The following article was written for the Crimson on Quebec's Padlock law which does the Massachusetts Oath Bill one worse in that it is really restricting freedom of speech in the Canadian province. As in Massachusetts, the fight for the repeal of the law seems for the time being to be doomed, and as in Massachusetts communism is the excuse for its existence.
MONTREAL, Feb. 16:--The Padlock Law is the first shield erected by a reactionary finance capital in Quebec to save it from the little silver bullets of free thought and speech. The straw man that is bearing the brunt of the Padlock Law is the red spectre of Communism. In its name the 'Red Raiders' have made use of the padlock some sixty times to date.
In reality Premier Duplessis is being used by these elements of reaction in order to put the quietus upon trade union activity, upon the growing unrest caused by the swelling of the ranks of the unemployed. Hence Duplessis' refusal to cooperate with the Dominion goverment upon a scheme of legislation for Unemployment Insurance.
Biracial conflict in Quebec, result of difference in language and religion, is only a secondary issue. It is an undeniable fact, however, that the Catholic authorities are fearful of the increasing anti-clericalism. For that reason they have aligned themselves with antipathetic monopolistic interests in supporting the fight against liberalism.
Evidence of the Fascist tendencies in the province is the recent metamorphose of 'L'Illustration,' formerly considered as the semi-official organ of the Duplessis government. Last week this paper openly declared itself behind the National Socialist Christian Party judging from its editorial and news presentation. The editor-in-chief of 'L'Illustration.' Adrien Arcand, is also the Supreme Chief of the N. S. C. P. This move would indicate that the Duplessis government is rapidly putting on the coloured shirt.
The fight against reaction in the past has come from a very small minority of English speaking liberals. Any fight, however, is doomed, which does not emanate from the overwhelming French-Canadian population. There are evidences that this is now assuming real proportions. However, while the fight against the Padlock Law is just beginning, it might be well to note that reaction has just opened fire. The real barrage is yet to come.