Tuesday, June 30, 2015

DAVID COWLISHAW - I WAS AN AGENT FOR UNDERDOG - IT'S HARD TO DRAW ATTENTION TO INJUSTICE


Does anyone remember Canadian journalist and founder of UNDERDOG
, David Cowlishaw? Underdog was an organization whose purpose was to help victims of injustice. David Cowlishaw drew media attention when he tossed a bag of beef blood down on the floor of Parliament from the gallery.

Sometimes people have to find non-violent but dramatic ways to bring attention to injustice. The Canadian Doukhebour women stripped naked. People noticed that and I remember it, although I don't recall what their grievances were.

Rogue page inspired by Arab uprising, wants Canadians to mobilize - 
A young woman who spent the past year working as a Senate page was kicked out of the upper chamber and fired for staging a protest during the Speech from the Throne on Friday.  thestar.comwww.thestar.com

It takes a lot of courage to stand up and do the unconventional. It was a peaceful and to-the-point protest, a moment that will be seen around the world and noted - briefly - in history books. So she lost her job. A very small price for the point she made. She won't be unemployed for very long. The media is bound to hire her. 

A few decades ago, a journalist from Calgary named David Cowlishaw founded an organization called UNDERDOG. 

I was an agent for Underdog. It was our task to help people who were treated unjustly. There were some interesting adventures.

I have finally found the story behind David Cowlishaw's action:

The Story 

Calvin MacDonald, undercover RCMP officer

He says his life has been ruined. After spending years as an undercover RCMP officer posing as a communist, Calvin MacDonald claims the damage done to his family and personal life is almost irreparable. In this 1963 CBC Radio interview, MacDonald gives the candid details of his life as an RCMP spy and the difficulties it has caused for his relationships with family and friends.


This interview was originally aired in four shorter segments on four separate episodes, but all four parts have been edited together for the purposes of this website. You can hear a two- or three-second gap between each segment as you listen to this interview.

Calvin MacDonald claimed that after he was discovered to be a spy by the Communist party, the RCMP disowned him and refused to acknowledge that he ever did any work for them. He said he couldn't get a job anywhere because he was listed as a member of the Communist party, and the RCMP wouldn't take his name off the list. 

MacDonald's case was well-documented in the Globe and Mail in 1964. The Globe reported an incident in August 1964 where a man named David Cowlishaw, who was involved with a group called Operation Underdog, hurled a carton of beef blood onto the carpet of the House of Commons during the flag debate in an effort to draw attention to MacDonald's plight. 

Several days after the cow blood incident, the Globe reported that MacDonald told a group of reporters that he planned to travel across Canada spilling government secrets until the RCMP agreed to clear his name. He said that being a listed as communist not only prevented him from getting a job, but the whole scenario had also broken up his marriage and distanced him from his eight children. 

MacDonald quickly began spilling a number of secrets. One particularly salacious story appeared in a September 1964 issue of the Globe and Mail, involving a homosexual page boy whose "sugar daddy" was an MP in the House of Commons. As proof of this homosexual relationship, MacDonald told a story of a party he attended hosted by the page, a slim young man wearing "a beige shirt, fawn cashmere sweater and fawn slacks." MacDonald said the page told him his "sugar-daddy MP" paid the rent on his apartment, which "was decorated in Japanese décor and thickly carpeted." According to MacDonald, "the host danced a strip tease at the party and showed him instruments used by masochists." 

The name of the MP involved was never mentioned in the newspaper, but the Globe did feature a major story stating that all allegations made by MacDonald over the past several days were being vehemently denied by the MPs and government members involved. The article also said the government denied that MacDonald was on any sort of communist list, and said there was no such list in existence. 

A week later, on Sept. 9, 1964, the Globe reported that MacDonald was now alleging that there were three communist cells operating within the Toronto offices of the CBC: "These CBC party members are peddling the communist line on the network, Mr. Macdonald declared." 

After the flurry of media activity about MacDonald in August and September of 1964, there were a only few mentions of MacDonald in the newspaper over the next several years, and very little can be found on MacDonald after the 1960

 
http://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/calvin-macdonald-undercover-rcmp-officer


1 comment:

Christopher Wilson said...

I worked with David Cowlishaw on a local newspaper in the Midlands in the 1960s. I would love to hear from anybody who has any knowledge of him, written or personal.