Spying on Canadians: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service and the Origins of the Long Cold War

Spying on Canadians: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Security Service and the Origins of the Long Cold War

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By Gregory S. Kealey
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2017
World Rights
256 Pages
ISBN 9781487521585
Published Feb 2017
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Award winning author Gregory S. Kealey’s study of Canada’s security and intelligence community before the end of World War II depicts a nation caught up in the Red Scare in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution and tangled up with the imperial interests of first the United Kingdom and then the United States.

Spying on Canadians brings together over twenty five years of research and writing about political policing in Canada. Through itse use of the Dominion Police and later the RCMP, Canada repressed the labour movement and the political left in defense of capital. The collection focuses on three themes; the nineteenth-century roots of political policing in Canada, the development of a national security system in the twentieth-century, and the ongoing challenges associated with research in this area owing to state secrecy and the inadequacies of access to information legislation. This timely collection alerts all Canadians to the need for the vigilant defence of civil liberties and human rights in the face of the ever increasing intrusion of the state into our private lives in the name of countersubversion and counterterrorism.

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.


Part I Nineteenth-Century Roots

1. The Empire Strikes Back: The Nineteenth-Century Origins of the Canadian Secret Service (1999)
2. The Origins of Political Policing in Canada: Class, Law and the Burden of Empire (2003), with Andy Parnaby

Part II The Origins of the Long Cold War

3. State Repression of Labour and the Left in Canada, 1914-1920: The Impact of the First World War (1992)
4. The Surveillance State: The Origins of Domestic Intelligence and Counter-Subversion in Canada, 1914-1920 (1992)
5. The Early Years of State Surveillance of Labour and the Left in Canada: The Institutional Framework of the RCMP Security and Intelligence Apparatus, 1918-1928 (1993)
6. Spymasters, Spies, and their Subjects: The RCMP and Canadian State Repression, 1914-1939 (2000)
7. ‘A War on Ethnicity?’: The RCMP and Second World War Internment (2000), with Reg Whitaker

Part III The Archival Trail

8. Filing and Defiling: The Organization of the State Security Archives in the Interwar Years (1998)
9. The RCMP, CSIS, the Public Archives of Canada, and Access to Information: A Curious Tale (1988)

"Gregory S. Kealey is one of the recognized authorities in security studies. He does an excellent job in these essays of analyzing how the needs and opinions of their political masters and the nature of the perceived economic, political, and ethnic threats influenced the ideology of those who directed and implemented political policing."

Lorne Brown, Professor Emeritus, University of Regina

"Gregory S. Kealey’s work on the history of security and, especially, the archival legwork involved in ‘digging’ for this restricted material is exceptional."

Patrizia Gentile, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University

"Canadians instantly recognize the CIA and Britain’s MI5 as dramatized in film, fiction and folklore. Popular culture overlooks our own history of domestic surveillance. Spying on Canadians turns on the lights. It is an absorbing account of a hammer in search of a nail."

Holly Doan, The Blacklocks Reporter, Saturday, April 29, 2017

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