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Adrien Arcand (born October 3, 1899 in Montreal – died August 2, 1967 in Montreal), was a McGill University educated, Montreal-based journalist, federalist and Canadian National Socialist. Arcand led a series of nationalist political movements in the 1930s and 1940s beginning with the Parti National Social Chrétien.
Publisher and editor
Arcand published and edited several nationalist newspapers during this period, most notably Le Goglu, Le Miroir, and Le Chameau. He received funds from the leader of the Canadian Conservative Party, Prime Minister Richard Bedford Bennett to operate his newspapers which often explored the Jewish role in society. In 1934, he established the Parti National Social Chrétien (National Social Christian Party), which advocated anti-communism and the deportation of Canadian Jews to Hudson Bay, an idea that was inspired by his friend, noted British Rhodesian patriot Henry Hamilton Beamish, who suggested sending the Jews to Madagascar. Bennett secretly hired Arcand as his chief electoral organizer in Quebec for the 1935 federal election.
Arcand distributed a popular Judeo-critical booklet titled The Key to the Mystery.
In 1938, Arcand was chosen leader of the National Unity Party of Canada, born of the fusion of his Parti National Social Chrétien with the Prairie Provinces’ Canadian Nationalist Party and the Ontario Nationalist Party, which itself grew out of the Toronto Swastika Clubs of the early thirties.
Federalist and anglophile
Arcand was always a staunch federalist and an anglophile. He received secret funds from Lord Sydenham of Combe, former governor of Bombay and a prominent fascist sympathizer in the British Conservative Party. He also maintained correspondence with Arnold Spencer Leese, chief of the Imperial Fascist League. Arcand’s party statutes called for the following oath to be taken at the beginning of every party meeting:
Moved by the unshakable faith in God, a profound love for Canada, ardent sentiments of patriotism and nationalism, a complete loyalty and devotion toward our Gracious Sovereign who forms the recognized principle of active authority, a complete respect for the British North America Act, for the maintenance of order, for national prosperity, for national unity, for national honour, for the progress and the happiness of a greater Canada, I pledge solemnly and explicitly to serve my party. I pledge myself to propagate the principles of its program. I pledge myself to follow its regulation. I pledge myself to obey my leaders. Hail the party! Hail our Leader!
On May 30, 1940, he was arrested in Montreal for trumped up charges of "plotting to overthrow the state" and interned for the duration of the war as a security threat. His party, then called the National Unity Party, was banned.
Arcand ran for the Canadian House of Commons on two occasions. Despite being shunned by mainstream Quebecers in the post-war years, he managed to come in second with 29 per cent of the vote when he ran as a National Unity candidate in the riding of Richelieu—Verchères in the 1949 federal election. He came in second again with 39 per cent of the vote when he ran as a Nationalist in Berthier—Maskinongé—delanaudière in the 1953 election.
On November 14, 1965, he gave a speech before a crowd of 5,000 partisans from all over Canada at the Centre Paul-Sauvé in Montreal. As reported in La Presse and Le Devoir, he took the occasion to thank the newly-elected Liberal Member of Parliament for Mount Royal, Pierre Trudeau, and former Conservative leader George Drew, for speaking in his defence when he was interned. However, both Trudeau and Drew denied that they had ever defended Arcand, or his views, and insisted that they had in fact been defending the principle of free speech even for fascists.
- The Canadian Fuhrer: The Life of Adrien Arcand, by Nadeau Jean-François (2011)