Canada, Intelligence Gathering, Spy, World War II, Civil Libertarian, Enemy Alien, Pacifism, RCMP, Supreme Court, Human Rights, Religious Objector, Institutional Racism, War on Terror, Securitization, Police Tactics



A monograph regarding the history of Canada’s intelligence gathering apparatus has not been published, leaving a gap in modern historiography. In an attempt to partially fill this academic void, this essay examines RCMP intelligence Bulletins drafted during World War Two that have been declassified under the Access to Information Act. Analysis of the Bulletins clearly indicates the Canadian intelligence gathering apparatus underwent a massive expansion of scope during the war. The RCMP began investigating people and organizations based upon their race, religion, political affiliation or nationalist beliefs. Disregard of human rights and privacy during the period was so widespread, even the police remarked upon the depth of their new powers inside the Bulletins. Some people, such as the future Prime Minister Diefenbaker, worked to enshrine human rights in the Canadian constitution thereafter, attempting to prevent the police from acquiring such powers ever again. Due to parallel tactics used during World War Two and the modern day, an effective Supreme Court challenge could be mounted against tactics used in Canada’s war on terror based upon historical and constitutional grounds.

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Acknowledgements to Olivia Pietrangelo for developing the Table and to Dr. Robert Rutherdale for reviewing the manuscript.

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