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

By Reg Whitaker, Gregory S. Kealey, and Andrew Parnaby

© 2012

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.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 720 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.5in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

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.

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

By Reg Whitaker, Gregory S. Kealey, and Andrew Parnaby

© 2012

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.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 720 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.1in x 1.5in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    ‘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

    ‘Secret Service provides a comprehensive overview of the evolution of Canada’s capabilities and objectives in political policing… The information is presented in a refreshingly jargon-free manner.’


    Curtis Robinson
    Canadian Military History vol 24:02:2015

    ‘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
  • Author Information

    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

    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

    Endnotes

  • Awards

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