The Fifth Estate explores 1950s communist security with 'Enemies of the State'

Few Canadians would believe that national security considerations could be stretched so far as to include plans for the mass detainment of thousands of citizens simply because of their political preferences.

Yet, in the shadow of the 1950s’ Communist scare and with an echo of American McCarthyism, that’s exactly what happened at the highest levels of the Canadian security establishment.

The plan for the roundup and internment of “Prominent Functionaries” (code-named “Profunc”) came into being in 1950 and remained in force until the early 1980s. Every aspect of their incarceration was meticulously planned, including orders to shoot any escapees. 

For the first time, the fifth estate, in partnership with Radio-Canada, reveals exclusive details of the shocking and secret plans to facilitate the mass internment of so-called political radicals and often their families. Though the files still remain officially sealed, our teams have identified several people who were on that list—and Canadians may be astonished to learn their names.

Linden McIntyre uncovers this up-to-now untold chapter of Canada’s history, and questions whether, in a time of G20 arrests and covertly-expanded police powers, there is reason to ask how many secret lists exist today and who is accountable for them?

Enemies of the State airs Friday, Oct. 15, at 9 p.m. (9:30 NT), on CBC Television’s the fifth estate.

Executive producer of the fifth estate is Jim Williamson. CBC News Network rebroadcasts the fifth estate on Saturdays, at 8 p.m. ET; Sundays, at 7 p.m. ET; and Tuesdays, at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

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