Fred Rose

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Fred Rose
Fred Rose

Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Cartier
In office
August 9, 1943 – January 30, 1947
Preceded by Peter Bercovitch
Succeeded by Maurice Hartt

Born December 7, 1907(1907-12-07)
Lublin, Poland
Died March 16, 1983 (aged 75)
Warsaw, Poland
Political party Labor-Progressive
Residence Montreal, Quebec

Fred Rosenberg (December 7, 1907 – March 16, 1983), also known as Fred Rose, was a communist Jew politician, trade union organizer and a major Soviet agent operating in Canada. He is best known as the only Member of the Canadian Parliament ever convicted of spying for a foreign country.

Early life

Rose was born to a Jewish family in Lublin in what is now Poland, then part of the Russian Empire. He emigrated to Canada as a child in 1916.

Communist activism

He became involved with the Young Communist League of Canada, and then joined the Communist Party of Canada while working in a factory.

Rose was jailed during the 1930s for sedition, and won the hatred of Quebec Premier Maurice Duplessis for writing about the argued close connections between the Duplessis government and the governments of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. He was a close associate of Communist Dr. Norman Bethune, who was active during the Spanish Civil War and later in China.

Election poster

Political candidate

Rose was a candidate for the Communist Party of Canada in the working class Montreal-area riding of Cartier in the 1935 federal election, coming in second with 16% of the vote. He ran in the Quebec general election, 1936 in the riding of Montréal–Saint-Louis for the Communist Party of Quebec and came in third with 16.8%.

Election to parliament

Early in World War II, the Communist Party of Canada was formally banned and many of its leaders interned. After a major public campaign the CPC was legally reorganized as the Labour-Progressive Party. Rose won election to the House of Commons as an LPP candidate from Cartier in a 1943 by-election. He won with 30% of the vote in a tight four way race, beating among others, David Lewis of the social democratic Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF). Rose was re-elected in the 1945 election with 40% of the vote. Most of the riding's immigrant Jewish population voted for Rose, who benefitted from the perception that the Soviet Union was the main hope for saving Europe's Jews from Hitler; his main rival, Paul Massé, of the anti-war Bloc Populaire, who came second, was supported by the French Canadian population of the constituency.

As a Member of Parliament, Rose proposed the first medicare legislation and the first anti-hate legislation.

Gouzenko affair

In 1946, Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk in the Soviet embassy in Ottawa defected to the Canadian government and exposed Rose as a Soviet spy. Rose was charged with violating the Official Secrets Act, found guilty and sentenced to prison. On January 30, 1947 he was expelled from Parliament. Rose was released from prison in 1951 after serving four and a half years and later returned to Poland. In 1957 his citizenship was revoked.

Later life

In 1953 he went to Poland to attempt to set up an import-export business and to obtain health treatment he could not afford in Canada. He worked for many years as English-language editor of Poland, a magazine of Polish culture and civilization designed for sale in the West. While living in Poland, his Canadian citizenship was revoked in 1957, and he was unable to return to Canada to lead the fight to clear his name.

His appeal against revoking his citizenship was denied, although in 1958 Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Ellen Fairclough amended the Citizenship Act with the Fred Rose amendment so that such a removal of Canadian citizenship could never happen again. Years later, former federal cabinet minister Allan MacEachen acknowledged the pages of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King's diary dealing with Rose had gone missing, as had most of the other records dealing with his case.



See also


  • Stalin's Man in Canada: Fred Rose and Soviet Espionage by David Lévy


Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.