Monday, October 16, 2017

United Action Can Defeat War Measures Act - Communist Party of Canada 1970

Vintage Leftist Leaflet Project

See the end of this post for details on the project.

Leaflet: United Action Can Defeat War Measures Act - Communist Party of Canada 1970 

On October 16, 1970 the federal Trudeau government used the pretext of two kidnappings by the extremist Quebec nationalist group the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) (which supposedly constituted an "apprehended insurrection") to introduce the War Measures Act suspending the habeas corpus rights of Canadians and allowing police wide latitude to arrest people without the laying of charges. This was one of the most grotesque anti-democratic actions in modern Canadian history and was an enormous overreaction to the activities of fringe elements.

As Tommy Douglas said at the time, "The government, I submit, is using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut."

With the War Measures Act in place the Trudeau government rounded up hundreds of entirely innocent nationalist and leftist activists in Quebec, sought to deal a crippling blow to the emergent Parti Québécois and to interfere in the upcoming Montreal municipal elections.

While the introduction of the Act was very popular in the immediate climate of manufactured hysteria, there were a number of courageous Canadians (remembering that the Act allowed the arrest of anyone without the need of even a pretext of having actually committed a criminal act) who stood against it including 16 NDP MPs, many leftist activists across the country and much of the country's labour movement. They have been vindicated by history.

This circular and statement was released and distributed by the Communist Party of Canada in the days just after the War Measures Act was introduced. It outlines the groups resisting the act, the terrible and frightening consequences of it, as well as what the real targets and motives of the act were.

(Click on scans to enlarge)

When The Left Chapter began part of what I wanted to do on the blog was to show and highlight vintage public leftist election/political leaflets and booklets. While many of these have been offered with commentary to date, a very large collection of hundreds of them from several different sources remains and to preserve these often quite rare documents we will be posting them on a regular (almost daily) basis now often without or with minimal commentary so that people may have access to them as quickly as possible as an historical resource. 

While these will all be leaflets from a variety of different leftist viewpoints and countries, they are being posted as an historical/study resource and the views or opinions expressed in them do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or blogger.

All of these posts (as well as posts made to date) will be listed on the page: Vintage Communist/Socialist Leaflets  (which is still being updated with past posts).

If you have any public, vintage leaflets or booklets you would like to contribute to this project please contact us via

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