Category: Historical Reprints
Source: L’Action Catholique, front page, headline
46th year — No. 14,089
Friday, 27 February 1953, page 4
What is L’Action Catholique?
“L’Action Catholique (1915-1962), was for a long time the favorite rural daily newspaper, with its articles touching on all the subjects of everyday life. Known as L’Action Sociale from 1907 to 1915, it subsequently appears as L’Action (1962-1971), then as L’Action Québec from 1971 to 1973. The pages of this popular daily newspaper distributed in the greater Quebec City area — which was a competitor of the Le Soleil [The Sun] of the era — burst with information on the concerns of its contemporaries.”
The source of the foregoing description is the Quebec Library and Archives at its on-line collection “L’Action Catholique (1915-1962) en ligne”.
English Translation by Kathleen Moore
“Pat” Walsh has had enough of practicing communist infiltration — Resignation
Quebec, February 25th, 1953
Today, I am resigning from the following communist organizations as well as others organized by the communist Labor Progressive Party and used by it as “front” organizations.1 :
from the Congrès Canadien de la Paix to which I belong as a member of the National Executive ;
from the Ligue des Droits démocratiques of which I am a founding member while being on the National Executive ;
from L’Union canadienne des Travailleurs du Bois of which I am also a founding member, an officer of the National Executive and the Secretary-treasurer of Local 4, Quebec province ;
from the Canadian Tribune, official organ of the LPP. I have been the representative of this newspaper since his founding in 1940, for the City of Québec ;
from the Fédération Syndicale Mondiale, trade-union center of the Cominform with staff headquarters in Vienne. I have been the liaison officer of the FSM in Canada since 1948 ;
Moreover, I am resigning from the lesser known organizations of the communist Labor Progressive Party, including :
Le Comité Ouvrier pour la Paix;
Le Comité des Droits Syndicalistes;
La Ligue des Libertés civiles de la ville de Québec;
Le Comité des Marins Canadiens (former members of the UMC);
Le Comité de Rédactions de “Combat” et d'”Action” (publications of the Labor Progressive Party);
L’Association des Electeurs de St-Sauveur; etc., etc.
Communists And Unions Of
Wood Workers In Canada.
The pulp and paper industry in Canada has always been under tight surveillance by the agents of Moscow. On various occasions, the Communists took over control of this industry’s workers’ unions which have numbered over 60,000 active members in Canadian Columbia*, Ontario and Québec. For many years, the very powerful International Union of American Wood Workers (CIO) in Canadian Columbia has been under the brutal domination of a handful of Communists. Is this not the reason why Nigel Morgan, ex-head of this Union, is, today, the head of the Communist LPP of Canadian Columbia. And what can be said of Bruce Magnuson, another ex-head of the Union of Sawmills and Construction Sites, who has just been appointed head in charge of the activities of the Communist LPP for the district of the lake heads of Ontario. Moreover, let’s now talk about Gérard Fortin, president of the Canadian Union of Wood Workers known formerly by the name of the Union of Lumbermen. Isn’t it true that this gentleman is also a member of the Provincial Committee of the Communist LPP? Then, all these appointments of communist chiefs to manage the word workers are thus made expressly with the sole aim of guaranteeing the execution of the orders of the World Trade Union Federation of Communists working in the pulp and paper industry in Canada.
In addition, these orders were transmitted to Bruce Magnuson at the time of his recent visit to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. As always, these orders require the eventual sabotage of the pulp and paper industry in Canada at the time of a war with the Soviet Union. It goes without saying that no trade-union effort is made to collaborate with the bona fide organizations of wood workers. On the contrary, the Red tactic recommends and requires the infiltration of the camps by “activists”, i.e. by the old party hardliners. Then, the Camp Committees composed in particular of long-standing sympathizers are organized here and there. The whole strangely resembles certain cells that our Communists are organizing in the major production centers of our national defense.
These Camp Committees tolerate quite well, for the form, even the most anticommunist unions, while other communist lumbermen will infiltrate the non-communist unions awaiting the signal indicated for “Operation Sabotage” which will be given by the section of the FSM, the International union of forestry workers which currently makes its home in the staff headquarters of the Italian Communist party in Rome, and which moreover carries out to the letter the orders of its head, Ilio Bosi. Needless to say, these plans of sabotage extend from the dynamiting of electric power lines to the setting ablaze of our forests. Without being the prophet of doom, I affirm that there are, pretty much everywhere in Canada, experienced saboteurs a number of whom were trained in the International Brigade in Spain, while others including Gérard Fortin learned their lessons by putting their hands on materiel dispatched by boats to Chiang Kai-Shek and which arrived damaged at their destination.
I am not making these assertions just for the pleasure, but precisely because I know what I am talking about, having myself taken part in the famous strike of the Canadian seamen started by the FSM to sabotage the Marshall Plan, and which incidentally cost the maritime companies a great many millions while also inflicting incalculable damage.
The Lumbermen’s Union
The Lumbermen’s Union was founded in 1950, after an assembly of the LPP secretariat in Montreal. $5,000.00 was received from various unions all under communist control: the Electricity Union (EU); the Fur Union (IFLWU); the Textile Union (UTWU); the Seamen’s Union, (CSU); the Miners’ Union (IUM-MSW).
An office was opened at 5 Ramsay Street in the City of Québec. This location immediately became the meeting place of a good dozen communist organizations, inter alia : the Association of the Voters of St-Sauveur, the Working Committee for Peace, etc. Not very long afterward, Gérard Fortin was arrested by the municipal police for distributing the official publication of the LPP, the communist newspaper Combat. Fortin was arrested twice more on charges of assault. Needless to say that work became ever more difficult for the organizers of the UB. Little by little, the lumbermen realized that the UB was far more interested in red propaganda than in the well-being of its members.
The first organizers of the UB were all old members of the Communist Party, at least six of whom had never set eyes on a lumbermen’s camp in their lifetime. Among the members of the LPP, the following took part in the organization: Gérard Fortin, Réal Couillard, Joseph Drouin, William Massey, Oscar Valcourt, Wilfrid Jolin, George Thibault, Joseph Poulin, Donat Fradette. Fortin, Couillard, Thibault and I were former officers of the Canadian Seamen’s Union.
We cooked up a convention during which Fortin was named president; Poulin, vice-president and myself, secretary-treasurer. Marc Leclerc, the president of the Union of Construction Site and Sawmill Workers then came to Quebec to teach us “The Invasion” of the camps and to show us an unparalleled method for creating dissatisfaction among the lumbermen. Leclerc benefited from this trip to lay the basis of our future collaboration with the Communist leadership of his Ontario union, which in time comprised nearly 20,000 lumbermen.
Taking our inspiration from Stalinist methods, strikes soon broke out in a number of camps while a lying propaganda stirred up resentment and raised a storm in so many camps that we succeeded, without firing a shot, in convincing about 5,000 lumbermen to join the ranks of the UB.
I was in charge of preparation of our monthly newspaper Le Bûcheron which I put together between my expeditions to the camps. With the arrest of Fortin for distributing the communist publication Combat, the lumbermen began to realize that we were more interested in political strikes and the eventual sabotage of the pulp and paper industry, while questions of wages and working conditions seemed to interest us very little. Moreover, a number of the lumbermen realized that their wages and their working conditions had been improved by the companies well before the UB began its activities. All of which caused quite a bit of embarrassment to the organizers of the UB whereas our “demands” were lower than the wages paid to the lumbermen, which in the long term led to a great many defections among the UB members. But our biggest failure took place in 1951 when the leadership of the American Federation of Labor expelled all the Communists of the Union of the Workers of the construction sites and Sawmills. A desperate effort was made at the very last minute by the Ontario Communists to found the Canadian Union of Wood Workers which subsequently would have formed a cartel of the Ontario and Quebec lumbermen by requiring that the UB become the Local 4 of this new Communist organization. Nevertheless, to sum up, the Communist leadership of the UCTB of Ontario was repudiated by all the lumbermen in general and the influence of LPP on the 20,000 lumbermen of Ontario was ended. I must in all frankness admit that the Padlock Law is more than a handicap to our Muscovites. This anticommunist law truly prevents the Communists of Quebec from becoming an even more serious threat. In the Cityof Quebec, prior to the Padlock Law, I remember assemblies of thousands of workmen held in public halls at St-Roch and St-Sauveur where notorious Communists from Montreal came to speak and to try to turn the workmen against the established order or our clergy while holding our religious beliefs and our political principles up to contempt. I remember that Clarté, a Communist newspaper, was distributed in the thousands of copies in every corner of the Old Capitol. Thanks to the wisdom and to the foresight of the Hon. Maurice Duplessis, the Padlock Law struck the Communists of the province of Quebec blows from which they will never recover, their propaganda now circulating barely and with difficulty as it may when it is lucky enough to avoid seizure.
That is the reason why our Communists no longer dare to show their true colors, always borrowing names to hide their identity; for example: the Association of the Voters of St-Sauveur, the Working Committee for Peace, the Working League of Quebec. The Padlock Law has also obliged Soviet spies of the likes of Fred Rose and Eric Adams to pack their bags and leave Montreal. Today, their successors, Harry Binder, Gui Caron, John Switzman and Pierre Gélinas have no easy task in their keen attempts to establish Soviets in the province of Quebec.
Do we not have there the primary reason why the Communists feel obliged to leave the province for Toronto or Ottawa to hold their annual congresses. Another proof of the cogency of the Padlock Law: Communist organizations are on the decrease in Quebec while the numbers of their members and their sympathizers are meeting the same fate as those in their sister parties in Italy and in France.
But there is more, Premier Duplessis, by applying the Padlock Law showed proof of foresight from which many foreign countries would like to benefit today. It is not too late for any country. They must pay for having agreed to be governed by improvident leaders, while for others their leaders have not feared to come here, to Quebec, to be better informed in order to better protect their people from the Red plague. We must clearly recognize that this law, while protecting the people of Quebec, also protects, with some variations, undoubtedly, those people who have had the good sense to give themselves real statesmen.
But let us continue. In 1952, the Communist LPP realized that all its attempts to get control over the workers of construction sites and sawmills in Canadian Columbia, Ontario and Quebec were doomed to fail. Moscow then decided to intervene and influence the course of events for the better. Bruce Magnuson was called to Moscow where he received the new directives on the affiliation of all the Communist unions of Canadian Columbia, Ontario and Quebec as well as on the coordination of all the Communist executives at the time of a war with the Soviet Union.
Last month, Bosi sent me a note requiring me to pass a resolution in favor of the Rosenberg pair, spies condemned to the electric chair.
During an assembly at 5 Ramsay Street on December 13th, 1952, I opposed this motion proposed by Fortin after which the majority of the attending members gave me their support. As of this moment I was a marked man. Revolted at continually being obliged to take orders from Moscow, and realizing all the repercussions of the new “directives” relating to the sabotage of our pulp and paper industry, and knowing that the construction site and sawmill workers never even remotely agree with Moscow’s plans to sabotage this industry, I decided and I decide that the time has come when I must cut all ties with the Communists here and abroad. I intend to fight against Communism as well as against all its “front” organizations from now because I am convinced that the Reds represent the most serious threat to our way of life as to the future of humanity.
The Communists of the Communist LPP can, as of now, consider this communiqué as a declaration of war by the fact that I intend to go forward in advance of the enemy and to rally an awakened public opinion to the threat of the communist saboteurs who live among us.
Je veux aider l’autorité compétente en la matière à faire la lumière sur toutes les activités communistes et faire en sorte que nos rouges sortent de l’égout ou ils se cachent. Tant pis pour eux car les ténèbres qui les entourent se dissiperont bientôt.
The apathy and the indifference of the public must become a thing of the past, if we truly realize the increasingly deadly threat of Communism which surrounds us.
And I have signed, this 25th day of February, 1953 …
– 30 –
1 Only two official English names for any of the various trade unions, committees and publications denounced by Walsh in 1953, are currently online: “The Canadian Peace Congress” as the official English for “Le Congrès canadien de la paix”, and the “World Federation of Trade Unions” for “La fédération syndicale mondiale”. I have therefore translated the others as closely as I can in order to convey their meaning.