Unremarked by commentators on Canada’s federal election last November was the performance of candidates for the Communist Party of Canada. To qualify for national status, a party must field candidates in 50 ridings, which the CPC manages to do despite a singular lack of voter support. Out of some 13 million votes cast, the CPC garnered 6,782, its average of 135 ranging from a high of 310 in a Montreal riding to a low of 54 in Vancouver South. Yet the party’s influence is undeniable.

Solitary amidst the mass of partisan pleas to embrace or shun freer trade with the United States during the election campaign was a five-column-wide advertisement bearing the headline “Wouldn’t you like to hand this down to your kids?” Below it, and held between a thumb and forefinger, was a tiny replica of the Earth; home, readers were reminded, to 60,000 nuclear warheads. Instead of providing a world that kids could grow up in, Canadians were said to be “spending billions of dollars on aggressive military hardware. Money that could be spent insuring that children get adequate childcare, or building affordable homes, or feeding the hungry people lined up at foodbanks from Victoria to St. John’s.”

Electors were urged to “vote Canada out of the arms race” and to sign the Canadian Peace Pledge that would “make Canada a nuclear weapons free zone and make Canada an international voice for peace.” The Canadian Peace Pledge Campaign, one learned, was sponsored by 180 organizations from coast to coast and facilitated by the Canadian Peace Alliance, for which the election was the stage. Wherever Prime Minister Brian Mulroney appeared he was beset by hecklers linking free trade to loss of Canada’s sovereignty and entanglement in US militarism.

To both players and plot in this enduring item of Canadian theater Maurice Tugwell’s Peace With Freedom now supplies a guide. The author has considerable qualifications: British army service in Europe, India, Palestine, Malaya, Cyprus, Bahrain, Iran, and Northern Ireland (where he initiated the function of countering propaganda); and a doctorate from King’s College, London, for his thesis on revolutionary propaganda and possible countermeasures. After some years as director of the University of New Brunswick’s Centre for Conflict Studies, he formed and is now the director of Toronto’s Mackenzie Institute for the Study of Terrorism, Revolution and Propaganda.

Tugwell notes that “The Canadian peace movement consists of three main components: the churches; the broad mainstream, including various radical groups that are not directly or indirectly allied to Moscow; and the Communists and close allies who are.” Separately and together, they exert unrelenting influence upon academics and schoolteachers, politicians and mandarins, artists, clerics, journalists, retired generals, and union leaders who constitute Canada’s New Class.

Baldly stated, Canada’s “peace” movement makes two assertions: that nuclear weapons threaten the peace, and that the Soviet Union doesn’t. Consequently, it is the NATO countries, through their expressed intention to use nuclear weapons if attacked, that endanger the peace and even the Earth’s survival. Ignored is the inconvenient Soviet record of unparalleled domestic massacres and external aggression. The forty-three-year-long forced occupation of Eastern Europe, the calculated savagery and genocide in Afghanistan, the continuing support of armed conflict in Africa, Central America, and the Far East—all this is ignored. So is the Soviet Union’s massive, and still continuing, accumulation of land, air, and sea forces far beyond any possible “defensive” justification.

Indeed, in the period of Mikhail Gorbachev’s “new political thinking,” the Soviet embassy in Ottawa put out propaganda claiming that “the Soviet troops in Afghanistan are defending peace, justice, freedom, and a life worthy of human beings.” The author observes: “Not one demonstration against these barbarities has been mounted by the Canadian churches or the peace movement, in remarkable contrast to their reactions to the Vietnamese war.”

In all this, the movement is faithful to the advice that Lenin gave Felix Dzerzhinsky, creator of the Soviet secret police. When Dzerzhinsky asked how he should approach his target audience in the West,’Lenin said: “Tell them what they want to hear.” What the Canadian peace movement doesn’t want its audience to hear is that the nuclear deterrent has kept the peace in Europe since 1945, and that the obvious result of abandoning it would be to expose NATO to the overwhelming “conventional” forces of the Soviet Union and its captive states. Marshal of the Soviet Union N.V. Ogarkov has argued for years that a war in Europe could be won and won quickly without nuclear weapons, provided the West did not resort to their use. Moreover, Soviet senior staff exercises show their divisions advancing westward: a “defensive” battle is one started by them and fought entirely on NATO territory.

Doggedly, the peace movement urges Canadians to opt out of alliances and any defense or resistance to the imagined Soviet threat by seeking “neutrality” and by abandoning the concept of Peace With Freedom as being altogether too dangerous. “The only Western equipment acceptable to the peace movements,” the author comments, “is a white flag. This may seem a drastic oversimplification, but it is only by pursuing the internal logic of the movement to its end that its absurdity or its real operational intent can be understood. . . . The peace ideology supplies answers to all questions, and it gives them within a framework devoid of visible foreign influence. It is, apparently, a homespun, good, clean Canadian connection.”

That perception, more than any other feature, distinguishes the ideology of the Canadian peace movement as a masterpiece of Soviet propaganda and deception. “Backed by the power of the Soviet propaganda apparatus, but nevertheless operating inside Canada from a minority position, the Communist element has succeeded in shaping an ideology that has no apparent connection with communism or the USSR, but which actually serves Soviet policy in every respect.”

Last year’s election gave some indication of the movement’s effect on the political process. Despite the CPC’s dismal showing at the polls, both the Liberal Party and the officially socialist New Democratic Party opposed the Mulroney government’s planned purchase of nuclear-powered submarines. Both opposed the testing in Canada of US unarmed cruise missiles, while the NDP would have pulled Canadian forces out of Europe and declared Canada a nuclear-weapons-free zone. The return of Prime Minister Mulroney reconfirmed Canada’s commitment to the defense of freedom, but there remains a significant body of opinion that would persuade Canadians otherwise.

If Tugwell’s book is read as widely as it deserves to be, it will do much to correct the imbalance. Nor is its application confined to Canada. In the lexicon of Leninist dogma, peace is what follows the final victory of communism everywhere, and the author’s analysis of the tactics and strategy employed will be invaluable to all who would resist them.

“Defence,” he writes in his introduction, “is not a warlike activity, but a response to a warlike threat. Freedom and peace call for clear heads and stout hearts. These do not threaten anyone.”


[Peace With Freedom, by Maurice Tugwell (Toronto: Key Porter Books) 249 pp., $24.95]