Douglas shares that honour with every great US reformer, and thousands of minor ones. Like so many of Canada's shameful moments, this one sounds like a diluted version of what goes on south of the border.
Perhaps fittingly, the file contains articles noting Douglas's concern about rumours of RCMP surveillance of Canadians, though there is no indication the politician suspected he was being watched.The stories all note that many of the RCMP secret files "remain completely sealed". I hope Canadian historians are trying to do something about that.
"Setting people to spy on one another is not the way to protect freedom," he wrote while NDP leader.
RCMP security and intelligence officers amassed files on 800,000 Canadians and actively monitored thousands of organizations, from church and women's groups to media outlets and universities.
Markings indicate Douglas's file is one of more than 650 secret dossiers the RCMP kept on Canadian politicians and bureaucrats as part of a project known as the "VIP program."
The quote from this story that's making the rounds is telling.
A Mountie assessment from the late 1970s says it was difficult to determine the influence Douglas's various leftist associates had over him: "It is felt, however, there is much we do not know about Douglas and the file should be maintained in order to correlate any additional information that surfaces which might assist in piecing this jigsaw puzzle together."There is much we do not know about Douglas. Of course, there's no indication that the RCMP learned anything that the public didn't already know.
FBI, RCMP, CIA, CSIS: whatever the initials, it's disgraceful.