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Tolerance and Canada's Communist Party : An Historical Perspective

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by Desmond Morton, Emeritus Professor
Department of History, McGill University 

Canada's Communist Party was born in a barn near Guelph, Ontario, after long, hectic meetings in May and June of 1921. Though the leaders haled mostly from the British Isles, the party's rank and file had mostly emigrated from the old Russian Empire as Finns, Poles, Ukrainians and as Jewish survivors of Cossack pogroms. Most had found a grudging pre-war refuge in Canada, and some had experienced the sublimely doctrinaire Socialist Party of Canada (SPC) a movement so ideological that most would-be members were expected to pass an examination in Marxist theory before admission.

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