INSIDE THE FEATHERBED FILE: Treason in the Civil Service
by RCMP Undercover Officer Patrick Walsh
BAMBOOZLED JOE CLARKIt was his home-town publication, The Gazette, which pinpointed how secret Orders-in-Council were used by Trudeau to ensure that the new Prime Minister Joe Clark would be bamboozled into an agreement whereby the hitherto unpublished portions of the Gouzenko report as well as the subsequent Featherbed File remained sealed for at least 20 years.
Following, are excerpts from a report published in the 1 October 1979 issue of The Montreal Gazette:
In a secret Order-in-Council issued in his last days as Prime Minister, PierreTrudeau ordered all the police intelligence files on him and his Cabinet colleagues be sealed for at least 20 years, The Gazette has learned.
The files were part of a top-secret investigation called ‘Operation Featherbed’ that was started by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the early 1960s.
Prime Minister Joe Clark agreed in a letter dated June 2 that Trudeau’s final Order-in-Council would be respected, an undertaking which has angered some Conservative MPs.
Repeated efforts by Trudeau and other senior Liberals to gain access to the Featherbed files were turned down by the RCMP security branch. But senior members of the security service have told the Gazette that the files include material on the private lives of influential Canadian figures, their past political affiliations, contacts with agents of foreign powers, private weaknesses or vices and even sexual practices. [Emphasis added]
Trudeau’s decision to issue an Order-in-Council sealing this Featherbed material just four days after the last federal election, but while he was still Prime Minister, also brought sharp rebukes from his former Cabinet colleagues.
There was such an uproar from backbenchers in the short-lived Clark government over this ‘Operation Cover-Up’ that pressure from the grassroots finally forced PM Joe Clark to make an amazing statement concerning the suppressed Featherbed File. The following excerpts are from a Toronto Star report, 1 December 1979:
The Prime Minister (Clark) said he has no intention of ever making the (Featherbed) file public. ‘Were we to publish that, we would be giving credence to gossip that affects people, some of whom are still in Ottawa, he told a news conference.
Clark’s blunt remarks conflict with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and back-bench MPs in his own party who maintain that the files show direct links between government officials and the Communist party.
Several MPs in the last month have demanded the government review the Taschereau Papers, secret records of a Royal Commission investigation of the 1946 Igor Gouzenko spy case, and check out reports that a ‘fifth man’ in the Anthony Blunt Soviet spy ring in Britain was Canadian.
Accusations also surfaced in Parliament this week that Jean-Louis Gagnon, a member of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission, was connected with subversive groups…
The Sunday Star (Toronto), 7 June 1981, published a significant story by reporter John Picton. The first part of his report confirmed much of the Ottawa-based treason I have already mentioned, and then continued:
Lawrence also told the Sunday Star about the time he says he was asked not to check the Trudeau files.
He said he was approached ‘early on in the game’ (meaning Clark’s term of office) by a man who’d been appointed as custodian of Trudeau’s cabinet documents.
Under a so-called ‘convention,’ leaders of incoming governments traditionally have signed an agreement not to delve into cabinet papers of an outgoing administration.
Tory leader Joe Clark signed such an agreement – drawn tip by Trudeau’s office – the night before he was sworn in as prime minister.
Before signing, Clark wanted to consult Lawrence since he was appointing him solicitor-general, but couldn’t find him (‘I don’t know why he couldn’t find me’).
Some Tory MPs – Lawrence among them – think that was a mistake because the agreement, they allege, went much farther than any previous pact and effectively locked away many more papers than just cabinet documents.
(Tory MP Tom Cossitt describes the signing as ‘a grave error’).
‘He (the custodian) asked me specifically not to request documents relating to Trudeau’s personal life,’ Lawrence said. He said the RCMP had them, like past history associations.
‘They related to security questions about Trudeau himself in his younger days,’ when Trudeau was a world traveller.
The custodian – named by Lawrence but unavailable for comment -‘was obviously perturbed about he availability to me of these documents, and he indicated to me it would be a blow below the belt if I started looking at those.’
Lawrence wouldn’t say if he did look at them.
…. Cossitt (the Tory MP) also says that one of Trudeau’s last acts as prime minister in 1979, before handing over office to Clark, was to sign an order-in-council preventing the McDonald commission into RCMP wrongdoing from seeing certain cabinet documents without his permission.
The agreement Clark signed ensured that the order would stand.
But, says Lawrence, that agreement covered far more than cabinet documents. As solicitor-general he’d tried to see documents relating to the 35-year-old Gouzenko spy case dealing with a Soviet espionage ring.
Civil servants wouldn’t show them to him because of a previous order from Trudeau’s office.
When Lawrence asked officials why certain ‘security breaches’ weren’t prosecuted, he was told that was the policy of the day. The reasons for that policy were locked away in cabinet papers.
‘I was given reports on what happened, but not on the reasons for the government decisions on why they didn’t prosecute. Canadian governments have hushed up all sorts of things.’
Lawrence added: ‘One of the weird aspects of this is that we can see more about our affairs in other countries than we can see in Canada.’
So much for the Star report which confirms three decades of warnings by Canadian Intelligence publications that treason has been riding high in Ottawa. It also confirms the fact that Joe Clark was so politically immature that Old Machiavelli, before handing over the keys to him for a brief interlude in 1979, tricked young Joe into actually covering up the Featherbed File scandal and thus unwittingly becoming himself a party to treason.
It was, as Mr. Lawrence implies, the civil servants, still under the former PM’s ‘orders,’who called the tune, not the ministers in the Clark Government!
TRUTH IS FINALLY EMERGING
The Edmonton Journal (30 March 1981) concluded an article on Lester Pearson’s cover-up for Soviet spy John Watkins:
A remaining question is why Pearson and the Liberal hierarchy decided to cover up for Watkins.
Was it simply because Pearson and Watkins were huge personal friends?’
If so, this meant that Pearson’s own priorities came ahead of those of Canadians in general would lead to many more exposures and create shattering embarrassment for the Liberal bureaucracy?’
E. D. Ward-Harris, Editor of the Victoria Times-Colonist, reviewing Chapman Pincher’s remarkable book, Their Trade is Treachery, in the 30 May 1981 issue, says that the mind ‘boggles’ at the extent of Soviet penetration in high government circles, and adds: ‘Why, after reading this book it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that some Western president or prime minister had been recruited by the KGB in his youth and was taking his orders from Moscow Centre through a handy controller. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.’
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