned that although the employment
situation in the Ottawa area was abysmal with hundreds of registrants
already on the books, there were die usual openings on local farms
and if they were interested they could get reduced fares and wage
advances to get them started. While farm work held die same
attraction as before they all dutifully took lists of openings and
registration cards and promised to return them promptly.”

–  WJ.C. Cherwinski, “A Miniature Coxey’s Army: The British Harvesters’ Toronto-to-Ottawa Trek of 1924.” Labour/Le Travail, 32 (Fall 1993), pp. 145-157

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“Hail, or Flail, Hitler!” Toronto Telegram. July 6, 1934. Page 15.

“[sic]…chancellor while his attention was distracted by the odd domestic rebellion, the Young Communist League came from behind in an attempt to picket with placards the North-German Lloyd offices at Bay and Richmond streets to-day. Because they were obstructing the sidewalk, they were told by police to go and flail no more. And the police took the cards.”

Signs read, from left to right: ‘Thalmann Torgler and All Anti-Fascist Fighters Must Be Saved!’; ‘Bloody Hitler Shall Not Be Allowed to Murder

Thälmann!’; ‘Free Ernest

Thälmann!’

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“Tim Buck addressed a meeting in Nordegg, Alta., on 6th April [1935]. He was
driven there from Calgary by John Stokaluk, Secretary of the Mine
Workers’ Union of Canada. On arrival he was met about a quarter of a mile
from town by about 50 members
[7]
of the local Mine Workers’ Union who escorted him to the hall carrying a
banner bearing the inscription “Welcome to Nordegg, Tim Buck”. The
meeting, which was attended by approximately 300 people, started at 2.00
P.M. and concluded at 4.30 P.M. After the meeting Tim Buck had dinner
with the officials of the local unit of the Mine Workers’ Union of Canada,
following which he left for Calgary again.”

– ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE HEADQUARTERS
Ottawa, 18th April, 1935.
Secret. NO. 753. Weekly Summary. REPORT ON REVOLUTIONARY ORGANIZATIONS
AND AGITATORS IN CANADA. Page 231.

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“Funérailles Rouges Dans La Rue Arcade / Journaliste Battu Par La Police Aux Funérailles de Zynkchuck,” Le Petit-Journal. March 12, 1933. Pages 1 & 3.

A massive funeral and march, organised by Communists and fellow travellers in Montreal, after one of their members, Zynkchuck, was killed by police.  A police riot ensued in an attempt to break up the march and prevent the funeral being used to criticize the police…it did not work.  Also a story about Zangar, FDR’s would-be assassin.

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“Communists Active Here,” St. Maurice Valley Chronicle. March 4, 1935. Page 01.

Much Propaganda Being Circulated.  Post Office Inundated with Pamphlets.

From information gathered throughout the course of the week, it appears that the Prime Minister was not making any wild statements when he spoke here at the banquet tendered him, at which he said that subversive elements were at work in this province to destroy the system of government, by force or otherwise.

It is said that at the present time there are four so-called ‘cells’ existing in Three Rivers to propagate Communistic doctrines, and that unfortunately one of these is at work among the English-speaking element.

The ‘Chronicle’ has learnt as a matter of fact that the work of the Post-Office Department has been considerably hampered by the pamphlets and broadsides that are being forwarded to all and sundry who might be sympathetic to these doctrines.

Another factor which lends some color of truth to the Prime Minister’s words, is that several unfortunate people who have long been unemployed, are presently enjoying a certain limited amount of prosperity, whose source is mysterious to say the least.

It is further said in certain quarters that it is not only the working class that are being saturated with this propaganda, but that some professional men of this city are also taking a sudden interest in matters relating to Communism.”

Small town Quebec becomes very afraid of Communists clogging up the mails and helping the unemployed.  

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“Tim Buck Ejected at McGill – Direct Violation Of Law To Allow Red Leader To Propogate Communism in Province of Quebec – Eastern University Allows Fascist Leader to Speak, However. / “Young Canada Must Arise” – Tim Buck’s Forbidden Speech to McGill Students,” The Ubyssey. February 18, 1938. Page 01. Canadian University Press story.

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“15,000 at Maple Leaf Gardens to Hear Tim Buck,” The Toronto Globe. December 3, 1934. Pages 1 & 7.

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“Tim Buck, Tom McEwan, Malcolm Bruce, Amos Hill, John Boychuk,
Tomo Cacic, Sam Carr, and Matthew Popovich all stood trial in 1931
for seditious conspiracy and being members of an unlawful organization. The trial took place at the Supreme Court of Ontario in Toronto
and was well covered in the popular press and labour papers. The
primary evidence used in the case against Cacic  and the Eight (as
they came to be known) consisted of theses and statutes that emphasized the importance of revolution to communist ideology. Much of
the evidence originated from the Comintern in the Soviet Union,
including statutes passed by the Comintern at its meetings. Other evidence included communist literature such as Bukharin and
Preobrazhensky’s ABC of Communism – a widely circulated Bolshevist
text of this era – which was highlighted by the Crown as evidence of
the revolutionary intentions of CPC members. The Crown perceived
the CPC to be a foreign organization and argued that because the CPC was a member of the Communist International, and the theses of the
International were binding on the CPC, the CPC was therefore guilty of
being an unlawful organization under section 98 of the Criminal
Code.

Throughout the trial the Crown emphasized that communism was
a ‘foreign’ and imported ideology. These ideas were far from new in
1931. Both during and after the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike there
was much anger and fear of the ‘foreign radical.’ For instance, John
W. Dafoe of the Winnipeg Free Press reported that the best way of deal-
ing with non-British ‘agitators’ was to ‘clean the aliens out of this com-
munity and ship them back to their happy homes in Europe which
vomited them forth a decade ago.’36 Similar sentiments continued to
be found regularly in the popular press for years after the strike. An
editorial in the Globe on 23 January 1931 stated that the risk of ‘Red
free speech’ and propaganda would not work on the ‘intelligent British
born or French-Canadian.’ The ‘foreign-born’ who were unaware
of ‘British tradition’ were the most vulnerable to the ‘enemy within
the gates.’ The police and educators’ duty was to protect and help
immigrants become ‘good British citizens’ and thus believe in liberal
‘British’ values such as the right to own property.

Some individuals in the immigration department also appeared to
share these sentiments. One official claimed that ‘so far as my experience goes, British-born subjects do not generally side with the classes
opposed to continuing authority.’ Several judges, such as Emerson
Coatsworth and Robert Brown, who worked on other communist
trials, believed that the values of a liberal Canada were synonymous
with being British. Communism was ‘foreign.’ The sacredness of
private property and the ‘rights of property owners,’ held to be
British values, were paramount. They agreed with Crown Attorney
Wilkins when he argued that ‘the Communist Party is made [up] of foreigners … who have no interest in our country, by that I mean they
do not hold any real estate, etc.’

British values and Christian morals were linked to a liberal belief in
private property, all of which communism threatened. Crown Attorney
W.H. Price stated during the Eight’s appeal that the foreign nature of
communism threatened Canada’s foundation, which was rooted in
‘Christian civilization.’40 Referring to communists as ‘foreigners,’
Mayor McBride of Toronto felt that ‘foreigners should not be allowed
to come here and undermine the religious views of our young people.’ The Orange Lodge resolved at a national meeting that the
federal government prevent the spread of communism by requiring
every voter to first attest to belief in the ‘deity,’ ‘allegiance to the
King,’ and ability ‘to read and write English.’

Such formulations of good citizenship, which combined Britishness, private property, and propriety placed those foreign-born who
were beyond the pale in danger of deportation. In the House of Commons, MP G.B. Nicholson argued that the CPC was based in a ‘foreign
country’ and sought to ‘undermine Canadian institutions as well as
those of every other country similar to ours.’ Premier Simon Fraser
Tolmie of British Columbia believed that communists were ‘foreign
disturbers’ and called on the government to step up the deportation
of communists. Prime Minister Bennett agreed with the premier in
the value of deportation for preserving Canada’s British values and
society. Bennett told the House of Commons that in order to preserve
‘peace, order and good government’ the government would put in
place measures that ‘in our judgment will free this country of those
who have not proved themselves worthy of Canadian citizenship.’ The Crown summarized this position during the trial of the Eight:
‘These men are part of the Russian machinery. They speak the
thoughts of Russia, but this is not a land where the roots of the Soviet
will take soil. I trust you will strike this thing and strike it hard.’ Communism was a foreign pollution and an affront to liberal values.
In sum, communists should not be ‘Canadians.’”

– Dennis G. Molinaro, “’A Species of Treason?’: Deportation and Nation-Building in the Case of Tomo Cacic, 1931-1934.” The Canadian Historical Review, Volume 91, Number 1, March 2010,
pp. 72-74.

Photograph shows Matthew Popovich, Tom McEwen, Tom Hill, John Boychuk, Mike Grolinsky (charges later dropped), Sam Carr, Tom Cacic, and Tim Buck. Absent: Malcolm Bruce. “Communists Charged Under Section 98, 1931,” Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library, University of Toronto, Kenny Collection, Ms Coll 179, Box 636/#155.

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“Five Bullets Fail To Halt Fugitive,” Montreal Star, November 11, 1932. Page 03.

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“Unemployed and Communist Come To Blows In Oshawa,” Toronto Star, July 24, 1932. Pages 1 & 2.

“Former Resents Red Prediction of ‘Bloody Revolution’ on August 1. 

Police Stop Fight.

A feud between the Oshawa unemployed and Communist party flared up in Memorial Park to-day when ‘Eddie’ MacDonald, leader of the unemployed, accepted a challenge from John Farkas, head of the Communists, and a stern fight was waged.  When police arrived MacDonald was apparently getting the best of the scrap and both men were taken by Detective-Sergeant Flintoff in police car to the police station.  They were allowed to go, but charges will be laid, police stated.

MacDonald said literature had been handed him by the Communists yesterday announcing a revolution to sweep across Canada on Aug. 1, headed ‘Sweep God from Skies and Cut the Throats of the Capitalists.’ This literature is now in the hands of the police.

To-day the Communists discovered that they did not have the sympathy of the Oshawa unemployed association.  At Memorial Park this morning, MacDonald stated he was surrounded by a large group of foreigners while Farkas challenged him saying ‘Come and fight, you are an English faker.” MacDonald summoned a group of the unemployed, who held the other ‘Reds’ at bay, while the pair went at it hammer and tongs.

A crowd gathered outside the police station while the two men were being detained and when Farkas was allowed to go, police protection was afforded him. 

“Come through the fire hall with me.  Farkas, or those fellows outside will lynch you,” Detective-Sergeant Flintoff said.

Both men were covered with blood when brought into the police station, while most of their clothes were ripped from their backs.”

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