Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
November 2005

Documents of Quebec History / Documents de l'histoire du Québec


La loi du cadenas

The Padlock Law


Democracy in Danger



[This editorial was printed in the Canadian Forum. For the precise citation, see the end of the document.]

THE Quebec Padlock act bids fair to become a major political issue at Ottawa. As mentioned by the Minister of Justice in the House, a petition has been received by the Federal government from the Civil Liberties Union in Montreal, supported by organizations of all kinds, religious and political, trade unions and youth councils, requesting that the Padlock Act be disallowed or its constitutionality submitted to the Supreme Court. To a petition submitted in due form due answer must be made. There can be no doubt that the Act encroaches upon the Dominion prerogative of criminal jurisdiction; it is a clear and deliberate attack upon democratic liberty which cannot be paralleled outside the dictatorship countries. The issue is so clear indeed that even the man in the street cannot fail to realize its significance, and that the Federal government, cravenly as it has ignored the issue since March 1937, will be compelled to speak. Evasion is no longer possible. Can the government that showed such unwonted energy in disallowing the Aberhart legislation against the banks and the press, continue to ignore this far more important attack upon all democratic liberty? Is there not a spark of liberalism still uneasily stirring in the breast of Mr. Mackenzie King, however deeply overlaid by years of political prudence and diplomatic caution? A failure to act, and act vigorously, against this outrageous repression of liberty in Quebec will make it clear to every Canadian democrat, from Halifax to Vancouver, that liberalism is dead, buried by a Liberal government in office.

Source: Editorial, "Democracy in Danger", in Canadian Forum, Vol. XVII, No 206 (March 1938): 403

© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College