Red Scare: Communism Debate Heats Up In Canada

It was a bizarre week in Canadian political circles as communism reared its ugly head.

As a Canadian journalist left his job to move to Cuba, a right wing pundit accused him of supporting the Cuban Communist government, though in fact he was moving for his wife’s new job with a Canadian aid organization. As the strange conversation continued, a federal minister decided to get involved and imply that moving to a communist country was something to be noted. (Though didn’t respond to the many who asked why Canada is working so closely with China, and if this rule applies to all Canadians who work for Canadian organizations in communist countries).

Tony Clement, meanwhile, had just cut the ribbon at the opening of the Norman Bethune Visitors’ Center in Gravenhurst, Ontario. Bethune was a Canadian physician who pushed for public health care, and who also happened to be a proud communist and Mao sympathizer. Clement said “I don’t think we’re here to promote the communist principle. The thing about Dr. Bethune is that people see different things about him depending on their perspective. I think we as Conservatives can be comfortable that there’s a message here broader than just his communism, that goes to his humanism and entrepreneurship.”

The fact remains that the new visitors’ center, next to Bethune’s birthplace, will welcome thousands of Chinese tourists who travel to Gravenhurst to pay tribute to Bethune – perhaps part of the reason it was opened as the Harper government continues trying to expand trade with China.

Now right-wing pundits and a member of Clement’s own caucus are questioning the decision to honor Bethune at all.

Rob Anders, the member of parliament for Calgary West, says his government should not have funded the visitors’ center, and says that his own caucus is trying to get him to stop talking about it.

The lines from the Harper government, meanwhile, indicate that the visitors’ center was built to cash in on tourism dollars.

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Photo Credit: watchsmart


Sean T.
Sean T.5 years ago

Communism is a dying system that was invented by a man who could not take care of himself (let alone an entire nation) financially. The only good thing that ever came out of communism is the video game Tetris. Face it it is a moronic idea that turns individuals into worker drones. It only works in hippie communes and in Star Trek (kind of).

Dale Overall

Conservatives are bizarre, since previous Progressive Conservative governments had always had relations with Cuba while many Canadians vacation in Cuba's hot and sunny beaches during cold winters. Odd that Conservatives in the Harper government are not ending all trade with China if they are so adverse but even Richard Nixon when president got around to expanding relations. Business is after all business where there is a potential consumer market of billions of people.

Nothing wrong with the acts of Norman Bethune who was a humanitarian doctor helping a country that was extremely impoverished and many Chinese still are very poor these days especially in rural areas.

Conservatives just like to play silly name games in the hot summer, perhaps diverting a bit of attention from their policies elsewhere.

Dale Overall

It is not really much of a heated debate here, the torrid, humid hot weather is bringing more heat in the country than is this red herring!

Don H.
Don H5 years ago

The "righties" are pushing this fear of communism because they will profit from a more right wing government like we have in the United States.

Why can't the United States have an equitable, efficient health care system like in Canada? Because right wing forces, that represent the insurance industry, have taken control of our electoral and legislative process. With the help of a corrupted SCOTUS, I might add.

Over 70% of the American people wanted a strong public option in the ACA. Did we get it? Hell no. We were too busy protecting the damned inefficient insurance industry high profit status quo.

Arm waving robot, "Danger Will Robinson!"

Bob Abell
Dr. Bob Abell5 years ago

Interesting that those who call others ignorant actual show their own. Since Michael lives in California, he might not know where Canada is, let alone what it stands for. And he was brought up to see a commie under every bed and to buy whatever the ad agencies tell him to buy - all from Walmart land.

Michael M.
Michael M5 years ago


Why do big business and consumers do a LOT of business in China? Because YOU (that's right YOU) demand cheap products quickly!

Your computer? Made in China.
Your cell-phone? Made in China.
Your e-reader? Made in China.
The clothes YOU are wearing? Made in China.

Please. STFU you ignorant RWNJ. You have no idea what you are talking about.

Ron B.
Ron B5 years ago

Hello, Canada, the 1950's are calling. Don't answer.

Doug Gledhill
Doug G5 years ago

The 1950's all over again, except further north. It would be nice if any society would be willing to examine its own economic paradigms from time to time to see if they are working to benefit its citizens and tweak those paradigms for peak performance. Too many are caught up on labels and images born of distortion. Labels are meaningless. Workability should be the goal. Capitalism has many failures over the years, whose impacts were mitigated by New Deal policies. Now, it seems from Clinton on, they have been attacked and weakened to the detriment of the people who made this country what it is.
The American middle class was thriving in the '50-60's. the best time ever for working people, but the elites clearly didn't like it. Now we have this mess. Sorry, but I would take the economy of then over the crap today, regardless of the title they want to assign it.

Don H.
Don H5 years ago

Fear of communism is a tool of the righties. Want to lose your national health care? Just listen to these fools.

Maureen Hawkins
Maureen Hawkins5 years ago

Linda, we won't have freedom of speech for communists (and eventually Liberals, NDPers, & Greens?) if Tony Clement has anything to say about it.