Friday, August 19, 2011

Canadian Conservatives & Their Fascist Connections

While Conservatives continue to attack Pierre Elliot Trudeau for being interested in communism when he was younger, they ignore that their Conservative Leader at that same time was funding anti-semitic, hitler supporting, soon-to-be-jailed Canadian fascists.

It is often cited that in the 1930s Pierre Elliot Trudeau was sympathetic to communism, usually such remarks are made with the intention of undermining the past Liberal Leader, as if socialism is pure evil. But those who make such observations fail to realize that at that very same time Trudeau was experimenting with different ideologies there was a Conservative Prime Minister and Conservative Party that not only experimented with fascism, that not only associated with members of fascist parties, but funded them with over 300,000 dollars.

In a 2001 book Le Livre noir du Canada anglais, investigative journalist Normand Lester uncovered letters between Richard Bedford Bennett's Conservative Party and well renowned fascist and avowed Hitler supporter Adrien Arcand. The letters detail that the Conservative Party donated 25,000 dollars (268,577 dollars in 2001) to fascist newspapers owned and operated by Arcand in return for his publications and his fascist movement, l'Ordre patriotique des Goglus, helping the Conservatives win 12 seats in the 1930 election.

The letters also detail communication between Arcand and Conservative members between 1930 and 1935. Topics included the party helping Arcand get out of legal trouble and setting up potential meetings between Prime Minister Bennett and Kurt Ludecke, Adolf Hitler's Washington representative who was responsible for raising funds in America.

By 1934 Adrien Arcand's movement Goglus whole heartedly adopted "unabashed fascist ideology and program favouring corporatism, a Christian ethnocracy, and a one-party state." Arcand himself "professed a ‘moral affinity’ with Hitler's Nazi party." All of this did not stop the Conservatives from soliciting Arcand again in the 1935 election, and with his new paper Le Fasciste canadien, he campaigned against Liberal Leader Mckenzie King. Though the exact total is unknown, one Conservative organizer estimated that in all the party donated 27,000 dollars (359,284 dollars in 2001) to Arcand.

R.B. Bennett was according to these letters ultimately responsible for the Conservative Party associating and funding Adrein Arcand and his fascist movement. And even with Arcand's papers becoming increasingly anti-semitic after 1934 and his organization declaring admiration and belief in the Nazi Party, the Conservatives continued to fund him. It was only after World War II began that Conservatives must have realized their mistake, for in 1940 Arcand was jailed for "plotting to overthrow the state" and his newly created National Unity Party was banned.

So in the end, though Trudeau may be attacked for his believing in communist and socialist ideals when he was younger, there exists no comparison to the misdeeds of Conservative Leader R.B. Bennett and his party for their political and financial support of fascism in Canada.


Fjperry said...

To keep things in perspective, let's remember that the Liberal leader of that time thought that Hitler was not such a bad fellow, and said of Jewish refugees attempting to enter Canada: "none is too many" said...

Fjperry, my point was that those who criticize Trudeau ignore the faults, mistakes, and immoral acts done by others, especially those of their own party.

And whatever you may say, I think a Conservative Party that funded anti-semitism and fascists would have out done anything Mckenzie King did.

kirbycairo said...

I think it is a mistake to see Fascism as a phenomenon only of the 1930 and forties and to associate it only with the war-mongering Reich. As Bertram Gross demonstrated in his famous book, fascism is a political ideology that ties state and corporate power together in various ways from the highly static and brittle ways of, say, German fascism, to the more subtle and flexible ways of modern corporate, capitalist states. Fascism is an ideology which centralizes power, attempts to undermine democracy in various ways, shifts power to he rich and corporations, shifts the tax burden toward the middle and working-classes, and attempts to bestow corporations with the same rights of individuals without any of the responsibilities. The obvious result of all of this is a shift in wealth toward the rich with a corresponding power shift in which democracy is so infected by money that it loses almost all of its meaning.

By this standard the Conservative Party not only has a back-ground in fascism it is in fact the living embodiment of this ideology. This is not hyperbole, it is a very cogent argument made by many political scientists all over the world. It is the abject failure to see this modern shift that ensures the demise of democracy and the shift in power.