RCMP spied on noted literary scholar Northrop Frye

Northrop Frye is shown in an undated photo. (Bill Becker / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Northrop Frye is shown in an undated photo. (Bill Becker / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Canada’s intelligence service spied on renowned literary scholar Northrop Frye, closely eyeing his involvement in the anti-Vietnam War movement, an academic forum on China and efforts to end apartheid in South Africa.

Newly released archival records show the RCMP Security Service relied on a secret informant to help compile a 142-page file on the esteemed University of Toronto professor, who died in 1991 at age 78.

Every inch the owlish, bespectacled academic, Frye seems an unlikely counter-intelligence target.

But the Mounties, wary of anyone deemed influential among the burgeoning New Left, amassed hundreds of thousands of files during the Cold War — monitoring key institutions such as universities, the media, churches and political organizations.

The scandal-ridden RCMP spy agency was disbanded in 1984 and replaced by the civilian Canadian Security Intelligence Service.

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Comments
One Response to “RCMP spied on noted literary scholar Northrop Frye”
  1. Michel Gourd says:

    Canadian government absolute power corrupt absolutely!
    Constitutional monarchy like Canada has no protection against unscrupulous actions of its government agents. The spying of the RCMP Security Service on famed literary scholar Northrop Frye, is only one of many finding about the absolute power the Canadian government give itself on its citizens. Remember the RCMP spies shadowed Tommy Douglas, the famous Prairie politician, for more than three decades. Even after this was known, the government wont told its citizens what its spies compiled on the NDP leader.
    The only real justification for these spying, and many others still hidden to the public, is that the Canadian government is not accountable to its population about them. The fact that the RCMP Security Service no longer exists, and was replaced by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service in 1984 is not relevant. Today, like in the past, there is just no control of these actions in Canada right now. Canadians should not feel angry or amazed. They should feel betrayed by their government who uses its discretionary power to spy on its population at will.

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