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18:00 - 19:30 20 November 2017

Loyalty, Security and Homosexuality: Canada’s Gay Purges During the Cold War in a North Atlantic Context


Seminar room 105 | UCL – Institute of the Americas (link Map)
51 Gordon Square | London | WC1H 0PQ | United Kingdom

Open to: Alumni | Public | Academic | Student
Admission: Free
Ticketing: Pre-booking essential

Speaker information

Dr Hector Mackenzie, Senior Departmental Historian, Global Affairs Canada, Hector Mackenzie is a graduate of the University of Toronto and Oxford University, from which he received his doctorate. He taught at the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario before he joined the Department of External Affairs as an historian. He has been the Senior Departmental Historian of what is now Global Affairs Canada since 1991. In addition to editing two volumes in the series, Documents on Canadian External Relations, he has published numerous book chapters and articles on Canada's international relations in the twentieth century, with a particular emphasis on the period from 1935 to 1957. He is an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of History of Carleton University, a past president of the Associat

By a tortuous chain of illogic and prejudice, the principal targets of the security service of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police during the Cold War were gay and lesbian public servants in the Department for External Affairs. Presumptions were made about ‘character weakness’, vulnerability to entrapment or blackmail and consequently risk of betrayal, so that large numbers of loyal public servants were dismissed or purged without any evidence or even grounds for suspicion of unauthorized disclosure of government secrets to foreign (i.e. Soviet) agents.

This seminar highlights the past inattention of governments to this terrible episode in Canada's past, although the current Canadian government has indicated its intention to make a formal apology by the end of the year. There is also an emphasis on the continuing research challenges associated with this subject particularly surrounding access to files under the control of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Privy Council.


Oscar Martinez
+44 (0)2031089721 | ucl-ia@ucl.ac.uk


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