Courtesy Reuters

Embryo Fascism in Quebec

IN THESE days of clashing ideologies, nations are studying with unusual care the political philosophies of their neighbors. The United States and Canada, the two North American democracies, have watched with no little interest the tendency towards Fascism in some of the South American republics. Clearly the Monroe Doctrine is no defense against an invasion of ideas. Fascism has put in an appearance in certain parts of North America also. A recent examination of Fascist organizations in the United States indicates that at the moment they are not of great consequence.[i] In Canada, Fascism appears to have made more progress. Quebec, the most French and Catholic province in the Dominion, has in the past two years been the scene of a number of incidents which bear all the marks of Fascist inspiration and leadership and which give evidence of a native movement of considerable proportions.

The outward manifestations of Quebec Fascism run true to type. A strong anti-Communist drive has been organized in the province, backed by all the authority of the present Duplessis government and the Catholic clergy. The inhabitants are daily being told that Communism is the greatest evil of the age, that it is rampant in Canada, and that it must be sought out and exterminated. In the name of law and order, traditional liberties hitherto enjoyed by the citizens have been taken away. In March 1937 the Quebec legislature adopted the Act Respecting Communistic Propaganda,[ii] popularly known as the "Padlock Act." Under this statute the Attorney-General of Quebec may, without the necessity of any judicial authority, place a padlock on any house or building which he suspects of being used to "propagate communism or bolshevism." The owner of the property must then come before the court and prove his innocence if the padlock is to be removed, and no appeal lies from the decision of a single judge who hears the case. The words "communism" and "bolshevism" are left undefined. In addition, the printing or distributing of any

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