Love, Hate, and Fear in Canada's Cold War

Description

216 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
$24.95
ISBN 0-8020-8500-8
DDC 971.063'3

Year

2004

Contributor

Edited by Richard Cavell
Reviewed by Graeme S. Mount

Graeme S. Mount is a professor of history at Laurentian University. He
is the author of Canada’s Enemies: Spies and Spying in the Peaceable
Kingdom, Chile and the Nazis, and The Diplomacy of War: The Case of
Korea.

Review

Because of the Cold War, suggest the authors, Canadians exhibited
tendencies toward intolerance, especially in matters of sex. These
essays first surfaced as lectures delivered at the University of British
Columbia during the 2000–01 academic year—that is, before the events
of 9/11.

Reg Whitaker begins with a review of American–Canadian relations
during the Cold War and the immediate postwar period. His presentation
includes areas of agreement and disagreement, and he devotes only one
paragraph to the homosexual issue. Under pressure from the United
States, he says, Canada and the United Kingdom harassed gays in the
decade following World War II. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police
screened candidates for the civil service and by the 1960s arranged the
dismissal of some already employed.

Steve Hewitt finds parallels between the notorious Stasi (East German
Ministry for State Security) and the RCMP, who monitored Unitarians, the
United Church of Canada, and the Mennonite movement’s Project
Ploughshares—all of which it suspected of Communist sympathies. The
RCMP, says Hewitt, were particularly aroused when, in 1965, the United
Church published a discussion booklet titled Christian Faith, Communist
Faith.

Franca Iacovetta argues that Canadian society during the 1950s was
intolerant of sexual deviants—that is, anyone who was not strictly
monogamous and heterosexual. Gary Kinsman reports on the harassment of
homosexuals, while Mary Louise Adams discusses the plight of lesbians.
Indecency, she says, was perceived as a threat to the nation. Finally,
Thomas Waugh argues that the Canadian film industry also promoted sexual
intolerance.

Without doubting the accuracy of the authors’ facts, this reviewer
questions whether the cause of any intolerance was the Cold War. Society
was intolerant during the two world wars, and pillars of the
establishment between 1945 and 1960 included many who had spent several
years in uniform. Accustomed as they were to walking the straight and
narrow, they assumed that the straight and narrow was appropriate. After
a lull in the 1970s, the Cold War intensified in the 1980s, especially
during Ronald Reagan’s first term. However, civilian society of the
time was permissive. By then, most Canadian authority figures were
people who had never had much, if any, military experience.

Citation

“Love, Hate, and Fear in Canada's Cold War,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 1, 2022, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/30294.