‘Stronger Than Ever Here’ is Arcand’s Fascist Boast
His Attitude Supporting Anti-Semitism Not Dampened By Internment During the War; Claims Contact With Groups in Other Nations
By Kenneth G. Wright
THE MONTREAL GAZETTE, 22 FEB 1947
(Following is the first of three articles by Kenneth G. Wright, Gazette staff writer, on Adrien Arcand, Canadian Fascist leader who was interned for five years.)
The National Unity Party headed by Adrien Arcand, who as a
violently anti-semitic exponent of Canadian Fascism was interned for five years during the war, is stronger than ever, Arcand declared yesterday.
“I am in communication with people who think as I do in Great Britain, New Zealand, South Africa, the United States and other countries. In Canada we have grown tenfold. When we are going to take advantage of that growth is a tactical question.”
I first met Adrien Arcand in 1937 when, in the course of my duties as a newspaperman, I attended early secret meetings of the then National Christian Socialist [sic] Party’s blue-shirted “legions.” I recently spent many hours with him at his home at Lanoraie, Que., listening to him propound his theory that the Jews are responsible for most of the ills of the world. I am convinced he is perfectly sincere in his statement that “my beliefs are stronger than ever and I have been most happy to suffer for them.”
Nor is he afraid of any further punitive action against him or his followers.
Claims Party Legal
“You must remember our party is now perfectly legal. Neither the Royal Canadian Mounted Police nor the laws of Canada forbid it. I am still the duly elected leader of the party in Canada. The other leaders and the thinkers who were with me when I formed the party are with me today, and there are more people in the country who think as I do than there were before the war. We have not gone backward a single step. We have merely changed our tactics.”
Broadly speaking, the party’s change in tactics has been to work quietly where 10 years ago they were beginning to come into the open. For the time being at least there will be no more blue shirts, no more public meetings.
Arcand has been Fascist-minded since the early 1930’s — at least that is when his anti-semitic ideas crystallized. By profession he is a newspaperman, and according to his confrères a good one. Born 48 years ago in Montreal, he is of French-Canadian-Scottish descent. He attended primary schools here, and after studying philosophy at St. Mary’s College, took up chemical engineering with private tutors. But illness forced him to abandon this. He started newspaper work with La Patrie as a proofreader and later as a reporter. He was also for 15 years secretary to his father, the organizer for the American Federation of Labor Carpenters’ and Joiners’ Union. He was with the Montreal Daily Star for a short time as political reporter, and then for many years on La Presse, from which newspaper he was fired, he says, in 1929, for helping to organize a professional syndicate of newspapermen, an example of his early leanings to corporatism.
Today, he believes newspapermen should be a group in the corporate state, electing one or more of their fellows to a parliament at Ottawa, setting, with the publishers (who should be another corporate group) their wages and the prices at which newspapers and advertising should be sold.
The doctors, the lawyers and similar professional men have corporate groups in this province — why not everybody?” he asks.
After leaving La Presse he helped found or was active in several anti-Jewish weeklies, including Le Patriote, Le Miroir and the Combat National, the latter the organ of his party.
He came into the open with his blueshirt party in the early months of 1938, and held meetings in Montreal, largely in the east end, as well as in Toronto. At one in Maisonneuve Market in August, 1938, he forecast that: “Success will crown our efforts in June, 1940, in a march on Ottawa.”1 A month before that date he was interned for violation2 of the Defence of Canada Regulations.
Five years and five weeks later he was released and today lives with his wife and three sons, the oldest of whom volunteered for active service with the Canadian Army on reaching his 19th birthday, and was on a draft for overseas when the war ended.3 Arcand himself holds the King’s commission as a lieutenant in the Regiment de Chateauguay (Reserve). He lives quietly in a modest but comfortable home at Lanoraie, 40 miles down the north shore of the St. Lawrence from Montreal, making his living, he says, by painting portraits and by translation.
He holds his internment against neither the people of Canada nor the government.
“I hold it only against the Jews — I know where the pressure which was brought to bear came from.”
He sees nothing disloyal in his actions, in fact he believes he is acting loyally to Canada in attacking Judaism. At the national convention of the party in Kingston, Ont., July 1, 1938, at which he was elected leader and where the National Christian Socialist [sic] Party’s swastika emblem was changed to the National Unity Party’s flaming torch, he sent a telegram of loyalty to the Governor-General. Today he expresses immense admiration for British institutions and history as a “civilizing force.” He wants to save the Empire for himself and his fellow Canadians by, he says, “taking it out of the hands of the Jews who are slowly gaining control of it to smash it.”
(Download a free copy of the original article, “Stronger Than Ever Here”.)
1. In 1938, war hadn’t been declared yet; and federal elections were ultimately called for March 26, 1940; so Arcand’s “march on Ottawa” was a figure of speech for the slogan in his 1938 party brochure on corporatism, “Heading for Ottawa!”. The 1945 federal election was held in June; the 1940 election seems to have been held a couple of months early.
2. “Alleged” violation; no violation was ever proved, he had no trial. And after the war, it was admitted that there was no evidence. I’ll go into this in more detail in the Memorandum and Request ebook and post that I’m still developing.
3. We have a fact that needs to be checked. David Rajotte of Library and Archives Canada seems to have been under the impression that Arcand’s eldest son (Yves) had in fact gone to war. In his research article, “L’État canadien contre le Parti de l’unité nationale et Adrien Arcand” (“The Canadian State Versus The National Unity Party And Adrien Arcand”), Rajotte says: “Le fils aîné d’Arcand a aussi rejoint l’armée en 1944” (“Arcand’s eldest son also joined the army in 1944.”) And at his footnote 59 attached to that statement, Rajotte says:
Les dossiers de service des soldats ayant servi durant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale ne sont accessibles au public que 20 ans après la mort du militaire. Yves Arcand étant décédé en 2002, il n’est pas encore possible de connaître ses faits d’armes exacts. Voir: Anonyme, «Notice nécrologique de Yves Arcand», L’expression de Lanaudière, 29 septembre 2002, p. 60.
The service records of soldiers who served during the Second World War are only accessible to the public 20 years after the death of the soldier. Yves Arcand died in 2002, it is not yet possible to know his exact feats of arms. See: Anonymous, “Yves Arcand’s obituary”, L’expression de Lanaudière, September 29, 2002, p. 60.
The proper cite for that article would be: Rajotte, D. (2018). L’État canadien contre le Parti de l’unité nationale et Adrien
Arcand. Bulletin d’histoire politique, 26 (3), 189–211.