Secret Service: Political Policing in Canada From the Fenians to Fortress America

Secret Service: Political Policing in Canada From the Fenians to Fortress America

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By Reg Whitaker, Gregory S. Kealey, and Andrew Parnaby
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2012
World Rights
720 Pages
ISBN 9780802078018
Published Jul 2012
Online discount: 15%
 $39.95    $33.96
ISBN 9780802007520
Published Jul 2012
Online discount: 25%
 $95.00    $71.25
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442662384
Published Jul 2012
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $39.95

Secret Service provides the first comprehensive history of political policing in Canada – from its beginnings in the mid-nineteenth century, through two world wars and the Cold War to the more recent 'war on terror.' This book reveals the extent, focus, and politics of government-sponsored surveillance and intelligence-gathering operations.

Drawing on previously classified government records, the authors reveal that for over 150 years, Canada has run spy operations largely hidden from public or parliamentary scrutiny – complete with undercover agents, secret sources, agent provocateurs, coded communications, elaborate files, and all the usual apparatus of deception and betrayal so familiar to fans of spy fiction. As they argue, what makes Canada unique among Western countries is its insistent focus of its surveillance inwards, and usually against Canadian citizens.

Secret Service highlights the many tensions that arise when undercover police and their covert methods are deployed too freely in a liberal democratic society. It will prove invaluable to readers attuned to contemporary debates about policing, national security, and civil rights in a post-9/11 world.

Reginald Whitaker is a professor of Political Science, York University.

Gregory S. Kealey is a professor emeritus in the Department of History at the University of New Brunswick. He is the editor of University of Toronto Press’s Canadian Social History Series and former president of the Canadian Historical Association and the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Andrew Parnaby is an assistant professor in the Department of History at Cape Breton University.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Political Policing in Canada

Part I: Origins
Chapter 1: The Empire Strikes Back
Chapter 2: 'You drive us Hindus out of Canada and we will drive every white man out of India!'
Chapter 3: A War on Two Fronts

Part II: Survival and Revival
Chapter 4: The RCMP, the Communist Party, and the Consolidation of Canada's Cold War
Chapter 5: 'Redder Than Ever': Political Policing During the Great Depression
Chapter 6: Keep the Home Fires Burning, 1939-1945

Part III: Cold War Canada
Chapter 7: The Ice Age: Mounties on the Cold War Front Line, 1945-1969
Chapter 8: The Coyote, the Roadrunner, and the Reds under the Bed: Communist Espionage and Subversion

Part IV: Separatists, Scandals, and Reform
Chapter 9: National Unity, National Security: the Quebec Conundrum
Chapter 10: 'I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!': The Creation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service
Chapter 11:Old Wine into New Bottles: CSIS, 1984-2001

Part V: After the Twin Towers
Chapter 12: After the Deluge: In the Shadow of the Twin Towers, 2001-2010
Chapter 13: No More Mr. Nice Spy: CSIS and the Dark Side of the War on Terror

Conclusion: Policing Canadian Democracy


‘This premier, authoritative guide to Canadian security intelligence from the 1860s to 2010 attains a rare degree of excellence in scholarship. Representing the fruit of decades of research, Secret Service brings a wealth of material together for the first time and demonstrates the authors' impressive collective grasp of the history of Canadian security intelligence. Among this book's undoubted highlights are the best-ever treatments to appear of the Air India disaster, the RCMP's role in the Quebec crisis, and the Mackenzie and McDonald Commissions; as well as its analysis Canadian security practices after 9/11. Secret Service will stand as a reference source of inestimable value for years to come.’

Wesley Wark, Department of History, University of Toronto

‘An excellent history… Deeply scholarly yet refreshing unacademic in its tone and temper, the text bridges with considerable skill the requirements of rigorous, measured analysis of a wide variety of sources that is inherent in good history… The book deserves to be widely read.’

Jez Littlewood, Literary Review of Canada vol 21:04:2013

‘Secret Service provides an excellent overview of how Canada’s security service engaged in the political policing of its citizens over the course of Canadian History… It serves as one of the most complete studies ever produced on the topic.’

Dennis Molinaro, Canadian Historical Review, vol 94:01:2013

‘This is a must read for anyone interested in intelligence in Canada… It is also a very important study for those interested in how the boundaries of race, class, gender, and difference were coercively enforced by a secret state within the state.’

Jeremy Buddenhagen, BC Studies number 182: summer 2014

‘This book, rich in both detail and analysis, is the definitive source on political policing in Canada. It should be of interest to all those interested in Canadian history as well as to specialists in the history of policing and intelligence.’

Kent Roach, Law and History Review, May 2014

Canada Prize in the Social Sciences awarded by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (Canada) - Winner in 2013
John A. Macdonald Prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association (Canada) - Commended in 2013
J.W. Dafoe Book Prize (Canada) - Short-listed in 2013
Donald Smiley Prize awarded by the Canadian Political Science Association (Canada) - Short-listed in 2013