The Bureaucratization of Treason

Barry Cooper
March 1, 2010
Treason has succumbed to the bureaucratization common in modern life writes Barry Cooper: “We now rely almost entirely on security intelligence, which is to say pre-emptive, micro-managed bureaucratic options to deal with the kind of threats that used to be punished after the fact by sedition and treason prosecutions.”

The Bureaucratization of Treason

Barry Cooper
March 1, 2010
Treason has succumbed to the bureaucratization common in modern life writes Barry Cooper: “We now rely almost entirely on security intelligence, which is to say pre-emptive, micro-managed bureaucratic options to deal with the kind of threats that used to be punished after the fact by sedition and treason prosecutions.”
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter

“Rielity” Television

We may begin to answer the question “Whatever happened to treason?” by looking at a 2002 CBC “re-enactment” of the treason trial of Louis Riel. In real life, Riel was convicted of treason in 1885 and executed by hanging on November 16 in Regina.

Riel was four times unique. He was the only foreigner tried for high treason in Canadian history; he was the last person in Canada hanged for this offence; he was the only individual so dealt with who had conducted a political trial that resulted in the execution of the accused, in this instance Thomas Scott, convicted not of treason but of “insubordination” to Riel’s 1870 government and in accord with Riel’s understanding of “Métis law”; and Riel was the first person ever posthumously to face a jury of television viewers. Moreover, despite wanting to be tried on the basis of his “actions,” his trial was conducted on the basis of his sanity. Moreover, despite wanting to be tried for his actions, his trial was conducted on the basis of his sanity.[1]

The result of the “ re-enactment” was an overwhelming vote by the CBC audience for Riel’s acquittal, along with loud complaints from Aboriginal leaders that they had not been presented in a sufficiently favourable light and that the CBC had not hired any Aboriginal actors. The conclusion reached by Carolyn Strange following her analysis of the TV show seems obvious enough: Canadians in 2002 were strongly in favour of acknowledging the “injustice” of Riel’s trial and execution, and they saw it as an example of Canada’s “injustice” toward Aboriginals in general.[2]

The facts of the case were largely ignored during the reconstruction of the trial. More important, the defence mounted by the celebrated lawyer Eddie Greenspan that Riel was provoked to act was one that no sensible lawyer would make on behalf of a real client facing a charge of treason. The point, however, was to ensure Riel was depicted as a martyr to the cause of Aboriginal justice and perhaps to the cause of multiculturalism. Andrew Coyne called the show an “exercise in virtual Rielity.”[3]

From time to time, columnists, media pundits and ordinary Canadians have wondered why the perpetrators of what looks to commonsense to be treasonous acts are not tried for treason. In recent memory, such acts would clearly include the members of the Front de Libération du Québec (FLQ) who precipitated the October Crisis. Some Canadians with a robust sense of what treason entails would include Quebec separatists, whether violent or not and with or without the provisions of the Clarity Act that apparently have made secession legal. Many more would include contemporary Islamist terrorists intent on intimidating Parliament and executing the Prime Minister, both of which look like using “force of violence for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Canada,” to use the language of s.46(2)(a) of the Criminal Code. Yet none of the individuals involved with any of these actions was indicted for treason.

Clearly, something has changed in Canada from the days when Louis Riel was properly hanged for making war against his sovereign. Today, terrorists threatening to behead the Prime Minister and secessionists using violence and intimidation to establish a rebellious republic of Quebec are no longer viewed as traitors. Stranger still, a “ re-enactment” of a genuine treason trial managed to criminalize the government and rehabilitate a traitor.

Two questions suggest themselves: First, what has happened? Second, is it conceivable that treason (and sedition) could ever be effectively restored to Canadian law?

Treason and Sedition

These two offences are described in ss.46 and 59 of the Canadian Criminal Code. They are often lumped together as “crimes against the state”[4] though they have quite distinct histories and meanings. In brief, sedition entails a conspiracy to change the regime under conditions that could lead to violence; treason means using violence in order to destroy the regime, with or without the assistance of a foreign power. By nature, treason is more serious than sedition, and the penalties are typically more severe.

Legal scholars dispute the sources of sedition and seditious libel as offences, though they agree that they originated in monarchic and aristocratic regimes. As Mr. Justice Rand famously observed in 1951 in R. v. Boucher, under the old usage, the governors of society were conceived as “superior beings, exercising a divine mandate” and the ruled were charged only with the duty of obedience without “criticism, reflection or censure upon them or what they do.”[5] Such a view is obviously incompatible with democratic regimes, even when (as in Canada) they retain the constitutional forms of monarchy. Accordingly, the chief requirement in democracies is that sedition involves an incitement to violence against authority.

Treason, a term derived from the Latin tradere, to betray, is based upon a breach of the duty of allegiance or loyalty. But where does that duty come from? According to Pollock and Maitland, the 1352 Statute of Treasons combined the Germanic notion of betrayal of one’s tribe or cowardice in the face of the enemy with the Roman concept of crimen laesae majestatis, literally the crime of plotting or injuring greatness or majesty.[6] In France, this latter usage survived as the general political crime of lèse-majesté until the Revolution, but in Great Britain, it was narrowly applied to the monarch and thus excluded the aristocrats, but it was also expanded to include conspiracy to kill the king.

The most important clause of the 1352 Statute concerned “levying war” against the monarch or the realm, “adhering” to the enemies of the monarch and killing or threatening the monarch. “Levying war” included revolution and riot, which is to say using violence in support of political objectives. This was the core of treason. Other aspects, such as violating the eldest daughter of the monarch or the wife of the king’s eldest son (which could have landed James Hewitt in a lot of trouble if his affair with Princess Diana while she was married to Prince Charles had been substantiated) have pretty much disappeared, even in the United Kingdom where nevertheless they remain on the books.

The feudal origins of treason in a duty of allegiance are still present in liberal constitutional regimes not so much as an implication of a fictional social contract but as a prudential quid pro quo. If one receives protection from the monarch (or the Crown or the state), this benefit must be discharged or reciprocated by loyalty or allegiance to the protecting institutions. As University of Toronto law professor S.C. Biggs said, “Without a duty of allegiance, there can be no treason.”[7] This observation raises a supplemental question: Do Canadians today have such a duty either in their own eyes or in the eyes of the law?

Treason and Sedition in Canada

Treason in Canada seems to be confined to the very specific problem of uprisings or rebellions. This was the focus of the Treason Act of 1886, which summarized and extended the fourteenth-century British Statute of Treasons. Moreover, it corresponded closely to Canadian colonial experience. A second general observation is that apart from Riel’s 1885 trial, there have been relatively few celebrated treason trials in the history of British North America.

In 1814, 22-year-old John Beverley Robinson presided at the Ancaster Assizes over the trial of 19 men accused of treason after they had been caught helping the Americans during the War of 1812. Only eight were hanged, despite that being the mandatory sentence. A quarter-century later, following the Rebellion of 1837, 90 of the 220 prisoners in Upper Canada jails were pardoned and 17 were executed.

Despite anxieties over a U.S. invasion and annexation during the pre-Confederation period and despite the authoritarian tendencies of the commercial oligarchs, cliques and compacts ruling British North America, the record is one of comparative leniency. This response was not simply a reflection of the civil mores of British North America, a belief that harshness in the law is evidence of weakness or, later in the century, a clichéd residual commitment to the Victorian legal formula of peace, order and good government. It also reflected the growing effectiveness of other legal measures focused on what, since the eighteenth century, has been called “national security.”[8] We will see the significance of this change more clearly in considering sedition, but as an index of the new legal regime, it is worth noting that as early as 1890 Canada adopted an Official Secrets Act based on the British version regarding breaches of official trust. Violations of the Act are still serious offences, but unlike treason can be applied only to civil and military servants of the Crown.

We noted that the context within which nineteenth-century charges of treason were brought was rebellion or invasion, both of which clearly present immediate and violent challenges to the regime. Likewise during the twentieth century, when the lesser but still serious charges of sedition were laid, this has taken place typically during periods of political turmoil.

On October 27, 1915, Oscar Felton sat in an Okotoks, Alberta, bar and shared his views on the War with the barkeep. He allowed as he wished the Germans might cross the Channel and wipe England off the map. He was charged and convicted of sedition; his conviction (for uttering seditious words spoken with seditious intent) was upheld by the Alberta Supreme Court. He was not the only Canadian civilian convicted of sedition during the War.[9] The best-known example of seditious conspiracy, however, came after the War: the Winnipeg General Strike.

As we saw, in democratic regimes, sedition must involve an incitement to violence against established authority. When we consider how this condition applied to the streets of Winnipeg in 1919, accounts differ. According to the distinguished Canadian historian D.C. Masters, “It is, therefore, the opinion of the author that there is no seditious conspiracy and that the strike was what it purported to be, an effort to secure the principle of collective bargaining.”[10] This 1950 account has been echoed by nearly all subsequent historians.

Politicians of the day, charged with maintaining public order, saw things differently: The strikers were a threat and that was that. Perhaps they were honest workers, but perhaps as well, as a contemporary observer, J. Castell Hopkins, noted, they had been misled and deceived by a few “clever” revolutionaries for whom the recent events in Russia were a model.[11] Hopkins could discover little difference among the various flavours of socialists, though later historians took pains to dissect the sectarian splits between ordinary Social Democrats, and more radical Spartacists or adherents of the One Big Union. Hopkins’ reasoning was straightforward: All the socialist groups professed to believe that an “irrepressible conflict of interest between the capitalist and the worker necessarily expresses itself as a struggle for political supremacy.” Under the circumstances, it can hardly be expected that pragmatic and prudential political authorities would pay much attention to fine doctrinal distinctions among their antagonists.

For political authorities in 1919, burdened with immediate concerns for public order, a general strike by its very nature and independent of any specific purposes was considered a revolutionary action.[12] After all, bread and milk wagons bore signs that authorized delivery of their wares that were signed by the Strike Committee. Was this not a usurpation of legitimate government licensing authority? And did not the strike leaders say they were in control of the city? Was Winnipeg not, in effect, run by a Workers’ Council or, as we say in Russian, “a Soviet?” As Peter Lederman, a lawyer, observed, “The general strike involved a usurpation of government, and as such could not help but be inherently violent in some respect.”[13]

The government acted in 1919 as decisively as it had done in the preceding century when confronting acts of treason. The eight leaders were all charged with six counts of seditious conspiracy, each of which involved inciting His Majesty’s subjects to use unlawful means to overthrow the constitution and establish a Soviet regime.[14] Moreover, Robert Borden recalled in his Memoirs that the Immigration Bill amendments, which would enable the government to deport foreign (i.e., British) “troublemakers” to the United Kingdom (though British subjects had never before been considered “foreign” in Canadian law), passed all three readings in 20 minutes and received Senate approval and Royal Assent within the day. The “revolutionary leaders,” as the Federal Minister of Labour, Senator Gideon Robertson, called them, were arrested and sent to Stony Mountain Penitentiary.

The point, it seems to me, is not that the strikers today might look to historians as if they are engaged in vigorous collective bargaining, but that the government considered sedition to be an imminent threat so that prosecuting the strikers for seditious offences was an acceptable means of maintaining order. Moreover, the press agreed as regards the danger of a communist conspiracy and the fundamental threat it posed to the regime.

A decade later, in quieter times, eight leaders of the Communist Party of Canada were arrested; seven were charged and convicted of being members of a seditious and thus unlawful association. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Ontario, the conviction was quashed because membership in the Communist Party needed to be supplemented by seditious actions. This seemed to legal commentators to restore a balance that had been missing in 1915 when Felton was jailed simply because of his subversive and unpatriotic opinions. During the 1930s, the nation was not at war and so could more easily abide the public expression of communist opinion.

By the end of World War II, the climate of official opinion was beginning to change. Although Kanao Inouye, a.k.a. the Kamloops Kid (so named for his birthplace) was hanged for treason in Hong Kong, he was in reality punished for war crimes – specifically for causing the deaths of eight Canadian soldiers held as prisoners of war. Because there was no law covering war crimes committed by Canadians, Inouye appealed his initial conviction and was acquitted. He then was charged with treason, to which he objected on the grounds that he owed his allegiance to Japan. Military justice as administered by the British was commonsensical enough to prevent Inouye having it both ways: He could not escape the charge of war crimes by claiming to be Canadian and the charge of treason by claiming to bear allegiance to the Emperor of Japan. He was, accordingly, hanged. His execution was, however, an exception that was apparently acceptable to the government of Canada because it took place on the other side of the world – and perhaps also because it involved brutal behaviour by an ethnic Japanese.

A more accurate harbinger for the future of treason and sedition is found in the Gouzenko Affair. In summary, what looked to commonsense like evidence of treason, namely spying for the USSR, was turned by public authorities into a simple violation of the Official Secrets Act.

The facts are straightforward. In September 1945, a cipher clerk, Igor Gouzenko, left the Soviet Embassy bearing a load of documents proving the existence of a Soviet spy ring in Canada. The initial response of the Government of Canada reflected the pusillanimity of elected and non-elected officials, but eventually, with advice and assistance from the FBI and MI5, both of which considered spies a threat, the government established a Royal Commission headed by two justices of the Supreme Court of Canada. They heard extensive in camera testimony, which produced 6,000 pages of transcript. In February 1946, a dozen men and women were arrested, including an army officer. More individuals were arrested later.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King confided to his diary that he was concerned about his “reputation as a democrat.” The Soviets said they had, indeed, received some information from Canadian nationals, but it was unimportant because of the “advanced technical attainments” of the Soviet Union. When the Royal Commission Report was published in the summer of 1946, it contradicted the Soviet claims, particularly regarding secrets of A-bomb construction. The Report named names as well as their highly sensitive positions in the military and civil service.[15] The Commissioners were particularly surprised to learn that the agents had been recruited for ideological rather than mercenary reasons.

For Canadians at the time, at least insofar as their views can be inferred from opinion polls and editorials, the spies were traitors pure and simple. One of the obvious reasons for such a commonsensical conclusion was that many of the witnesses suffered near complete loss of memory when questioned about specific events. In contrast, Gouzenko’s detailed testimony indicated clearly that the accused had betrayed their country by violating their oaths Subsequently, lawyers and newspaper editorials reflected on whether in camera proceedings amounted to a secret trial and a violation of the rights of the accused.[16] The significance of the Gouzenko Affair, it seems to me, lies in its not resulting in several trials for treason.

In 1951, in the Boucher case, mentioned above, the Supreme Court of Canada put an end to the antique meaning of sedition. In 1962, members of the leadership of the Sons of Freedom Doukhobor sect were charged with seditious conspiracy but were acquitted despite several incidents of arson, because of lack of direct evidence and the alleged threats to the civil liberties of the accused, namely their freedom of religion.

In 1970, Canadians experienced the October Crisis.[17] The Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, invoked the War Measures Act and caused 500 people to be arrested as part of an “apprehended insurrection.” Under the terms of the War Measures Act, the “apprehension” of the insurrection is left to the executive and is non-debatable in Parliament. It was apparent soon enough that there had been a misapprehension, at least to the extent that no armed, which is to say, serious insurrection was under way.

Several of the leaders of the separatist cause were charged with “conspiracy to advocate” violence. This was not advocating violence and certainly not acting violently, but merely agreeing to advocate violence – two steps away from the act. As with the 1962 Doukhobor conspiracy, the judiciary ruled the charge was too vague, and it was quashed – though three of the separatists were later charged with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the government. Two were acquitted. The third, author Pierre Valières, went into hiding for several months; he then emerged to declare he had renounced the FLQ and supported the Parti Québécois. In October 1972, he was given a suspended sentence, and the sedition charge was stayed. He later received a government grant to pursue what today would be called community organization activities.

The legal interpretations of these cases was given a representative description by Peter MacKinnon: “Vague definitions and rules of evidence peculiar to conspiracy facilitate the degeneration of a conspiracy trial into a trial of ideas rather than one of specific individuals and actual consequences.”[18] This is true, but it is not the whole truth.

Even if seditious conspiracy is a political weapon useful to stifle dissent, that can still be a helpful, if temporary, political tool precisely because the courts, eventually, will get around to quashing charges of seditious conspiracy under circumstances where nothing more than unpopular, unpatriotic or even subversive opinions are involved. On the other hand, when political groups are perceived to be a direct threat to the regime, seditious conspiracy is a good way to remove the threat in order to decide, at leisure, whether it is real. Even democracies need to defend themselves.

The pattern of a forceful government response followed by leniency, which began with the Ancaster Assizes in 1814 and continued certainly as late as the Gouzenko Affair, was prolonged with the October Crisis. In 1970, 86 people were charged under the War Measures Act and 62 under sections of the Criminal Code. Only five charged under the Act who pled not guilty were convicted. There was, however, a clear difference between the two twentieth-century rebellions. The violence in Winnipeg in 1919 was almost entirely inferential; the violence of the FLQ was declared policy. The government responded differently on each occasion. In 1919, the government tried strongly to politicize the events, including the trials, when the evidence was relatively thin; in Quebec, the government tried equally strongly to depoliticize the criminal acts of the accused when the evidence was strong that their actions were highly political. In the first case, the objective was to minimize sympathy for seditious Reds; in the second, it was to minimize sympathy for seditious nationalists.[19]

It is possible to see in this pattern evidence of Machiavellian bureaucratic or political cunning, but there is no reason to think that Canadian politicians and bureaucrats, with the possible exception of Pierre Trudeau, were even acquainted with the teachings of the great Florentine. Although they may be Machiavellian by instinct, it seems to me more accurate to say that with contemporary violent threats – terrorism, for example – as well as the option of constitutional independence for Quebec (or any other province) as provided by the Clarity Act, the old legal and political weapons of sedition and treason look both obsolete and quaint. Why is this so?

Now What?

The response of the government in 1919 was a glimpse of things to come. Not that the decisiveness of politicians and vigorous behaviour of the police (and their auxiliaries) was repeated, but that authorities relied on new procedures: surveillance, enforcement, intelligence gathering and evaluation. These methods of handling perceived security threats were continued after the General Strike and into the present. Whether information is housed in the Security Service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) or in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), we now rely almost entirely on security intelligence, which is to say pre-emptive, micro-managed bureaucratic options to deal with the kind of threats that used to be punished after the fact by sedition and treason prosecutions. Today such offences, as Barry Wright said, “are largely moribund.”[20]

There are several reasons for this change. Once sedition and treason accusations slipped out of the control of the executive and were actually contested in court, lawyers sympathetic to the accused were capable of exploiting their procedural rights and frustrating prosecutorial zeal. Accordingly, pre-emptive measures in support of national security were considered more “executive-enabling” than were high profile trials. Various special branches within the police and military bureaucracies, aided initially by the Official Secrets Act, then by the War Measures Act, and today by the Canadian Anti-Terrorism Act, took to their new-found tasks with an administrative enthusiasm divorced from any sense of effectiveness.

The bureaucratization of national security is, almost necessarily, accompanied by rendering the changes secret. Bureaucracies practically by definition do not appear in public. This is even truer for security bureaucrats than it is for, say, the activities of the Assistant Deputy Minister for employment.[21] The consequence is to remove security issues even farther from public scrutiny by consigning the resolution of them to the courts.

The chief legal reason for this change flows from the prominence the courts have given to the Charter, the terms of which would make treason and seditious conspiracy charges almost impossible to sustain.

A second reason is that security agencies such as CSIS, which are more interested in gathering intelligence than in securing criminal convictions, are always reluctant to produce evidence that might compromise their sources – as invariably such production might do. In this respect, the bureaucratization of national security is but one aspect of a more general political change in Canada, which political scientist Allan Cairns has called the growth of the “embedded state.”[22]

A final reason we are unlikely to see treason and sedition charges ever again stems from changes in the way legal scholars have conceptualized political threats. Moreover, I would argue that they have not changed the terms of debate in a political vacuum or in an ivory tower cut off from the wider world. After all, lawyers are engaged in practical affairs and although they may well have an influence on public manners and expectations, they also clearly reflect the sentiments of the day. As part of their legal practice, they must deal with popular sentiments as well as facts and law every time they present a case.

For example, we noted that treason presupposed that citizens had a duty of loyalty. Today, however, legal scholars (and many others who may generally be referred to as intellectual opinion leaders) think rather differently. Moreover, they express their views not in such straightforward declarations as “no one has a duty of allegiance to anyone or anything,” but in an indirect, baroque (and often opaque) post-modern discourse remotely derived from the English language.

Carl Stychin, for example, argued that “Canadian” has become “an identity open to resignification and intersection through an ever-changing variety of perspectives engaged in a dialogue guaranteed by the Charter.”[23] This is why, for example, reports in 1999 that Serbian-Canadians were fighting in the Balkans on behalf of Serbia and thus potentially against their fellow citizens in the Canadian Forces were merely “examined” by the RCMP without charges being filed.[24] Again, to commonsense, their acts clearly contravened s.46(1)(c) of the Criminal Code: They assisted “armed forces against whom Canadian Forces are engaged in hostilities, whether or not a state of war exists between Canada and the country whose forces they are.”

Lloyd Wong explained this behaviour by Serbian-Canadians was a consequence of their “transnational” identity.[25] Whether that identity translates into a lessening of any residual duty of loyalty is unclear, not least of all because the meaning of such an identity is highly questionable and its bearing on the activities of the Serbian-Canadian fighters even more so. But that, surely, is the point of using such language in the first place. Moreover, it reflects the reality of what Canada has become.

The issue reappears in one final example as celebrated in its way as Riel’s trial: the Toronto 18. These individuals were accused in one form or another with terrorism. The crimes of which they were accused, and as mentioned above included attempting to intimidate Parliament and threatening to behead the Prime Minister (as well as planning to damage government and private property in downtown Toronto), would unquestionably have been considered treasonous.

Three of the accused pled guilty and two more were found guilty at trial (five more made bargains with the Crown and the remainder are awaiting trial), but apparently the option of charging them with treason was not entertained. The uproar in the media concerning the threat to multiculturalism and the chill felt by Muslims in Toronto clearly made any thought of prosecution on the grounds of treason politically impossible. Unlike the hapless Mr. Felton of Okotoks, these immigrants and children of immigrants were absolved of any duty of allegiance. One reason, of course, is that Canadians at large may have no sense of emergency: After all, these “homegrown terrorists” were caught and charged with criminal, not political, crimes. So what’s to worry about?

Whether in any particular example, such as the Toronto 18, we think of the response of the government and of Canadian citizens as reflecting confidence or complacency, one thing seems clear. To answer the question: “What happened to treason?”, is, to simplify somewhat, as follows: Treason and sedition have effectively disappeared from Canadian law, while remaining on the books, because the sentiments and expectations that there are political crimes and political criminals has disappeared from our political culture and from our regime. These kinds of offences and offenders have been replaced by threats to administrative or executive structures. In the post-modern language favoured by avant-garde contemporary legal theorists, the options are either a “pessimistic” fear of a reduced possibility of resisting power or an “optimistic” one of expecting the withering away of the modern state, which apparently will be accompanied or followed by sundry forms of liberation.

Perhaps more likely is the popular embrace of a bureaucratic order that anticipates and so reduces the possibility of resistance taking place. One way or another, political action, the consequences of which invariably are surprising even to political actors, has been reduced to a problem to be managed by competent and specialized officials. To the extent this is true, Canadians have become citizens of a new kind of regime, just as supporters of a duty-less, transnational and postmodern society hoped. And, if a historian of an earlier generation, A.R.M. Lower, was right in saying that a nation is “a collection of people who have done great things together,” which means they are capable of prohibiting entirely other things such as treason and sedition then perhaps Canadians have also become the first post-national nation as well.

Barry Cooper is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. His latest book is It’s the Regime, Stupid: A Report from the Cowboy West on Why Stephen Harper Matters, from Key Porter Books.

[1] George F.G. Stanley, Louis Riel (Toronto: Ryerson, 1963), 114. See also Thomas Flanagan’s Riel and the Rebellion: 1885 Reconsidered (Saskatoon: Western Producer, 1983) and Louis “David” Riel: Prophet of the New World, Revised ed., (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983).

[2] Carolyn Strange, “Hybrid History and the Retrial of the Painful Past,” Crime Media Culture 2:2 (2006), 199.

[3] Andrew Coyne, National Post, October 25, 2002, A9.

[4] Law Reform Commission of Canada, “Crimes Against the State, Working paper 49 (Ottawa: LRCC, 1986).

[5] [1951] S.C.R. 265, 285-6.

[6] Frederick Pollock and Frederick William Maitland, The History of English Law Before the Time of Edward I, ed. S.F.C. Milson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1968), II, 503ff.

[7] S.C Biggs, “Treason and the Trial of William Joyce,” The University of Toronto Law Journal, 7:1 (1947), 175.

[8] Barry Wright, “Quiescent Leviathan? Citizenship and National Security Measures in Late Modernity,” Journal of Law and Society 25:2 (1998), 213-36.

[9] Peter MacKinnon, “Conspiracy and Sedition as Canadian Political Crimes,” McGill Law Journal 23 (1977), 623-6.

[10] D.C. Masters, The Winnipeg General Strike (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1950), 34.

[11] J. Castell Hopkins, The Canadian Annual Review of Public Affairs (Toronto: Public Affairs, 1920), 447.

[12] Roger Graham, Arthur Meighen, vol. I (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1960), 240.

[13] Peter R. Lederman, “Sedition in Winnipeg: An Examination of the Trials for Seditious Conspiracy Arising from the General Strike of 1919,” Queen’s Law Journal 3 (1976-7), 13.

[14] D.C. Masters, The Winnipeg General Strike, 114-5, fn.1.

[15] Amy Knight, How the Cold War Began: The Gouzenko Affair and the Hunt for Soviet Spies (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 2005); Jack Granatstein and David Stafford, Spy Wars: Espionage and Canada from Gouzenko to Glasnost (Toronto: Key Porter, 1990).

[16] The Gouzenko Transcripts, eds. Robert Bothwell and J.L. Granatstein (Ottawa: Deveau, n.d.), 15-16.

[17] Barry Cooper, “Rhetoric and Violence: Some Considerations of the Events of October 1970,” ed. David Shugarman, Thinking About Change (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974), 71-88.

[18] Peter MacKinnon, “Conspiracy and Sedition,” 643.

[19] Kenneth McNaught, “Political Trials and the Canadian Political Tradition,” University of Toronto Law Journal 24 (1974), 161-4.

[20] Barry Wright, “Quiescent Leviathan?” 222.

[21] I have discussed this in detail regarding the RCMP in “Bureaucrats in Uniform: The Politicization of the RCMP,” Fraser Institute digital publication available at

[22] I have discussed this question in It’s the Regime, Stupid! A Report from the Cowboy West on Why Stephen Harper Matters (Toronto: Key Porter, 2009).

[23] Carl F. Stychin, “A Postmodern Constitutionalism: Equality Rights, Identity Politics and the Canadian National Imagination,” Dalhousie Law Journal 17 (1994), 62.

[24] Marina Jimenez, “It’s Illegal for Canadians to Fight Against Canada,” National Post, (April 28, 1999), A10.

[25] Lloyd Wong, “Transnationalism, Active Citizenship and Belonging in Canada,” International Journal 63 (2007-08), 85.

Love C2C Journal? Here's how you can help us grow.

More for you

Want More Affordable Housing in Canada? Build More Houses

Solving Canada’s housing crisis shouldn’t require more than a single lesson in economics. When prices are high, a free market always responds and supplies more. Yet amidst Canada’s severe problems of housing affordability, this foolproof mechanism is continually frustrated by governments that are either ignorant of how markets work, fixated on preserving the status quo or display naked contempt for the profit motive. Peter Shawn Taylor looks at the scorn heaped on land developers, landlords and the rest of the housing supply industry and wonders how they became the villains of this story.

Thinking Clearly in a Time of Panic

How should the conservative mind respond to the coronavirus pandemic? Panic and despair are in ample supply, and the urge to succumb appears widespread. Others have steered, via deliberate ignorance, to fatalism, though the walls are closing in on such rebels. Both extremes are beneath thoughtful conservatives. C2C Editor-in-Chief George Koch counsels that however dark today might appear, the eternal search for objective truth – the foundation for all conservative thought – is the first necessary step along the path to seeing humankind through to brighter days.

Future of Conservatism Series Part IV: Rallying the World’s Centre-Right Parties

As Canada’s Conservatives evaluate leadership hopefuls and ponder what their party is about and which path might lead to electoral victory, it’s easy to ignore international politics. They should take a look, for the world holds dozens of established centre-right democratic parties, and many are tackling challenges of relevance and adaptation at least as steep as those burdening Canada’s Conservatives. John Weissenberger travelled to Washington, D.C. for the annual conference of the International Democrat Union (IDU) and provides his assessment in this essay. Later this year, once international travel is restored, Weissenberger heads to Vienna to deepen his understanding at the IDU’s 2020 Forum.

Averting “Climate Poverty” for Canada’s Middle Class

Pursuing grandiose visions tends to cloud judgment, and when the vision is saving our very planet from an apprehended climate crisis, it’s little surprise that numbers are fudged, logic is twisted, the hardest-hit are ignored and entire social classes are cast into the trash. Matthew Lau, however, refuses to be dazzled by dreams. In this article, Lau remains rooted in reality and fixed on crunching the numbers to come up with some arresting conclusions about the huge costs of government climate policies to working people here and now, set against marginal if not ephemeral benefits to come over the next 80 years.

Hit the Bench: Beverley McLachlin’s Reputation Takes a Dive in Retirement

When Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin stepped down in 2017, she was regarded as one of the most consequential jurists in Canadian history, largely due to her court’s activist approach to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Her career arc was also widely considered a triumph of progressive feminism in the face of an entrenched legal patriarchy. That reputation is due for a re-assessment. Grant A. Brown sifts through the evidence of McLachlin’s autobiography and various post-retirement missteps, and unearths what he feels is a surprising lack of principle, objectivity and sound reasoning.

Stronger Alliances with First Nations Could Help Overcome Blockade Disruptions

The sight of Justin Trudeau’s ministers genuflecting before petty aristocrats, anarchists, tire-burners and masked thugs sickened millions of Canadians – and made some of us think about hoarding critical supplies. Aside from the venality and sheer ineffectiveness of the Liberals’ approach, Gwyn Morgan was struck by our enlightened rulers’ bone-headed misunderstanding of diplomacy. Going cap-in-hand to the people who despise you is unlikely to end well. And when there are other options, it’s unforgivable. Morgan suggests instead applying age-old principles of diplomacy – like supporting one’s allies to maximize their influence. He should know, for he has done it himself.

Share This Story

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on print


Subscribe to the C2C Weekly
It's Free!

* indicates required