OTTAWA - The RCMP's secret files on late-NDP Leader Tommy Douglas show the national police force wasnít only interested in his suspected Communist ties but also his antiwar efforts and those of his wife, Irma.
The documents, filed with the Federal Court last week and obtained through the public registry by QMI Agency, detail decades of informant notes, surveillance and press clippings amassed by the Mounties. The documents were released as part of an ongoing court battle between a media outlet and the federal government over how much of Douglasí file should be made public.
An entry from August 9, 1962, lists concerns about a group called Voice of Women (VOW). The intelligence report shows the RCMP suspected the group, which still exists, of being a Communist front.
The report states, ďA source, believed to be reliable, advised that Irma (Mrs. T.C. Douglas) joined the Regina branch VOW."
VOW got its start in 1960 as a group opposed to war and nuclear weapons, positions they still hold today, in addition to running the white poppy campaign around Remembrance Day.
The documents also detail plenty of antiwar activities surrounding the Vietnam War including preparation for a massive student protest in Ottawa, tours of North Vietnamese supporters and a citizens inquiry in Quebec to examine the war.
It was in the fall of 1970 the RCMP claim to have learned from an informant that actress Jane Fonda contacted Douglas about getting Vietnamese citizens visas to attend the Quebec inquiry.
More than 1,000 pages of the files focus on Douglasí connections to various factions of the Canadian and international left, beginning in the 1930s.
There are reports on his 1936 visit to the World Youth Congress in Geneva, Switzerland, as well as claims Douglas attended Communist meetings while studying in Chicago and that he had many ties to people in the Communist movement in Canada.
The fight to have Douglasí secret files released dates back to 2005.
The federal government released this latest batch to the Federal Court in Ottawa on Feb. 15, just ahead of a court hearing that will likely take place on Wednesday.
Not all files have been released. Some pages have been removed while other pages have plenty of black ink covering up areas the government says it cannot release due to national security concerns.