The Last Post Files: Fighting subversion or protecting the government from embarrassment?

Weinberg, Paul

Publisher:  J Source - The Canadian Jorunalism Project
Date Written:  07/03/2013
Year Published:  2013  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20368

The Last Post was one of the best alternative publications of the 1970s. While the small team of journalists was creating solid investigative journalism, the RCMP Security Service was keeping a close watch. One of its aims? Protect the government from embarrassment.



Started in 1969 by young journalists, the Last Post lasted about ten years as an independent magazine, and at its height had about 15,000 subscribers.

"The Last Post did not have a political line as such. It was generally left-wing and critical of corporations and the government. But there were some articles that were favourable to the NDP. We even ran articles that were favourable to the government -- one, I remember, was the Competition Act that the Trudeau government brought in," says Chodos.

Two issues of the Last Post in particular garnered a lot of attention. One was a special edition devoted to the machinations – government and police – behind the Trudeau government’s proclamation of the War Measures Act in Quebec following two FLQ kidnappings – which led to the suspension of civil liberties and 500 arrests.

"A lot of the insight and information on the War Measures Act were from people in the press, in the press gallery and the Quebec papers [where] there was a muzzle on," Starowicz recalls.

But the focus of the released Security Service files on the Last Post was on the other big story for the magazine – the leaking of excerpts of a report by renegade researchers on a committee studying poverty. "Telling the chairman of the Senate Committee on Poverty, David Croll to get stuffed was only an incidental but necessary act…" reads the resounding headline of the front cover of the summer 1971 issue of the magazine.

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