The Un-Canadians
True Stores of the blacklist Era

Sher, Len
Publisher:  Lester Publishing, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1992
Pages:  272pp   Price:  $18.95   ISBN:  1-8955555-18-3
Library of Congress Number:  FC610.S34 1992   Dewey:  971.063'3
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX7154

Details the blacklisting which took place in Canada during the Cold War years.

Len Scher's The Un-Canadians: True Stories of the Blacklist Era depicts the effects of blacklisting in Canada during the cold war years and demonstrates that Canada was not immune from the McCarthyism that was prevalent in the United States at the time.

One of the formative events in this era was the Gouzenko spy case, although Scher does not focus much on it. Instead, he interviews sixty-nine blacklisted individuals who offer their personal accounts in an attempt to complement official histories.

The book features a cross section of well-respected people from politicians and labour leaders to writers and musicians, although some of those who continue to fear the repercussions recount their experiences under a pseudonym. The accounts reflect the effects of the RCMP's extension of power, which gave them the authority to step up security, gather intelligence and eventually trace domestic dissidents and activists and screen civil servants and private sector workers. Those suspected of being communists and communist sympathizers found themselves on the blacklist and turned back at the Canada-US border, discharged from their jobs without explanations and arrested without cause. In Quebec, the Montreal and provincial police forces would work together to raid homes and offices in search of subversive material.

Scher sets the tone of the book in the introduction in which he recounts his father's experience of being on the blacklist and elaborates on the historical context. The book is divided into six parts and is comprehensive in its coverage of the cold war years in Canada through the retelling of personal experiences in revealing interviews.

[abstract by Subha Arulvarathan]

Table of Contents


i) Gouzenko Aftermath: Lottie's Story
ii) The Atmosphere of Cold War

Part I: Arts Backwards
1. Play No Evil: The Symphony Six
2. Broadcast No Evil: The CBC and the Blacklist
3. Making Short Waves: The CBC's International Service
4. Film No Evil: The NFB and the Blacklist
5. Lively Artists: Dance, Theatre and Journalism

Part II: Winging the Left
6. Say No Evil: Politicians, Radicals and the Mounties
7. The Quebec Experience: The Red Squads

Part III: Paying Their Dues: Unions and the Blacklist
8. Organize No Evil: We're Stickin' to the EU
9. Of Mines and Men: The Mine Mill Story
10. War on the Wharves: The Story of the Seamen's Union
11. Out of the Union and Civilian War
12. Associated Problems

Part IV: Teach No Evil
13. Teachers and the Blacklist
14. A Peace Activist and His Church
15. B'nai Brith and the "Y"

Part V: The Borderline
16. Trying to Get Across
17. The FBI and the RCMP
18. Trying to Get Across II

Part VI: Canucks in Trouble
19. Canadians Who Survived McCarthy in the States

Subject Headings

Insert T_CxShareButtonsHorizontal.html here