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2014 02 07

The Children's Crusade or The Revolution Game
A little background
How did a guy like me end up in a place like Faust?

               Born and raised in Amsterdam, I was schooled in the values of my society: learn the abilities for a productive working life and contribute to the progress of a proud nation. Already in the early fifties, Nederland (my native country) was able to offer its young people educational opportunities that today's Canada would do well to emulate. Though of working class background, I was not conscious of any restrictions in the pursuit of my destiny. It seemed as if the state was willing and able to provide me with the education needed toward my life goals. I wanted to work with my hands and was placed in an apprenticeship program from which I graduated at age 18 as a journeyman coppersmith.
               Shortly after, in 1958, I was in another country on another continent and never again worked in my trade, but the training of my apprenticeship has stood me in good stead for the rest of my life.
               In 1965 I heard an announcement in the throne speech of the government of the day led by Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson that created an immediate interest. As one of the authors that follow wrote about me: Burger was a short, bearded pipe-fitter . . . who had joined the Company because "sooner or later, a person gets the urge to change things or make a better world. This is a chance to do just that."
               I was 26 years of age when I came to the community of Faust. With my background I might as well have been from Mars ~ I had no preconceived notions nor any of the prejudices that had scarred the social fabric in Canada's north. I do not exaggerate when I say that Faust and the people in it and in the wider area around the lake contributed a major portion to my education.

*
as noted above, i heard of the proposed company through the thronespeech of 1965
wrote a letter, and was invited to an interview and evaluation
and gave names of persons who might provide a reference of me
through requests under provisions of the privacy act i was able to obtain
some relatively [useless but amusing documents] relating to this

*

               The Company of Young Canadians was created in 1966 by an Act of Parliament with the unanimous support of all Political Parties in the House of Commons and responsible directly to the House through the Prime Minister's Office. This was an extraordinary political occurrence, for the Company was to be a revolutionary body. The first of its kind in the world. The government had decided to gamble. It was going all the way with youth. The Act read: "The objects of the Compamy are to support, encourage and develop programs for social, economic and community development in Canada . . . through voluntary service."

               It had twelve aims and principles:

               1. The Company has been established in response to the economic, social and cultural needs of communities and to the desire of Canadians to volunteer their time and talents for constructive social change at home and abroad;
               2. The dominant goal of the Company is to help people and communities better their situations and tackle their own problems;
               3. The volunteers will work and live with those groups or communities who are their hosts. They will work with and not on behalf of these people;
               4. People in any situation have the right to make decisions about their lives and to evaluate their own positions. Company volunteers will respect this right.
               5. Volunteers will be partners with their hosts in a mutual learning and acting experience.
               6. Volunteers are not "professional helpers" and will not seek to impose their own solutions on people or communities. They will assist other people in articulating their own problems and in working on them.
               7. Where projects conform to the spirit and criteria of the Company, there will be no hesitation on the Company's part in seeking volunteers, whether the project is submitted by a governmental department, a private group or any other community organization.
               8. The Company council and its staff will support its volunteers, but it will not identify itself with issues in which volunteers are involved.
               9. The volunteer should be the primary decision­maker in the Company of Young Canadians.
               10. The project should allow the volunteer a maximum degree of freedom in deciding his own techniques and in using his own initiative and independence.
               11. The Company will support projects which will hopefully help to alleviate the causes of problems and will not simply "bandage" a symptom.
               12. Volunteers in the Company will choose their own assignments in consultation with the staff.

               Written by a young reporter with the Calgary Herald who served as the director of information for the Company until its political assassination in 1970, this was an insider's story that relates primarily of its bureaucracy and administration.
               In June of 1966, 56 young people had been invited to attend sessions that were to prepare them to become the CYC's volunteers in the field.
               "They were an odd assortment," he writes. "A good many of them were straight middle-class products. . . . There was another group that came from more diverse backgrounds, men and women who had been through other than normal experiences. . . . Added to these two groups was a group that was difficult to define. Some called them hippies, others thought they were just kooks. But the only way to look at them is as individuals. Al Burger was one ~ 'a cheerful [anarchist]' was one way he was described. . . ."
               The following is verbatim from the book:
               These projects were the Company as it could have been.
               Along with a few others, they represented the dream of the CYC. The young people had worked miracles despite the cynics. They had accomplished, despite the efforts of some of their own people to hinder them. And they had guts, enough guts to take a shellacking and come back for more.
               The Lesser Slave Lake project was one example.
               Al Burger and Jeremy Ashton arrived in Faust, Alberta in August 1966. Faust is a backwoods community about 200 miles north of Edmonton. It has a population of about 800, of which a majority is Metis, and a weak economy consisting of fishing, logging and mink ranching. The economy was for the whites; most of the Metis were on welfare. The CYC was invited in to help organize recreation for Faust's teenagers, hardly a radical role, but Burger and Ashton soon turned it into a controversial one.
               Through late 1966 and into 1967, they worked at the recreation job ~ starting a mens' basketball team, helping to start the Faust youth organization for teenagers, trying to start a Boy Scout troop. They also attempted to improve relations between whites and Metis. Trouble was not long in coming. In February, 1967, 45 townspeople met in the Faust community hall and debated running the two volun­teers out of town. The discussion was heated and the complaints numerous.
               One man charged that the volunteers were dirty, unkempt, lazy, rude and proponents of Communism. Others agreed.
               "He's rude, doesn't wash often enough and wears muddy boots in other people's houses," said one woman about Burger.
               The worst charge came from the man responsible for bringing the CYC into Faust.
               "They have floundered around, without any clear-cut objective, just getting people mad," he said.
               Not everyone was mad, though. The Metis community rallied to their support, as did several whites.
               "Those fellows may not have accomplished much in a practical sense, but at least they got us thinking and talking and looking," one supporter said.
               A Metis woman remarked, "They are interested in us, in our problems and our needs. For the first time in 40 years, I think the Metis problem is being recognized here and those boys are responsible."
               Responsible they were and they paid for it. Burger was pulled out of Faust by the Company; the Company didn't have much choice. Ashton stayed for a while, but eventually left as well. It seemed that the whites had won their victory in Faust, but it didn't turn out quite that way. The Metis community circulated a petition asking them to come back and in July they responded. Not many people would have gone back. The white community tried for months to drive them out and when they succeeded in April, the project seemed doomed. Ashton and Burger showed a toughness that other volunteers lacked. They also cared enough to recognize their mistakes, admit them and try to correct them. The project would fluctuate from this time on, but no one could ever doubt the devotion of Burger and Ashton to the principles of the Company and to the metis community in Faust.

               The author completed the book as follows:
               "The Company of Young Canadians is a testimonial to the failures of the system that created it to deal with failures, then obstructed it at every opportunity.
               "The Company of Young Canadians never was a company of young Canadians.
               "March on children."

               A Toronto Star reporter related: "The Company of Young Canadians has been called 'the most ambitious piece of social legislation in North American history.' In creating the CYC in 1965, the Pearson government sought to enlist the idealism of youth to correct inequalities in Canadian society. Yet four years later, the Company was virtually disbanded amid charges of subversion and anarchy within its ranks. . . ."
               This reporter ended her book this way:
               "Only if one could somehow tally up all the swipes at the local power structure that the CYC has led to, directly and indirectly, and then somehow prove that more swipes would have been taken at the power structure more successfully without a CYC, could I ever characterize the Company of Young Canadians as a failure."

Verbatim from the book:

               There are those who would say that [CYC volunteers were co-opted] by the established agencies by [their] emphasis on presenting a favourable image to the 'power elite,' [that] led inevitably to feelings of futility about the work. In any case, if [some were] co-opted by the Establishment, there were at least two prairie volunteers who resisted co-optation with a passion. They were Al Burger and Jeremy Ashton, who worked in the northern Alberta Metis community of Faust.
               "Faust had real possibilities," Michael Valpy recollected with fondness. "I often felt that if the revolution were going to come, it might come in Faust."
               Burger and Ashton did many of the things the good community organizer is supposed to do ~ they identified the community and its natural leaders, identified the issue, brought the issue out into the open. Yet their project was plagued. by public misunderstanding of what the Company was, and what community organizing is. It was identified publicly as a disaster for the very reasons that made it at least a partial success.
               Faust is a backwoods community on the south shore of Lesser Slave Lake, about two hundred miles north of Edmonton. Its population of eight hundred is about three-quarters Metis. Their lives are governed by a benevolent paternalism at best, and cruel degrading racial discrimina­tion at worst, that suits the stereotype of Mississippi more than Canada. The white people of Faust were fond of saying they'd always got along with the Metis before Burger and Ashton came to stir things up, and in their own ugly way they had.
               "The Indians and Metis creep around on the fringes of things, invisible," Burger and Ashton wrote in the CYC Newsletter shortly after arriving there. Alan Clarke remembers being sickened by the poverty, squalor and filth of the Metis' living conditions ~ literally across the railway tracks which divide the tiny town ~ despite his years of experience in the depressed rural and northern areas. "It was the worst I've seen in Canada," he said.
               The community had a failing economy based on some fishing, logging and mink ranching, and an enormous welfare rate, mostly Metis. It had been described as a ghost town in which people are still living. The white people wanted things changed enough to "contain" the basic problems (to use the radical jargon), but they didn't want basic change.
               "The status quo cannot be maintained if this community hopes to survive," was how Faust merchant Fred Pruden put it to a Globe and Mail reporter. "No one realizes this more than the white population who make up the business people here. We need industry to provide jobs, and we need an organized programme of recreation and leisure activities to stop the spread of immorality among our teenagers.
               "In an attempt to attract industry, we have requested the federal government to declare this a Designated Area. On the second count, we asked the CYC to give us a hand with our teenagers. I believe this shows that the whites haven't been sleeping at the switch."
               The Faust Community League and the Faust Indian and Metis Progress League joined forces in the summer of 1965 (while the CYC was still on Duncan Edmonds' drawing board) to ask for two keen young volunteers to organize a recreation programme that would keep the area's youngsters out of trouble.
               Al Burger and Jeremy Ashton arrived in August 1966, filled with the social-action rhetoric of their training at Antigonish. Burger was a short, bearded pipe-fitter from Coquitlam, British Columbia, who had joined the Company because "sooner or later, a person gets the urge to change things or make it a better world. This is a chance to do just that." Ashton, a blond beanpole of a dropout from the University of Western Ontario, had said of the Company: "Perhaps it will get me closer to my goal in life ~ to somehow do something for man and make my life useful."
               They researched the socio-economic situation in their area in somewhat more detail than did most of the early CYC volunteers. They spent a lot of time with welfare officers, Indian Affairs people, sociologists at the University of Alberta, the RCMP, provincial Forests and Fisheries Department staff, the Indian Association of Alberta, the provincial Department of Youth, and the province's Community Development Branch, to whom they were loosely responsible under Doug Lawrence's system of 'resource persons.' They also made a more-than-average effort at meeting the grass roots ~ playing cards, visiting people, spending their time in the beer parlour and so on.
               The "spread of immorality among our teenagers" that Fred Pruden had mentioned was indeed a problem of major proportions, with a high incidence of drinking, fighting, promiscuity, and breaking and entering. That year three thirteen-year-old Metis girls had illegitimate babies. "We've arrested thirteen-year-old Metis boys who were so drunk they couldn't stand up," an RCMP constable said. But it was equally true that the organized recreation programme the town wanted would clearly be what the Company staff were fond of calling "a Band-Aid solution" to a serious social problem ~ what Doug Ward had referred to as "the old get them swimming at the Y and they won't masturbate' approach."
               Say the Aims and Principles of the Company of Young Canadians:
               When our volunteers go into a community, they must not bring "solutions" to the local problems. . . . Related to this is the need to steer clear of quick "solutions" which might produce a community less offensive to the eyes of society, but not necessarily a healthier one; therefore, our volunteers attempt to serve communities within the context of trying to bring them fully into a democratic process. . . . The Company supports projects which will alleviate the causes of problems and not simply "bandage" a system.
               The root of the problem in Faust was racial discrimination, and the powerlessness of the Metis to determine their own lives. The philosophy of the Company ~ the rhetoric that Alan Clarke had suggested nobody was really listening to, when Parliament approved the Company ~ was being tested on specific grounds. The outraged reaction from the whites of Faust was predictable: they said Burger and Ashton were "stirring up trouble" with the Metis, and they tried to run them out of town.
               A mink rancher who led the campaign to get rid of the boys was also a leading opponent of equal rights for the Metis. As Burger pointed out, this man often made statements to the effect that "coloured people are inferior" and the like. Of course that had nothing to do with why he wanted Burger and Ashton out. That was because they were dirty, lazy, rude and proponents of communism. Communism? "They talk about social change," he snarled. "Social change to them means socialism and socialism is the first major step to communism."
               The boys were "anti-authority, anti-establishment trouble makers," and what's more, "they turned their backs on the white community and began fraternizing almost solely with the Metis residents."
               Said garage operator Mel Beamish: "If their purpose was to unsettle this community, then they've done a good job of it. They've been nothing more than a bloody nuisance since they arrived."
               The whites of Faust had got more than they bargained for, as Faust Community League president Wilf Ruecker made clear: "They have floundered around without any clear-cut objetive, just getting people mad. We wanted them to work with our teenagers, and they just haven't done it. They've been a big disappointment."
               The white townspeople, faced for the first time with a hostile, no longer acquiescent native population, began putting pressure on the CYC, directly and through Alberta Community Development, to get Burger and Ashton the hell out of Faust.
               Press coverage of the situation ~ even when it tried to be fair to both sides, as in a detailed Globe and Mail article by Ron Hayter, showed a total lack of comprehension of the nature of Community Development. Hayter wrote critically of the lengthy periods of time the boys spent in the beer parlour, for instance. He quoted Burger as saying, "The place to meet people in Faust is in the pub," as though that were a touch of flippancy on Burger's part. In fact, it was a simple acknowledgement of one of the first rules of community organizing ~ you go where the grass roots are.
               Hayter also reported the volunteers' claim that they helped start the Faust youth organization, but added that after they got the club going they left it to run its own affairs ~ something which might be an indictment of a YMCA worker but not of a community organizer, whose goal is to get organizations to the stage where they can function without him. He reported the volunteers' claim that they attempted to improve relations between Metis and whites by getting representatives of both communities on the Community League executive. Then he added a remark from League president Ruecker that, although the change had taken place since the boys came to town, it was the people's idea, not the volunteers. But if a community organizer is doing his job correctly, of course, all such ideas come from the people.
               Defending himself against the townsfolk's complaints, Burger said: "The Metis people are beginning to look at this community and want some of the power over their own lives. We help them." That, he said, is "the only reason I can see why some of the white people are against us."
               A Metis leader, Mrs. Alice Cunningham, put her finger on the crux of the situation when she said: "For the first time in forty years, I think the Metis problem is being recognized here, and those boys are responsible. They are interested in us, in our problems and our needs."
               As another Metis put it, at a town meeting where the volunteers were attacked: "You are picking on the CYC activities here. But that's not what this argument is about. The argument is about the fact that you, a white person, don't want the CYC here. I'm a Metis and I do want them here. "
               When the crunch came, Ottawa decided to side with the people who didn't want the CYC there, for the moment at any rate. They pulled Burger, the more volatile of two volunteers, out of the town, ostensibly to do "research" in Edmonton. Ashton stayed but with strict orders to stick to youth work and recreation. So much for the proud rhetoric of the Aims and Principles, it seemed; but Alan Clarke has said: "There seemed to be a lot of factors clouding the issue. It wasn't that clear-cut." Neither Clarke nor Doug Ward could remember exactly who decided that Burger would leave, "but it seemed like the best thing under the circumstances," Clarke said.
               Jeremy Ashton left the Company a few months afterwards; and after things had cooled down considerably, Al Burger returned to Faust. He had married another CYC volunteer, Alona Erickson, who was re-assigned to the Faust project with him. Both Burgers were among the few early volunteers to serve out their full two-year terms. Even the most hostile whites admitted that Burger "seems to have settled down" since he married Alona. The state of militant confrontation over the race issue had dissipated, but the project expanded into several scattered communities around Lesser Slave Lake, and became one of the CYC's strongest, most successful projects. Nevertheless, the damage in terms of bad publicity had been done. Newspaper readers remembered only that townspeople had actually run Company volunteers out of the town they were supposed to be helping.
               It would appear that volunteers were doomed when they didn't rock the boat, and doomed when they did.
_______________________________________________
 

1967 ~ this Canadian Press story appeared widely in newspapers across canada

 


from archive.org
Canadian Nurses' Association, Permission Granted to Digitize Item,
Call number: RT 6 A1 C27, Book contributor: University of Ottawa,
Full catalog record: MARCXML, Creative Commons license: Public Domain

_______________________________________________
 

how the [rcmp busied itself with the cyc]

_______________________________________________

amid the controversy of accusations against the CYC as being a seditious ~ even treasonous, organization,
in the Parliament of Canada, the following received wide circulation in Canada's major media:

 

               "I do not accord an absolute and eternal value to the political structures or the constitutional forms of states. . . . With the exception of a certain number of basic principles, such as liberty and democracy, the rest ought to be adapted to the circumstance of history, to geography, to cultures and to civilizations."
Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1965

 

               Recently, people have asserted that the Company of Young Canadians is engaged in subversive activities. People have always asserted this, to be sure, but recently the criticism reached such waves of indignation that a government committee was appointed to investigate. The committee called witnesses, and examined evidence.
               Everyone knows this. The newspapers have been filled with the alleged crimes committed by the CYC or its members. Nightly, television commentators have breathlessly reported new developments in the investigation, and each time one turns on the radio, the CYC rides high in news analysis and talkshows. "Hi-ho CYlver away!"
               What all this does to the work of CYC members in the field can only be guessed at, but rest assured that it does not help.
               It seems clear that the CYC's critics will be successful; it is unlikely that the Company will continue along its present path. It will not be disbanded, as Montreal civic officials Drapeau and Saulnier have demanded, but it will be made 'nice'.
               As Don Hamilton, assistant to the premier of Alberta and ex-director of the Alberta Service Corps, observed, "provincial government agencies should have direct control over the activities of the CYC in the provinces." This, of course, is precisely how the ASC operates and it has managed to avoid bad press notices quite nicely. Come to think of it, it has managed to avoid press notices altogether, which makes one wonder wether the Service Corps has done anything that was worth reporting at all, by anyone except in government publications.
               One thing the most rancorous critic of the CYC must admit is the fact that the Company always gives the news media plenty of material.
               Mr. Hamilton echoes the sentiments of the more moderate critics of the CYC who want to see more control exercised over the Company. But changing the Company into a government agency, and its volunteers into civil servants, will not be conducive to an active move by the radical (I use the word advisedly) young Canadians toward solutions to some of the ills which plague our country.
               I was born in the Netherlands 29 years ago. I am a Dutch citizen. Of this I am proud.
               I have lived in Canada since 1958. I have worked here. Of this I am proud also.
               I have learned much about Canada; I will not deceive myself into thinking any one nation is a utopia, but I intend to work hard for Canada. I am a patriot; this country has given me much, and it will give me more. I have married here, and we have a child. This child is my stake in the future of Canada. This child shall not be denied.
               My love for Canada does not exceed my love for humanity, this much must be clear.
               Men are free and perfectible, so their political organization, unlike that of ants, is capable of improvement.
               When the Government, with the support of all major parties, passed the CYC Act in 1966, it recognized this fact, and it announced the desire on the part of our legislators that young Canadians take part in this process of improvement.
               I was one of those young people who eagerly answered the call. I was, and still am, impressed with the boldness and vision of these men. These were men who created the gadfly that would sting their eyes; who could allow young citizens to contribute to their country in a manner which seemed to fulfill an idealist youth.
               It seems now that many Canadians cannot measure up to the magnanimity of their leaders.
               Sedition is the charge against the Company of Young Canadians. Innuendos have been hurled which cannot be retracted. The charges are ludricous. They will remain so until they have been substantiated in a court of law.
               Mohandas Faramchand Gandhi was convicted of sedition. Will history look more kindly on an indictment of sedition against some 600 of Canada's younger generation than it has on Gandhi's conviction?
               I am compelled to warn those who today attack the Company of Young Canadians in the name of justice. Let us not forget that the charge of treason has always been the instrument of tyranny. The experiment of democracy to which we are committed, has been carried forward with promise by those who preceded us. Those who do not measure up to the obligation of our heritage, are political invalids who lack the nerve, the virtue, and the experience to practice democracy.
               As the CYC stands charged, so do all those who came forward to serve in it; so I stand charged. I am less interested in refuting the charges, which may easily be shown to be trumped up and inconsistent, than in trying to make my accusers to examine their animosity toward me.
               As Socrates spoke to his accusers in Athens, so I speak with him to mine: "When my sons have grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them; and I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything, more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing ~ then reprove them, as I have reproved you, for not caring about that for which they ought to care, and thinking that they are something when they are really nothing. And if you do this, both I and my sons will have received justice at your hands."
               Albert Burger
               Faust, Alberta, November 30, 1669

_______________________________________________

               "I could easily fill a book exclusively with material trailing out from that CYC year," Jeremy Ashton (now living stateside) wrote recently. "This may sound absurd, but I think the most important thing that happened to me in Faust was . . . , well look up 'exploding head syndrome'," although he adds, "I had no syndrome though, it only happened once." (check at the mayo clinic as i did)

This, except for the two prominent names, has the aura of fiction, though it is not.

Insane Campaign by Jeremy Ashton

               In 1967, Roy Ells was the Social Credit MLA for the Lesser Slave Lake region of Alberta. He was a smooth, comfortable looking man. Albert Burger (still today living in Faust, AB) and I stepped into Roy Ells's office. We had an absurd plan.
               "What can I do for you gentlemen?" He showed a certain distaste for Albert's appearance; Albert looked the hippie a little before that style was accepted in rural Alberta. And by 1967, Social Credit saw itself less as the party of the people, as in its original vision, and more as conservative. One of their election practices was to exchange votes for beer from the Indians.
               "The native people around Lesser Slave Lake are suffering," we said, detailing some of the oppression, but not mentioning beer votes. "And hoping to remedy some of this, Stan Daniels, one of their own number, is aiming for the Legislature. He's running in your region as an NDP candidate."
               Stan, with whom we had earlier conversed at length, was committed and angry. He was willing to brave cold, underfunding, and the need to hitch-hike the region to gather support. He was a total rarity... a left-wing Indian (actually Metis). I only knew one other- Willie C.- who is in himself a whole other story. Stan's chances were negligible. Most Indians and Metis were conservative, remembering the tendency of the Crown to protect, in comparison to the unchecked frontier roughnecks or the Americans.
               I believe it was my idea. I think I was the one who actually voiced it to Roy Ells: "Look. We think there's something you can do to really help these very needy people in your region. Step aside. Avoid running in the upcoming election; make room for Stan Daniels." And we described Stan and argued his case a bit.
               We might as well have asked the universe to turn inside out.
               I remember little of Roy Ells's response, except that he was taken aback, probably too much to be offended or aggressive. He didn't seem to think we were joking. That was something. But Al and I may well have laughed after he closed the door behind us; we saw it as mostly a joke.
               I wish I had figures on how Stan did. He seems to have made a name for himself. He fought a good fight. But, needless to say, Roy Ells won without great effort. Maybe he was very slightly less comfortable with his power than before.
*
for the record (from http://www.elections.ab.ca):
Results 1967 Alberta General Elections, Grouard Constituency
eligible electors 10323, total votes cast 6591, 63.8%

Roy Ells
Stan Daniels
Gunnar Walhstrom
Social Credit
New Democratic Party
Liberal
3363
2207
985
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Edmonton, Alberta, 1967. Drunk man challenges Government minister.
I had him by the tie, at a party, insisting he should be far left, although he was Social Credit. He was kind and gracious about it all, realizing I was only a drunk kid. At the time I did not realize this. I thought I was a prophet. Nothing in the Bible specifies how much to drink before prophecying. Besides, I had no Bible at the time, and wouldn't have consulted it if I had.

More from Jeremy Ashton at stories about god
and ~ without leaving ~ on this [right here website]

               Beginning that summer of 1966 (with 'community development' training at St. Francis Xavier University's facility at Crystal Cliffs near Antigonish, Nova Scotia), I interacted with uniquely interesting people (remarkable loonies, Ashton calls them now) whom I would not have encountered except through the CYC and they have enriched my life experience. A number of these persons have been and still are prominent figures in the Native world, and others became well known in other fields.
               The style of community development expounded at Crystal Cliffs involved the introduction of a catalyst (the CYC volunteer) into a community ready to articulate a perceived need for a social change. But the six weeks at the Nova Scotia university's camp also featured the then relatively new concept of 'sensitivity training', that seemed more like a sort of kafka-esque group psychotherapy that is difficult to explain.
               Ashton: "I've been in a lot of intensive group situations in the intervening years, but only in this one do I remember the people this clearly:
               "BB was psychotic. He froze the whole assembly of us, transfixing us with his paranoid raging. Since we all knew it was society's fault, we didn't mind too much.
               "AG ran off into the woods, wrecked by the hidden pain inside him, wondering whether he was the epitome of Good or Evil. The experimental encounter group training was too much for him. It threatened to make him find out who he was. Or wasn't.
               "WT flitted around us all, seeming to be one with flowers and earth, then she fled, absorbed somewhere into the deep, soft texture of the Sixties.
               "GT, determined to be the radicalest among us, was. He jumped on women. That was correct, then. His face co-operated with his politics by sprouting abundant bushy beard. Big bad bastards also were out there in abundance for him to be vociferously against. He made us all ashamed of ourselves when he went away not to be talked to by any of us. However, all of us were alone. Maybe he helped us realize it.
               "LT, daughter of a famous professor, gently shamed us all with her emotional health and with the mildness of her radicalism, and went on to write about Indians. I think everyone ended up writing about Indians. Did we ask them?
               "MZ was ridiculed by the rest of us, for failure to be cool, then went on to do the best job of all in his project. When he travelled to Alberta to visit me, he just quietly cleaned up the beer I had spilled all over my project. Then he left, and I spilled some more.
               "I had all the hangups. I hid it by knowing everything. Some hid it with guitars. Some with layers of North European emotional cement. Some didn't hide it. Some sprayed it all over Crystall Cliffs, where it got mixed with the seagull drippings. I think those who shrieked or barfed or dis-assembled should have got bonus pay. Because madness was what it was really all about.
               "They called us "The Children's Crusade". We were the loony's crusade. That's why things more or less worked."
               Still, Ashton added: "The fundamental principles of community development we learned still stand up. The notion of living among the people is sort of like being a human being. Perhaps our greatest qualification for what we did was being unqualified. When you don't know you can't do something, fear doesn't stop you."

from the Faust News

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also from the Faust News

A CYC Legacy?

In June of 2007 the Globe and Mail ran a story under the headline Did the Boomers Bring Peace to Canada? by Michael Valpy (himself involved with the CYC's early days) in which University of Victoria historian Dominique Clément says today's plethora of human-rights legislation and institutions can be traced directly back to the demands by young people in the 1960s and 1970s for a Canada that would be more caring and sensitive toward their marginalized fellow citizens: the poor, the disadvantaged, homosexuals and racial minorities.

Also in June of 2007, an article entitled: The Summer of Love Revisited ran in The Star in which David Depoe is briefly quoted. Now a retired elementary school teacher, he made headlines across Canada in 1967 by his CYC work with the emerging hippy 'diggers' in Toronto's Yorkville:
"It was peace and love and all of that, but what we were actually trying to do was establish a community where people treated each other differently and everyone was accepted," he said.
"I don't think we would have a Charter of Rights if it wasn't for the social movements of the 1960s."

And in Pierre Berton's 1997 book, 1967, The Last Great Year, he wrote:
"Canada was undergoing a transformation. People at the grass roots were beginning to learn that you can fight city hall. The CYC was part of that new attitude ... It can now be seen as one of the catalysts in the struggle for human rights, native rights, women's rights and grass-roots politics ~ all new concepts in 1967."

In the Spring of 2006, as a Simon Fraser University student project, undergraduate Dylan Mulvin noted that "there is a plan in the works to create a Company of Young Canadians for the 21st century."
Says Nicole Chaland of Canadian Economic Development Network: "It is a dream of ours. We do think that Canada is the only OECD country that doesn't have a 'domestic development program'. We've schemed with the young Dylan. It's a 99 year plan. We've started with a national internship program (most of the internship programs send young Canadians overseas), ours asks them to work in their own community. It's small in scope, but it's a start. We'll have a new website soon.
Mulvin's paper includes an interview with Dal Broadhead "because he might very well be the country's foremost expert on the CYC." Indeed, he was the very first volunteer, and served as its director 1970-1974. Today, Broadhead is Principal and CEO of New Economy Development Group.

In 2008 the European Journal of American Studies published a lengthy article in a 'special issue on may 68', Strange Bedfellows: youth activists, government sponsorship, and the Company of Young Canadians. It calls the CYC "an inimitable entry in the annals of youth activism during the North American sixties."

Legacy, indeed.

Toronto Life Magazine
november 1991


clockwise from top right: michael valpy, barbara hall, rick salter, jack johnson, david depoe, maureen o'neill, jim littleton

CANADA WAS SO YOUNG THEN AND proud of itself and popping with the hormones of self-certain nationhood. Never before and never SInce has the country been so brimful of life, so pure and sure of purpose, so passionate in its compassion. A new generation had just arrived, in a rainbow explosion of ideas and ideals, believing as none who had gone before that great things were possible, believing it with all their hearts. Oh what a brave new world it was that had such people in it. And oh what a time they had.

by John Gault

                 ~ SEE BARBARA HALL, STEPPING OFF A grumbling bus into the summer dust of Three Mile Plains, Nova Scotia ~ not the Barbara Hall of today, budget chief of the Toronto city council, slightly closer to 50 than 40, her hair short and grey, but Barbara Hall as she was then, in that summer of 1966, fresh out of change-the-world school. She is 20, and her dark hair is cascading down her back, and she is terrified because she is supposed to get this dirt-poor, mostly black rural community organized. That is the task for which she was chosen and trained by the CYC.
                 She is not supposed to be a social worker, that's not what the Company is about or supposed to be about: what she is supposed to be is a catalyst, a social activist operating under a freshly proclaimed Company of Young Canadi­ans Act that is, quite simply, one of the most radical pieces of legislation ever passed by any government anywhere. It gives Canada's youth both the man­date and the money to actively, openly challenge what, in 1966, has only just become defined as the Establishment; the CYC's mission, no strings (yet) attached, is to find out what the People want and then to help them go for it, whether it's a sewer sys­tem or, at least theoretically, the overthrow of the government itself.
                 Hall_and forty some other young idealists have just come off six semi­crazed weeks of sensitivity training and community organizing tactics ~ "Saul Alinsky 101" ~ at a faded old summer resort called Crystal Cliffs, not too far from Antigonish. And now, pre­sumably, they are ready to bring Orga­nization to the People. As the great Alinsky himself says, "As long as you are not organized, you will never have power-which, I repeat, is the ability to act." Hall is here to organize the Negroes of Three Mile Plains; around what she does not yet have a clue.
                 She spends her first day in Three Mile Plains watching a bunch of kids (who are also watching this "white girl," of course) playing some pick­up baseball. That night she rides the bus back to close-by Windsor, Nova Scotia, where she has a hotel room. The next day, when she returns, one of the young ballplayers approaches. "My mother wants to know," he says, "if you would like to come over for lunch." She does, and develops a friendship with Maddie Sampson, mother of nine, who will introduce her into the community as early as the following weekend when Hall, in her beige silk shantung dress and an "awful" borrowed hat, accompanies Sampson to "association," which turns out to be the annual meeting of Nova Scotia's black Baptist churches. Barbara Hall's friendship with Maddie Sampson will endure for a lifetime.
                 All in all, however, Hall's experience in the Company of Young Canadians and in Three Mile Plains will be one of frustration, humiliation, isolation, fear and despair. She gets some projects off the ground ~ a disused school is revived as a community and recreation centre, for example, with students from Acadia University coming down on weekends to help tutor the young black kids-but eventually they lose momentum and crash. Plus, she will be terrorized by pickup trucks full of local white trash, called and treated as a whore, and end up on the edge of a nervous breakdown.
                 But even though she bows out early, enduring only eighteen months of the standard two-year CYC stint, Hall will leave Three Mile Plains a better place than she found it. When the Nova Scotia government introduces its first public housing program, not long after her departure, tI:e people of Three Mile Plains, led by Maddie Sampson, are among the first in the province to avail themselves. They know, because Barbara Hall had been there to tell them, what they need to do. They also know about the strength of numbers, and the power that comes with knowledge. They know how to go out and get what they need, and to not be intimidated by bureaucrats and politicians. They are organized.
                 It is a big thing that started with a small thing, a mixture of both practical and symbolic importance. Barbara Hall's first organizational success in Three Mile Plains is putting together a group of men to plan and build an out­house for her.

                 ~ SEE RICK SALTER IN THOSE 1966 DAYS, before he developed "historical patience," arguing community organizing with Saul Alinsky himself, for Chris­sake, the guy who's been bringing Power to the People and kicking the Establishment's ass-for thirty god­damn years, already! The American old master is telling a bunch of Company volunteers and staffers about how he sees the world as "mankind going up the mountain," and the only way to the summit is to outlive and overcome all the obstacles, from unemployment to war, that life puts in the way. But Salter, the prototype new leftist, a founder of the American Students for a Democratic Society and one of the ideological godfathers to the CYC, comes back at Alinsky with his own vision of what mankind ought to be doing. "There's a group of people now talking about abolishing the mountain," Salter says, cranking up the inner vol tage that makes him such a legend in his time. Social change, he insists, means "changing the world that is ~ it's not a unilinear line that always reaches for the summit of the mountain."
                 Salter, today an aboriginal rights lawyer sharing space and values with Clayton Ruby and Marlys Edwardh, then tells a skeptical Alinsky that, yes, when he's talking about a group of people ready to blow up the mountain, he does mean the hippies. "The hippies," he says, "are the first ones who try to live in a new value system. They're the first ones who actively deal with the problem of utopia. They don't have to write about it, they don't have to think about it, they try and live it." He likens the hippie movement to early Christianity ~ "You build up counterinstitutions to what is, and a new society emerges" ~ and draws out Alinsky's deathless quote about the importance of organizers, about how "if Paul hadn't come around to organize the Christian Church, Christ would have been another guy hanging on the cross." Salter does not disagree with that; he is, after all, an organizer him­self. And that's why the CYC exists, to help the disorganized get it together. And as far as Rick Salter is concerned, the more radical the organizer the better the organization.

                 ~ SEE DAVID DEPOE GET HAULED OFF TO jail on the night of the Yorkville "riot" in mid-August of 1967. See Norman DePoe, his nationally famous newsman father, shouting "Cossacks!" at the shavetail cops and demanding, to no avail ("Whatever you do," a publicity­wise sergeant commands, "do not arrest that man"), that he be arrested as well.
                 David DePoe, who will one day settle into a long career as an elementary school teacher, is the most notorious CYCer of his time. He has begun this Centennial Year with an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in front of the American Consulate, which leads to questions in the House of Commons, which leads Prime Minister Lester Pearson, apparently influenced by Company "friend" Marc Lalonde, to tell the world that DePoe and his Vancouver CYC counterpart, Lynn Curtis, have acted "privately, as citizens of a free country." And the prime minister, who once mused that perhaps a good task for CYC volunteers might be washing the nation's statuary, also insists that "the CYC operate with a maximum degree of independence. I do not think the government should interfere with the details of their operations."
                 This is only an apparent victory for the CYC, however. The prime minister is really pissed off, and so are a lot of the people who are trying to make the Company work. They know their unprecedented independence (the CYC does not even answer to a minister) is not going to last forever, and that soon­er or later the government will catch on to the fact that, "Hey, we're paying these people to give us grief," and apply the clamps. The new leftists, like Salter and his CYC soul brother and future law partner, Arthur Pape, and Toronto-based staffer Jim Littleton, are comfortably using terms like "extra-parliamentary opposition" to define the Company's role. The idea, then, is to get enough Power to the People so that by the time Ottawa does wise up the revolution will have become unstop­pable. They truly believe this can be done or they would not be with the CYC. The amount of time they have to establish their revolution, however, varies inversely with the height of the Company's profile, and that is the problem with David DePoe.
                 In the summer of '67, the Summer of Love and Everything Else (including real riots, with hundreds dying, in just about every American city with a significant black population), David DePoe is the volunteer assigned to organize the hippies of Yorkville. The hippies of Yorkville are the Toronto story this sum­mer, with as many reporters and phQ­tographers assigned there as there are bone-obvious undercover cops. Which means, in fairness to DePoe, that he can hardly go for a pee without his whereabouts being noted. He is also visibly radical, full-blown in long hair and beard and plenty of denim, and the signature gaucho hat that he picked up at Malabar's. He is involved with the hippies, and the hippies represent everything the Establishment fears the most: its own children going dope-crazed bad and eating up its station wagons. Something really is happening, Mr. Jones ....
                 Rick Salter's hopes and dreams to the contrary, the hippies are not the stuff that revolutions are made of. While an uncomprehending Establishment fears and loathes the rise of the Hippie Nation, there is no such monolith. Some hippies are genuine would­be world-changers, hearts burning with peace and love and justice. Others are in it because they like the clothes, or the drugs and the sex and the music. Still others are there to stick it to their parents, and every other authority fig­ure (Off The Pigs!) who makes their young lives miserable. And finally there is that band of poor lost young souls ~ abused children in a time when child abuse is studiously ignored ~ in search of a community.
                 The hippies of Yorkville are a combination of all the types, but the numbers are overwhelmingly dominated by the last group, the kids who are in trouble. They're hungry and broke and they're getting hassled and busted by the cops all the time and they've got no place to stay and more and more are getting hooked on uppers and downers and infected with all sorts of diseases. DePoe gets a lot of help from his friends ~ lawyers Clay Ruby and Paul Copeland, Dr. Anne Keyl and her team from Women's College Hospital (who set up a clinic in Yorkville because no hospital will admit hippies), activist­journalist June Callwood, and a few compassionate others ~ but he still ends up spending most of his time just doing maintenance work in Yorkville.
                 The reason the CYC has dropped him into Yorkville, of course, is because the hippies constitute a powerless minority in 1967 Toronto ~ as powerless as rural Negroes in Nova Scotia and urban Indians and Metis in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. And Toronto in 1967 still holds all of its minorities pretty much in contempt. The quintessential politico of the day, Controller Allan Lamport, is at least unequivocal about it: "The majority," he assures DePoe and his people when they seek understanding at city hall, "will always be the authority."
                 DePoe's pleas on behalf of his minority fall on finger-plugged ears. What he wants, for Chrissake, is that the streets of what is still called Yorkville Village be closed to traffic. He envisions it becoming a creative artistic community, like Greenwich Village or (gasp!) Haight-Ashbury. The City, however, has other plans: York­"ville is much too valuable to be wasted on the young.
                 So, on that Summer of Love night in 1967, DePoe and his community finally get it together enough to stage an hon­est-to-God demonstration: they sit down on Yorkville Avenue, and they block the traffic. The cops have been waiting a long time for this "riot" and, swinging their clubs with great enthusi­asm, they wade right in. Some of the rabble is arrested, the rest is merely dispersed. Yorkville is now made safe for the only real constituency of the city council of the day, the developers. The way is now clear for them to move in and line the streets with something called boutiques.
                 Toronto's homegrown hippie era passes into legend. So does David Depoe.

                 ~ SEE DALE MARTIN, NOW AN OUTGOING Metro councillor, and Jim Littleton, now producer of CBC Radio's Commentary, steaming into town with a couple of guys from a community with ancient roots ~ a community that, in the years to come, will continue to justify the existence of the CYC.
                 They are here from Happy Valley, the Indian section of the town of Armstrong in northwestern Ontario, where the CYC has been intensively organizing, and the next day they will disrupt a banquet at the Lord Simcoe Hotel, shunt aside a federal cabinet minister, Robert Andras, and demand justice for their tar paper shack / alcohol-ridden / tattered-clothes community where children have to be shipped away to residential schools because the local school is restricted to white children, including those of Canadian Forces personnel manning the local radar station. Martin is a CYC volunteer, and Littleton is a staffer working out of Ottawa, and now, in late,1968, he is the last of the real red-hot activists stilI attached to head office. A couple of days ago, in Armstrong, he and Martin and Ron Christiansen, the guy in charge of northwestern Ontario, had got to talking with Buddy Sault, a huge staffer who favoured buckskins and a mohawk haircut, and an older man named Hector King, a local leader and a custodian at the radar station.
                 What they'd got talking about was maybe going down and "telling it the way i( really is" at the annual meeting of the Indian-Eskimo Association of Canada where Andras, a minister without portfolio attached to Indian Affairs, was guest speaker. "So why don't you do it?" the CYC guys say. If that's what the community wants, that's what it should do, and just because the CYC hasn't embarrassed a cabinet minister before is no reason not to start now. "It's the right thing to do," Littleton says. "If they don't like it, they can fire us. So what?" And so they go.
                 Despite his appetite for revolution, though, the best part for Jim Littleton does not happen at the banquet, or even in the days just beyond, when the Happy Valley crew convinces John Diefenbaker to take its particular cause into Question Period, and eventually gets itself a meeting with the Indian affairs minister himself, Jean Chretien. Nope. The best part happens at Maple Leaf Gardens. Hector King has known only two places in his life: northwestern Ontario, where he has always lived, and Italy, where he fought a war; Armstrong and Rome. He has only imagined what the Gardens must be like, reconstructing it in his mind from a lifetime of Saturday nights sitting beside the radio. "Where's the gondola, where's Foster Hewitt?" he demands to know when they get seated. Littleton points. King looks, he sees. "There's the gondola," he repeats, over and wondrously over again as the game winds on. "There's the gondola, there's Foster Hewitt!" When the game is over the CYC guys arrange for him to meet "The Chief," Leaf captain George Armstrong. King has a son back in Happy Valley who's a pretty good hockey player, and thus is inevitably nicknamed "George Armstrong." The Chief sends him back an autographed stick.

                 ~ SEE JACK JOHNSON IN 1969, MANY YEARS and miles away from the very senior civil service position he holds today in the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. See him in Calgary in the spring of that year, a young partner in the city's biggest law firm who's been "turned," almost overnight, by his contact with CYC people ~ and the local people they are there to help. Now, thirty-two months since it was mandated to go forth and change the world, the Company has changed precious little: head office is in a shambles ~ it's never been out of a shambles ~ and most of the projects out in the field have ended up changing little or nothing. The organizers, ironically, rarely ever got organized. The Company as conceived will not survive to the end of the year, which, appropriately, is also the end of the decade.
                 Calgary is one of the successes, one that can be pointed to, even as a work in progress. Jack Johnson, a Liberal and a liberal, has been attracted to the Company through contact with staffers Bernie Muzeen and Elaine Husband, who have been at it since 1966, when they first organized around saving a swath of low-income housing that separates the Stampede grounds and the downtown; the Stampede wanted this site for a parking lot. Jack Johnson first gets professionally involved a bit earlier in that spring of '69 when he is able to prevent, at least for a while, the eviction of Peggy Bouchard and her family. The bulldozers, in fact, are at the door when he arrives, and Johnson notes painfully the defeat he sees written all over this woman's face and the faces of her seven children. In a few months time, with the Bouchard family comfortably relocated and filled with the heady knowledge of having actually beaten the system, Johnson will look in their faces again and this time he will see only hope ~ not just because of the new home but because Peggy Bouchard has herself become an activist.
                 A month later, Prime Minister Trudeau stops over on his way home from a skiing trip. He is invited to attend a Poor People's Banquet, sponsored by No Other Way, the citywide organization of the poor and dispossessed that the CYC has made happen in Calgary. He says he will come, but he doesn't. Instead he goes to a Liberal fund-raiser down at the Stampede grounds. So the No Other Way people head down there, and they surround the place and call for Trudeau to come out to talk.
                 Trudeau does come out and wants to know what they want to talk about. "How about The Just Society?" Jack Johnson shouts back. This is where Trudeau finally admits his 1968 election slogan is just that, nothing but a slogan. All in all, Jack Johnson has a great time at the demonstration. "What a wonderful time," he thinks. "God­dammit, that went well."
                 On the following Monday morning, the other partners in Johnson's prestigious (as they say) law firm open their Albertans and discover him right there on page 1, wielding a bullhorn and being disrespectful of the prime minister of Canada for Godsake! A meeting is held: they think that what he is doing is not what they'd call compatible with the wishes and the worldview of the firm's regular clientele, and that there cannot be any repeat performances.
                 So he quits, goes into a "people law" partnership, and, over the next two years, enjoys the most satisfying period of his professional life.
                 Six months later, in the fall of '69, Johnson, elected to the CYC's governing council by Alberta volunteers, ends up as chairman and, before the year is out, finds himself recommending that the elected council be eliminated and that the CYC be brought under direct government control. The Company-as-they-know-it dies, as Rick Salter and the other realists knew from the start that it must. Ironically, however, it is not for ideological reasons that the CYC is handed the hemlock. Not, at least, the anticipated ideological reasons.
                 It should come as no great surprise that many CYCers in Quebec have independantiste leanings. Liberation of the oppressed, after all, is what the Company lives for, the shimmering ideal that draws in the best, brightest and most idealistic ~ who, in Quebec, tend to be overwhelmingly independantiste. But now, as the CYC's own governing council tears at its own throat for days on end in one part of Ottawa, a parliamentary committee sitting in another part of town is being told that the CYC in Quebec is in league with the FLQ, that it's riddled with subversives, and so on. These kinds of accusations, while decidedly short on proof, have been going on since the beginning. But this time the accusers are none other than Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau and his henchman (no other word quite describes him), Lucien Saulnier, chairman of Montreal's city executive committee. The MPs, to their credit, give the Montrealers short shrift: what Drapeau and Saulnier really want is to get the government to pry the CYe's community organizers, its amateurs, off their collective political ass ~ which they have bitten into and chewed for the best of the Company's mandated reasons.                  This does not help the cause of keeping the Company independent, however; it has become just too damn much trouble, much more trouble than it's politically worth. Personalities and personal visions are crashing headlong into each other and splattering coun­trywide; bean-counters, as given the chance they always will, have used the purse strings to strangle much of what made the CYC special. '
                 Everything, Jack Johnson notes, is coming crashing down, and the options to be pursued are clear: death or transformation. Johnson sees that "some awfully good work is still being done out there." And, of course, "some shitty work." High on the list of the latter is the Toronto Youth Project, featuring a couple of bona fide, draft-dodging '60s dope heads, shack-dwelling over on the Island and putting CYC money into, like, hydroponics. And into a "radical" newspaper called Harbinge1; whose place in journalistic history will be assured by its one-time banner head­line, EAT SHIT. It is testimony to the state of the CYC in its last self-governing moments that the council cannot agree it is time to shut down Toronto Youth.
                 After the ball is over, and the CYC is placed under control of the secretary of state, Jack Johnson is appointed to the same governing council to which, months before, he was elected. He stays another four years, serving a term as chairman, and in his eyes the Company is as effective as it ever was in the wild old days of the '60s.
                 It is the '70s now, and pragmatism ~ the word and concept Trudeau himself introduces as an antidote for idealism ~ has overtaken the revolution. In 1976, to a minimum of mourning, the CYC will be finished off.

                 ~ SEE MICHAEL VALPY, LESS THAN HALF the age he is today, one of the youngest of the great young batch of reporters to arrive at The Globe and Mail in the mid­'60s, dispatched to Crystal Cliffs in the summer of '66, about to fling himself into a moment that will profoundly change his life. He falls in love with it all at once, without reservation or apology; he is here to report, that is true, but also to participate in the adventure. That is the deal that he and the Globe have made with the Company as it begins its first experiment in creating a new kind of Young Canadian.
                 Much will be written and said about this six-week crash course in how to change the world, and most of it will be utterly damning. Six of the original fifty-six do not survive the emotional battering that goes with the sensitivity training these kids supposedly need in order to properly interact with the people they are being designed to serve. Five others are deselected at the end of the course. And many of the survivors, Barbara Hall for example, will not finish out the two years of service they signed on for, partly because of the uselessness of their training at Crystal Cliffs and perhaps even more so because of the administrative uselessness that will follow once they are in the field. Others, like Etobicoke's fresh­out-of-high-school Maureen Corcoran (with whom Valpy also falls in love at Crystal Cliffs) will finish their stints ~ in her case in the Indian-Metis slums of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan ~ with feelings of impotence and failure that will never entirely go away.
                 Notwithstanding the shortcomings (for he was blind to none of them), what the 24-year-old Michael Valpy also experiences is "all the loveliest things of the '60s coming together in this idyllic setting," which has an effect on his life equalled by only two others ~ the death of his father and the close-to-four years he will spend as the Globe's reporter in South Africa. Crystal Cliffs is his political awakening, and he returns to the Globe only briefly before signing on as the Company's information officer in the fall of '66. He is not cut out for the publicist's role, however, and, just as Globe managing editor Clarke Davey has affectionately predicted, Valpy is back at the paper within months. But now he knows even better than he did before about "those who have power and those who do not," and he knows that the only way he can remain in journalism is if he can "add my voice to the voice of the powerless."
                 And so he does.

                 AND SO DO THEY ALL, ONE WAY OR another.
                 As early as the dawning of the '70s, it became fashionable, especially media-fashionable, to exult in the "fact" that the '60s had "failed," and what was better proof than all the hippies cutting their hair and putting on suits and wading right in for their slice of the pie? Now that the incorruptibles were getting corrupted, the '60s could be dismissed as nothing more than a drug-induced side-trip taken by a bunch of overindulged kids. Now they were showing their true colours, the drab greys and blues of the business world, looking to get ahead, learning to "play the game" as the "good kids" had always done. The media just about wet their pants when somebody coined the phrase "Me Generation." It was just the sort of touch that was needed to turn cynicism back into a sacrament.
                 The underlying truth is that almost all those who were "Not '60s" ~ the Establishment and its anointed heirs ~ feared and loathed all those who were. That was partly because '60s people's values threatened the established order, and partly because they shoved mirrors into the face of their studiously indifferent society and said, "Hey, look! Look at yourself and then look behind you at all the poverty and the pain and the hunger and the hopelessness, right here in your country and your city and even in your neighbourhood. Turn around and look, goddammit!" The Establishment, needless to say, wanted those mirrors smashed; then everything would go back to the way everything was and should be. The right to rule would be returned to society's natural rulers ~ white upper-middle-class prewar men and (soon) their white upper-middle-class postwar sons.
                 When the dream of the Company of Young Canadians died in 1969, when the radicals and the hippies and the dope heads finally got their well­deserved comeuppance, the cynics and the natural rulers assumed the mirror was shattered. What they didn't understand ~ couldn't understand ~ was that the CYC's mirror was a composite. The people who made the Company what it was, from the glowing-good kids to the eminences rouges to, yes, by God, a new breed of bureaucrat, carried their own mirrors in and carried them out again when they left. Along with their untarnished ideals.

                 SOME HAVE HAD TO KEEP THE FAITH A little more quietly than others. Jim Littleton works for the CBC whose employees, e~pecially under the Tory Domination,'are not allowed to voice opinions on anything that matters. Still, he has managed a few good kicks at the can over his twenty-plus years in film, radio and television, including a number of expository forays into his favourite enemy-of-the-people, the espionage industry: in the early '80s he and Don­ald Brittain produced a series of three documentaries called On Guard For Thee for CBC-TV; a four-parter called "Dissent and Subversion" for CBC Radio's Ideas; and a book titled Target Nation/Canada and the Western Intelligence Network for Lester & Orpen Dennys.
                 Aside from the muzzle he wears for the moment, he is still the same Jim Littleton who catalyzed the catalysts back in the best old days. He even looks exactly the same, "except for the extra poundage. "

                 JACK JOHNSON CHAFES A LITTLE AT the "loss of freedom to raise hell" that goes with being Ontario's assistant deputy attorney general, civil law division. "Your politics becomes quite private when you are a bureaucrat." He is not, however, apologizing for becoming a civil servant, which is largely what he has been, in one form or another, since his earliest days at the CYC. On the contrary, like a number of other CYCers who have moved into positions of influence in government, Johnson takes exception to the notion that government is, by its very nature, the enemy of the people. "The attraction of working in government is that you are working for the public interest, and I feel I have been involved in a number of matters relating to the public interest." Sometimes bureaucrats have to speak bureaucratese, but just in case there is any confusion, Johnson's is one of the names Rick Salter raises when he talks about former CYCers who "went into the public service and brought their values with them."

                 RICK SALTER HAS HAD A TRULY WON­derful time over the years between then and now, proud and privileged to have spent them all in the company and service of Canada's First Nations. The relationship began in the earliest moments of the CYC itself. "Indians" and "Eskimos" were specifically targeted for Company attention, and most of the high-profile First Nations leaders today ~ guys like Phil Fontaine, Mike Mitchell, Harold Cardinal, Duke Redbird and Noel Starblanket ~ all got their activist start with guys like Salter and Art Pape and Jim Littleton.
                 When Salter left the CYC he went to work for the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, first as an organizer and then, after they urged him into law school from 1976 to 1980, a lawyer-organizer. His private practice of today (he's the Toronto end of the Vancouver firm of Pape & Salter) remains over ninety per cent aboriginal rights law, and the firm has been directly involved in most of the aboriginal rights and land claims cases to arise in British Columbia.
                 It was the CYC that first brought the plight of native peoples to the Canadian public attention, graphically and often. And of all the enduring liberation movements that were kick-started in the '60s, aboriginal rights is the one the Company can almost exclusively claim as its own. In 1969, with the CYC in spasm and Rick Salter already gone, the Trudeau government tabled a white paper which, had it been implemented, would have abolished reserves and assimilated native peoples into the Canadian mainstream. Two years later, that paper was withdrawn.
                 Empowerment as a word was still a decade or so in the future, but empowerment as an idea was beginning to sweep through the First Nations. And now, after twenty years of calling for a royal commission into aboriginal affairs, Salter and the people he served, and from whom he learned his "historical patience," have seen that commission become a reality, with an Aboriginal leader, George Erasmus, as one of its cochairmen. And there hasn't been talk of assimilation for many, many years; the talk today, of course, is all about self-government.

                 DALE MARTIN, THE GENTILE KID FROM North Winnipeg (and one of the architects of the secessionist "Free the North" movement when he was with the Company in northwestern Ontario), has mostly just Kept On Doing What He Did/ He arrived in Toronto in 1972 to become research director for the Ontario Federation of Students, moved on to become president of the Federation of Metropolitan Toronto Tenants' Associations, and then, in 1984, got himself elected to Toronto city council, filling the seat left by John Sewell who had gone off to write an urban affairs column for The Globe and Mail, Martin is currently finishing up his final term as Metro councillor for the Toronto Downtown riding.

                 MICHAEL VALPY, ONE OF THE FEW SURvivors of the Globe's most recent ideological purge, continues, in his City­state column, to add his voice to the voiceless and to shove his still-shiny mirror into the face of the Establish­ment. The woman he loved at Crystal Cliffs, Maureen Corcoran, married another (she's Maureen O'Neill now), mothered two daughters, worked as a flight attendant for Air Canada, opened a store, separated from her husband and, in her spare time, got herself involved in the alternative school movement deeply enough to become a founder of her neighbourhood High Park Alternative School. This fall she is entering elective politics, running for a spot on the Toronto board of education.

                 BARBARA HALL CAME TO TORONTO after Three Mile Plains, to the "inner city" where she'd wanted to be sent when she signed on with the CYC in the first place. She got a job as a street worker at Central Neighbourhood House, just across from Allan Gardens on Sherbourne Street, and she was also part of a group that founded Point Blank, a free school for poor kids and dropouts where "we might teach a class in the aisle of a grocery store, and talk about food and agriculture and geography and science in terms of the tins on the shelves." Film director Clay Borris was one of the students; he got his start on donated cameras.
                 Hall married and moved to Cleveland, where she was a probation officer and, in 1972, an Ohio organizer for George McGovern's quixotic presidential run at Richard Nixon. When she came back to Toronto, she went into law school, planning a career strictly in criminal law. But thanks to the past that she carried with her, reaching all the way back to Three Mile Plains, she pretty much got forced into family law, most of it on Legal Aid. Her referrals came from the hostels and social worker friends. Anyone with a client with extreme problems, from housing to abusive husbands, would always seem to think of Barbara Hall. Then as a New Democrat, she made it to city council.
                 Life is better today, in most ways, than it was in the summer of '66, standing on that roadside in Three Mile Plains, Nova Scotia, with reality starting to beat down hard. But like all (or nearly all) who brushed with the Company of Young Canadians, Barb Hall's life is not divided into that- was-then and this-is-now; what she was is what she is, and no apologies for that. "I've learned a lot of things since then, and I've had a lot of different experiences.
                 "But there's still a lot of the Barbara Hall in 1991 that's the same as that Barbara Hall in 1966."

                 DAVID DEPOE GOT ARRESTED AGAIN IN 1970 for his part in a mass demonstration at the U.S. Consulate to protest Richard Nixon's invasion of Cambodia. As he was being lugged away, one cop to a limb, other cops thundered their horses into the crowd, trampling whatever troublemaker happened to get in the way. (How times have changed: a couple of years ago Rick Salter was in an antiwar demonstration in Vancouver, and the guy beside him sported a button that said, POLICE FOR PEACE.)
                 DePoe, who was once again acquitted of causing a disturbance, had returned to the University of Toronto, which he had left to drive cab before the CYC came along, and plugged back into Students for a Democratic Society. Since he had accompanied Clay Ruby to an early meeting of SDS near Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1962, DePoe was never really too far removed from its radical values in any case. The U of T chapter focused heavily on racism ~ especially after May 1970: most people remember that as the month of the Kent State Massacre in Ohio, but it was also the month of the Jackson State Massacre in Mississippi. The Kent students were white, the Jackson students were black, and that tends to explain why one incident got immortalized and the other forgotten.
                 He helped found the Committee Against Racism on campus, helped "discover" black leaders like Dudley Laws and Bromley Armstrong (lawyer Charles Roach was Toronto's lone "black activist" in those days), and also spent some time in the Canadian Party of Labour, a hard-line Stalinist sect. The rest of the Left, both old and new, was revising and realigning like crazy, and he was seeking some kind of ideo­logical purity. He wasn't particularly successful.
                 In 1975 DePoe went to teacher's college and got hired right away by a principal "who knew who I was, and wanted me " ~ John Bates, of what was then Davenport Road Public School. The school system was radically changing under the influence of the Hall-Dennis report, and David DePoe could see that teaching would give him a real chance to "make a'difference." In the late 1970s he organized a teachers' support group for the Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua; in 1981, after the Sandinistas won, DePoe and some others went down to deliver three cartons of donated eyeglasses. Then, ever deeper into Central American politics, he helped found a Committee of Solidarity With the People of El Salvador, and the Teachers' Committee for El Salvador where, under a Washington- underpinned regime, more than 300 teachers have been murdered in the past decade. Oh, and by the way, DePoe also got involved with the Anti-Apartheid Coalition, and co-organized Bishop Desmond Tutu's mission to Toronto.
                 He's lost the hair and the beard and the signature gaucho hat along the path of time, but not a whole lot more. "Why should I change? Why should I? Why should I change my mind about things that I think are right?"

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  burgerpedia 2011 03 10

to someone in connecticut:
wikipedia, the canadian encyclopedia,
. . . albert burger

 

  the cyc still resonates . . .
see this presentation by Shannon Tang, Alice Maryniuk, & Sophia Koo
March 2012 on slideshare