PROFUNC (1950–1983[1]), which stands for "PROminent FUNCtionaries of the communist party", was a Government of Canada top secret plan to identify and intern Canadian communists and crypto-communists during the height of the Cold War.[2][3]

History[edit | edit source]

With the 1945 Gouzenko Affair occurring in Canada, which was a main contributor to starting the Cold War[4] and the threat of the Korean War becoming the precursor for the Third World War, the Government of Canada in 1950 determined a need to create the PROFUNC blacklist.[2][3]

In the 1950s, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Commissioner Stuart Taylor Wood, had a PROFUNC list[5] of approximately 16,000 suspected communists and 50,000 communist sympathizers[6] to be observed and potentially interned, in a national security state of emergency, such as a Third World War crisis with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Red China.[2][3]

A separate arrest document, known formally as a C-215 form, was written up for each potential internee and updated regularly with personal information, including but not limited to, age, descriptions, photographs, vehicle information, until the 1980s.[7] In addition, more obscure information, such as, potential escape routes from the individuals personal residence were noted.[3] Several prominent Canadians are suspected of being on the PROFUNC list including: Winnipeg alderman Jacob Penner[3], Roland Penner[7] and Tommy Douglas.[3]

It is suspected that the PROFUNC blacklist was used to increase the number of people detained as Front de libération du Québec (FLQ) suspects during the 1970 October Crisis, in contravention of the presumption of innocence, many of whom had no affiliation with the FLQ.[2]

The Canadian Penitentiary Service received an updated PROFUNC list from the RCMP in 1971 to make them aware of the number of potential internees.[8]

In the early 1980s, the then Toronto Liberal Member of Parliament and Solicitor General of Canada, Bob Kaplan, caused PROFUNC to become defunct[1] by introducing administrative changes entailing the RCMP to discontinue whatever was contributing to superannuated communists encountering problems while attempting to cross the Canada – United States border.[7] Kaplan claims to have had no knowledge of PROFUNC until advised of it by journalists in 2010 and that he was dismayed by its existence, "I just can’t believe it had any government authorization behind it", said Kaplan.[3]

M-Day and internment[edit | edit source]

File:Collins Bay Institution.JPG

Canadian Penitentiary

Mobilization Day (M-Day) was to be the day, in the event of a perceived national security crisis, police services would arrest and transport people noted on the PROFUNC list and temporarily detain them in reception centres across Canada including: Casa Loma, a country club in Port Arthur, Ontario and Regina Exhibition Park then they would be transferred to penitentiaries.[7] The men would be interned across Canada, the women would be interned in one of two facilities in the Niagara Peninsula or Kelowna and the children would be sent to relatives or interned with their parents.[7] Strict punishment regulations[9] awaited the internees if they broke the rules, including being held indefinitely and shot when caught while attempting a prison escape.[3]

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The existence of the program was revealed in a Jan. 24, 2000, news story by Dean Beeby of The Canadian Press. [10] In October 2010, the PROFUNC plan was discussed at length in a television documentary by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's The Fifth Estate[3] and Enquête.[11] It was not until 2010 that some Canadians, their family and friends learned for the first time that they were deemed a potential enemy of the state by the Government of Canada and law enforcement in Canada.[12] Canadians who want to determine if they or someone else were in the PROFUNC files can make a disclosure request to the Federal Government of Canada through the Privacy Act or the Access to Information Act.[13]

References[edit | edit source]

[[File:Template:Portal/Images/Default|32x28px|alt=Portal icon]] History of Canada portal
[[File:Template:Portal/Images/Default|32x28px|alt=Portal icon]] Canadian politics portal
  1. 1.0 1.1 Officer in Charge, "D" Operations; "Memorandum to Area Commanders: Ref No. 6270-2-2", RCMP Security Service, 27 May, 1983. Retrieved 19 October, 2010, via CBC website.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 "Secret Cold War plan included mass detentions", CBC News, 14 October 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 "Enemies of the State", The Fifth Estate, 15 October, 2010. Retrieved 19 October, 2010.
  4. "The Gouzenko Affair", Front Page Challenge, 18 February, 1958. Retrieved 19 October, 2010, via CBC website.
  5. "PROFUNC Recapitulation", RCMP Security Service, 15 May, 1953. Retrieved 19 October, 2010, via CBC website.
  6. Wood, Stuart T.; "Draft Letter to Stuart S. Garson", 15 February, 1950. Retrieved 19 October, 2010, via CBC website.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 "Former Manitoba AG on secret internment list", CBC News, 15 October, 2010. Retrieved 19 October, 2010.
  8. Parent, L. R.; "Letter to the Canadian Penitentiary Service", 12 November, 1971. Retrieved 19 October, 2010, via CBC website.
  9. "
  10. RCMP Had Plan to Intern 'Subversives,' Proposal Called for Communists -- and Their Children -- to Be Rounded Up at the Outbreak of War, The Globe and Mail, Jan. 24, 2000, p. A2.
  11. "Les dessous de la liste", Radio Canada, 15 October, 2010. Retrieved 19 October, 2010. (French)
  12. "CBC News - Canada - Secret internment plan included Toronto landmark". 2010-10-15. Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
  13. "How you can find out if you were in the Profunc files - the fifth estate". Retrieved 2010-10-20. 
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.