" Quadragesimo Anno " In Quebec : The Use of " Orders-in-Council"
" Cardinal Villeneuve is one of the ablest and most aggressive leaders that the Roman Catholic Church in Canada has thrown up in recent 3y.ars and there are not wanting people who assert that today he is the de facto ruler of Quebec."
" The report of the committee (Committee of National Defence of the St. Jean Baptiste Society, the most powerful secular organisation in FrenchCanada) which according to its framers was ' ripened in the light of the teachings of the Encyclical Quadragesitno Anno,' wa.s formally adopted in January."
Thus writes the correspondent of The Times in a special article on " Corporatism in Quebec—Tradition on Trial—Liherals in Danger," which is highly'Miggegtive as to how a British constitution could be adapted to the Papal teaching on the State.
The article describes how the Liberal domination came to an end last August and. how M. Maurice Duplessis formed the
" Action Liberate Nationale," how the Liberal 'insurgents against the previous regime dropped out of the new coalition, and how the new, government has heralded a completely new era in the politics of Quebec.
Collectivism or Corporatism " Intelligent observers are convinced that there is afoot a formidable and carefully planned campaign to transform the Province into a Clerical-Fascist community," he writes in a tone which makes it hard to know whether he himself approves Or not.
Explaining how a series of trusts controlled by English-speaking people were accused of shamefully exploiting the French-Canadian urban workers and farmers, he shows that the alternatives were " collectivist adventures" or " resort to the corporate State."
Under this impulse " a veritable epidemic of investigations of the models provided by Germany and Italy " broke out, of which the following conclusion of the Committee of Economic Defence's report. is typical:
Once the compilation of names by occupations has been made, we shall call together our compatriots according to their trades or professions and try to persuade them to organise themselves in corporations. Meanwhile section cornmittees will organise the economic-social action of the parish, attacking the problem of unemployment and lending aid to the young. The young . . . will make themselves the propagandists of " corporatism " and prepare themselves to complete the work we have begun.
Weekly Discussions " There has been completed," he goes on, " a very elaborate organisation with a heirarchy of committees, directors, and centurions,' each ' centurion ' being assigned 100 families as his command. In Montreal a body called L'Action Corporative Nationale' holds regular meetings for the discussion of plans and strategy every Wednesday. Active in the new organisation are men like MM. Valmore Gratton, chief of the Industrial Commission of Montreal, Maurice Trudeau, president of the Federation of Junior Chambers of Cornmerce in Quebec, and Victor Barbeau, professor at the School of Higher Commercial Studies in the University of Montreal, one of the best platform exponents of the new creed and far travelled on the road to Fascism. M. Barbeau has observed:
Our existing society is, from the political point of view, a mass of braggarts, and from the national point of view a body without a soul. Are we going to bow are heads before destiny; are we going to continue to be gnawed by anaemia and rickets? . . A world is falling to pieces, a new order is arising, for the spirit is renewing itself and the liberation of the spirit brings with it that of institutions. We must drown Communists in the flood of our speeches, and that is the strongest solution of our difficulties. Let us interrogate ourselves on the fate of democracy and its most lamentable expression, liberalism, and one can Say as much of conservatism. . . When we have succeeded in setting up corporatism in our social relations we must then establish it in the domain of public affairs' under the form of a professional Parliament.
Orders-in-Council Turning to actual results in the State, he says: " The Collective Labour Agreement Act, rushed through the Legislature in the closing day of the session and receiving first, second, and third readings at a single sitting, constitutes a constructive move towards the achievement of the totalitarian State,
" It confers' upon the Government power to enact by Order-in-Council that
collective labour agreement shall bind coually,.all employees and all employers in a determined area of the Province, and to extend any sUch• agreement to other employees and employers in a similar trade and industry in the Province.
"It also gives the Government the right to decide whether any organisation of workers is a lit body to participate in any collective agreement, and its definition of an association for bargaining purposes clearly leaves the Government with the right to decide what a bona fide organisation is and to place a ban upon organisations of a Radical stripe.
A Powerful Cardinal "The Liberal Party in Quebec," he concludes, " seems at present to be oppressed by a feeling of defeatism and impotence, which has apparently rendered it incapable of offering anything but the feeblest challenge to legislation certainly of an illiberal nature. Sooner or later it will have to face the issues unless it is content to be reduced to a weak minority in the Province which had long been its chief stronghold.
" Yet the disinclination of its leaders to take a strong stand on such issues as the anti-Communist Bill may be because, by the admission of M. Duplessis, Cardinal Villeneuve, Archbishop of Quebec, had given it his blessing.
"Cardinal Villeneuve is one of the ablest and most aggressive leaders that the Roman Catholic Church in Canada has thrown up in recent years, and there are not wanting people who assert that today he is the de facto ruler of Quebec. He has made no secret of his sympathies' with the ' Corporatist' campaign; at dinner of the Association Canadienne de la Jeunesse Catholique. after frankly lamenting the growth of anti-clericalism and a lack of respect for the direction of the bishops, he raised his voice in favour of ' full Corporatism' as a desirable antidote to Communism and anti-clericalism."