From 1945 onwards the Cold war between the new super powers, USA-USSR (Russia)and the race for atomic weapons created quite a lot of paranoia in the world. In North America the no.1 enemy was the Communists and the sleeper agents hiding among us. In Canada it all started with the defection of a Russian clerk at the USSR Embassy in Ottawa. In September 1945 Igor Gouzenko gives to the Canadian government 109 secret documents showing a high level of Soviet espionnage in Canada and networks trying to steal Nuclear secrets. At first the Canadian government did not want to believe him and offered no help. Only several days later did our government wake-up to the hard reality while Gouzenko and his family lived in fear of assassination by KGB agents operating in Ottawa. Following this affair which caused grave embarrassment to Canada in the UK several British defectors like Kim Philby, Anthony Burgess, Donald MacLean, Anthony Blunt attracted a lot of attention when it was discovered that they were all Soviet Agents and working as British diplomats and MI6 agents caused a great deal of chaos in the intelligence service. There were links between the allies and secrets were shared between Canada-Britain and the USA on Nuclear matter and other sensitive dossiers since the war years and closer cooperation developed after the war.
In Canada the response of the Government was to create an Official policy of hunting and getting rid of government employees, Foreign Service Officers and Armed Forces personnel if they were suspected of being Homosexuals. The RCMP and the Military Police would arrest and interrogate severely anyone suspected of being homosexual. Under duress and threatened with exposure in the newspapers, some quit, others were dismissed and some committed suicide. Lives were ruined, careers terminated, all because these persons were homosexuals and for no other reasons. This official practice continued until 1989 and officially ended in 1997, years after the Cold War was over. On the other hand men who were known womanizers or sexual predators, alcoholics or drug addicts were not worried at all. There was a misogynist attitude in Officialdom to justify the hunt for homosexuals an attitude difficult to understand today. I too witnessed it and was appalled at the heartless attitude of management. This type of policy also encouraged racism and bigotry all in the name of combatting communism.
This week in the House of Commons, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued an Official apology to all those who suffered for no other reason that they were identified as homosexuals. The Prime Minister called it our collective shame. Their criminal records will be expunged and a compensation fund of $100 million dollar is set aside for the survivors. This apology by the Government of Canada was long overdue, but now it is done.
Some 46 years ago it was his father Pierre E. Trudeau then Prime Minister who decriminalized sex between consenting male adults, declaring famously to the House of Commons that the Government had no business in the bedroom of the Nation. It was at the time a very bold move and received a lot of flak from various sectors of society.
The Prime Minister in the House of Commons with members of the Government standing, making the apology. Tuesday 28 November 2017.