Let’s Avoid Hysteria.

Moods of panic and hysteria are poor things in government. We seem to detect too much of both moods in the report of a coming “purge” of Communists and others of “doubtful loyalty” from the Civil Service. […]

While we agree with some things said in the House on Tuesday by Mr. SOLON LOW we find it hard to accept his statement that the Civil Service is “shot through with Communist sympathizers and actual members of the Communist party”. Where are all those Communists when elections take place in Ottawa? They don’t seem to vote for Communist candidates.

If the Government should decide to get rid of Communists in the public service—and we agree that such riddance should come—the action should be taken in knowledge, with a sense of proportion. Any man has the right—the right of conscience—to be a Communist. But that right—the right to be a Communist—does not carry with it the right at the same time to be a civil servant in a democracy. The two things are incompatible. A Communist, in heart and conscience, is disloyal to democracy. A Communist, by his very creed, is called upon to uproot democracy; to uproot, at any rate, our sort of democracy. […]

Therefore, no Communist has a right to expect employment in the civil service of a democracy. He may choose between Communism and democracy; he can’t have both. If he has a loyalty higher than that to the country in which he lives, he must understand and abide by the consequences. […]

But if the Government should decide on a public service housecleaning of Communists, it will be well for it to find out accurately who are Communists and who are not. In Canada today, and we think unfortunately, there is a growing habit of labeling as “Reds” or “Communists” all with liberal or radical tendencies, just as there is a vicious or ignorant habit—encouraged too much by Communists themselves, and by their dupes and sympathizers—to label as “Fascists” all who are conservative. It would be evil if the Government, influenced by such folly, were to launch an indiscriminate campaign against everybody in the public service not known for their orthodoxy.

Source: Editorial, "Let's Avoid Hysteria.," Ottawa Journal, March 22, 1946

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