622 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 76 PART 4 JULY 2018
overwhelming and contrary to every principle of democracy. The power
of the State is exercised without restraint, either by dictators or by compact
oligarchies operating through a privileged party and a political
police. It is not our duty at this time when difficulties are so numerous to
interfere forcibly in the internal affairs of countries which we have not
conquered in war, but we must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones
the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint
inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna
Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English
common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration
The Royal Commission heard from witnesses between February and June
1946, and issued its final report to the government on June 27, 1946.
In the final report the commissioners reported, among other things, that
“there exists in Canada a Fifth Column organized and directed by Russian
agents in Canada and in Russia” and “within the Fifth Column there are
several spy rings”.
The final report reviewed the case against, and set out the commissioners’
“judgment” (so to speak—the Royal Commission was criticized for seeming
to step into the role of a court16) about, various named individuals, including
Communist Member of Parliament Fred Rose (formerly Rosenberg, who had
come to Canada as a child in 1920 with his parents). The commissioners
described “his disloyal practices against the land of his adoption” and their
conclusion “that Rose did what the documents and witnesses say he did”.
In addition to being the subject of an adverse “judgment” from the Royal
Commission, Rose was charged criminally, convicted and sentenced to six
years in prison for having conspired to violate the provisions of the Official
Various other subjects of the final report were also charged and convicted.
Others, however, were not charged or were acquitted (or their convictions
were quashed), or matters were otherwise resolved.18 Six years was
the longest sentence. G.A. Martin, K.C., acted for various of the accused.
Evidently “those who had incriminated themselves before the Commission
were in all cases found guilty in court. Those who had resisted were
The commissioners devoted a chapter of their final report to “Law and
Procedure”, seemingly seeking to address or pre-empt various criticisms of
the process employed. They noted that the substantive issues with which
they dealt—disclosure of secret or confidential information to a foreign
power—were not regarded in either Canada or England as the same as “ordi-