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VOL. 76 PART 4 JULY 2018
Gouzenko himself was quite defensive of his reputation in later years,
repeatedly suing critics for defamation (one case even reached the Supreme
Court of Canada21). Indeed, Gouzenko’s reputation was important to him
economically if nothing else: he traded on his exploits and “enjoyed the
receipt of substantial sums of money from book rights, movie rights, literary
endeavours and interviews of various kinds for many years”,22 supplementing
the financial support he received from the Canadian government.
Among his endeavours, Gouzenko published a memoir, This Was My
Choice: Gouzenko’s Story, in 1948. Although the review in the Canadian Bar
Review described the book in its guise of “literary effort” as “almost entirely
devoid of merit” and largely “a dull book, dully written”,23 the reviewer “recommended
it for … perusal and digestion because it contains a moral … ‘It
Is Happening Here’. And we’d better do something about it.”24 In 1954,
Gouzenko published a novel, Fall of a Titan, which—rather remarkably
given the above review—received the Governor General’s Award for Literary
Merit (Fiction) that year.
For years Gouzenko made public appearances, including on television,
though wearing a hood over his face to obscure his features. Reportedly he
lived for some time in the Toronto area, at least in part in Port Credit.
Gouzenko died in 1982.
1. The plaque, at Dundonald Park on Somerset Street,
states: “The Gouzenko Affair brought the realities of
the emerging Cold War to the attention of the Canadian
public … . His allegations gave rise to the creation
in 1946 of a Royal Commission of Inquiry known
as the Kellock-Taschereau Commission. Its confirmation
of the country’s vulnerability convinced the federal
government to strengthen Canada’s national
security system”. See Parks Canada, Directory of Federal
Heritage Designations, “Gouzenko Affair
National Historic Event”, online: <www.pc.gc. ca/
2. Dominique Clément, “Spies, Lies, and a Commission:
A Case Study in the Mobilization of the Canadian
Civil Liberties Movement” (2000) 7:2 Left History 53.
3. CBC, “Soviet Spy Scandal”, online: <www.cbc.ca/
4. “Acting” because Prime Minister Mackenzie King
was apparently out of the country when P.C. 6444
was made. Mackenzie King’s Liberals had narrowly
won the June 1945 election and though Mackenzie
King had been defeated in his own riding, in August
he won a by-election elsewhere.
5. Dominion of Canada, Debates – House of Commons
(18 March 1946) at 49–50.
6. This memorandum can be accessed by clicking on
“top-secret memorandum” online at <historyof
7. Clément, supra note 2 at 55.
8. Ibid at 50.
9. Ibid at 51.
10. This letter is quoted in J de N Kennedy, “Hard Cases
Make Bad Law” (1967) 15 Chitty’s LJ 1 at 11.
11. Ibid at 12.
12. Section 5 of the Canada Evidence Act, RSC 1927, c
(1) No witness shall be excused from answering
any question upon the gound that the answer to
such question may tend to criminte him, or may
tend to establish his liability to a civil proceeding at
the instance of the Crown or of any person.
(2) If with respect to any question a witness
objects to answer upon the ground that his answer
may tend to criminate him, or may tend to establish
his liability to a civil proceeding at the
instance of the Crown or of any person, and if but
for this Act, or the act of any provincial legislature,
the witness would therefore have been
excused from answering such question, then
although the witness is by reason of this Act, or by
reason of such provincial act, compelled to
answer, the answer so given shall not be used or
receivable in evidence against him in any criminal
trial, or other criminal proceeding against him
thereafter taking place, other than a prosecution
for perjury in the giving of such evidence.