Ron Gostick makes a living telling people Trudeau is a COMSYMP.
You’d be amazed how many people believe him
Ron Gostick makes a living telling people Trudeau is a COMSYMP.
You’d be amazed how many people believe him
THE ONLY CROWDED PLACE in Flesherton, Ontario, is the graveyard. The shiny grey stones and small, white, weathered stones have British names: Ward, Legate, Buskin, Harrison. Farther up the main street, which is a few hundred yards of Number 10 highway halfway between Orangeville and Owen Sound, there’s Fisher’s 5c to $1 Store with a black mutt lolly-gagging on the front step. 1 here s a park with swings, the Flesherton Memorial Park, operated by the Kinsmen. Some old red-brick houses that are lacy and white-painted around the eaves. Some elm trees that haven't died yet. A couple of plump girls in Bermuda shorts. Oh, it’s just a little place. The population. 480, has been stable for 100 years. It seems madly incongruous that this bucolic village
is the hate-literature capital of Canada.
For 16 years the stuff has been pouring out of a pleasant old farmhouse and, latterly, a smaller adjacent farmhouse turned into offices, the two white houses fronting 40 acres of fields and bush on the right side of Number 10 as you drive into town, just south of the graveyard and opposite a new high school. The owner of the two houses and the 40 acres is a man named Gostick. Ron Gostick, and there are people in Canada who
might express surprise that he does not live under a rock.
It was Gostick who, before the national election, distributed 150,000 copies of a leaflet titled Trudeau Spearheading Fabian Takeover. The leaflet described Trudeau as a “rich young leftist” who “enrolled at Harvard, spawning ground of leftist intellectuals,” headed a delegation of businessmen — “who turned out to be Communist!” — to the Moscow Fxonomic Conference in 1952, attempted
to "row to Cuba in a canoe" in I960, and so on and on.
The surprising thing was not that somebody had turned out this material; rather, that a considerable number of Canadians paid good money for copies of it. The press, which got a little hysterical about Gostick and even resorted to the idiocy of attacking him with his own arsenal, kept speculating darkly that he was "well financed” by persons — tycoons? politicians? — unknown. In
“Trudeau: more dangerous than socialist Tommy Douglas”
fact, his operation is financed entirely by a claimed 10,000 subscribers to his monthly report, The Canadian Intelligence Service (five dollars per year), his bimonthly French-language report, Le Service d’intelligence Canadien (three dollars per year), and his weekly report, On Target (three dollars per year), by people w'ho order back copies of these bulletins (usually 25 cents each, 15 for one dollar, 100 for five dollars), and by people who order books and booklets from his catalogue of about 100 titles, most of them fervently anti-Communist in theme.
Besides seeing a dangerous Left - winger behind every tree, Gostick sniffs fluoride “rat poison” in every reservoir and has exposed such subtle subversions as the United Nations, Brotherhood Week and racial integration. He stands foursquare behind the Crown, law and order and God Almighty. That God Almighty stands foursquare behind Ron Gostick he has no doubt, pointing to such evidence as this missive from Ontario’s Oxford County: “Please rush me 40 copies of your pamphlet on Trudeau. I am a minister of the Gospel and I am both disgusted and ashamed of my ignorance of what is going on. A friend passed on to me a number of your reports.
You will receive my sul> scription. I want to get out as many of these Trudeau Revelations as possible in this area, to others who are ignorant and affluent.
God bless you.”
One summer day when the Ontario countryside was at its most pastoral and the village of Flesherton lay sound asleep under the elms, a big black-andcream German shepherd flopped its tail on the porch of Gostick’s smaller house and I was directed to his basement office.
This office was fitted out with wall-to-wall carpeting and plywood shelves full of books with such titles as The Red Plot Against A m e r i c a, by somebody named Stripling Considine, Bolshevik Invasion of the West and The International Jew. There was a small wooden desk with more books on it, and behind it a heavyset man with almost white hair, a wide face, a goldfilled left front tooth and a manner of schnauzer-like solemnity. He was wearing a grey suit and in the breast pocket there was one of those little pointy non-handkerchiefs the laundries give out. Gostick said his place was overrun with the insects that the locals call earwigs. He was working that day
on an article about the national election, alternately socking it to Trudeau and squashing earwigs. His ammunition in both cases consisted of the books on his desk. They were Trudeau’s Federalism and the French Canadians, a French edition of Two Innocents in Red China (written by Trudeau and his companion Jacques Hébert), a transcript of the Inter-
national Economic Conference of 1952, the one held in Moscow and attended by Trudeau, and Social Purpose for Canada, edited by Michael Oliver.
It was possible to predict the theme of Gostick’s article with some accuracy, especially when he described this last book as a virtual handbook of the NDP and flipped to page 371 where — aha! — there was a chapter by Pierre Elliott Trudeau. “He calls the chapter The Practice and Theory of Federalism,’ ” Gostick said. “It was
reproduced in Federalism and the French Canadians.” So? “Social Purpose for Canada was written by socialist intellectuals.” For some reason I thought of the woman in a Peter DeVries novel who disliked Communism because it “smacked of socialism.”
Everything is relative, even extremism. Gostick has never said that fluo-
ridation is a Communist plot. “People who say that do a great disservice to those who are opposed to compulsory mass medication,” he says. Nor has he ever said that Trudeau is a Commie. “Trudeau is a socialist with a very flexible approach. During the campaign he even sounded like a free enterpriser. He is therefore much more dangerous than Tommy Douglas, a rigid socialist.” Gostick votes Tory, of course, now that Social Credit is dead nationally. He says he would vote for the NDP before he'd vote for Dalton
Camp. In his own riding the Conservative won by 80 votes, a victory that Gostick seems to take some credit for. “I helped out in any way I could behind the scenes.” He believes that his stuff boosted Creditiste fortunes in Quebec, and got a Tory elected in Leeds, ousting a Liberal. “People in Smiths Falls and Brockville ordered and distributed more issues of the Trudeau article than any other area in Canada,” he says. “At least 20,000 of them went in there and as a result we stopped the Trudeau tide, reversed it, in fact.”
Gostick d esn’t mind people calling his material hate literature, and his views in this whole area are pretty wonderful. “If you have in mind the dictionary definition of hate, well, I have no objection at all,” he says. “But hate literature is generally used in the view that it’s some kind of poisonous thing where the guy writing it is diseased or something. That’s getting into the realm of pure smear. It’s like the term McCarthyism. Now, that has a bad connotation.” Gostick is, of course, a staunch supporter of the late Senator and lists one of his books, America’s Retreat From Victory, in his catalogue of “essential” literature.
Gostick and I went upstairs to look around, and we met a pleasant, paunchy Montrealer named Patrick Walsh, who researches and sometimes writes for Gostick’s publications, who keeps turning up in them as “a well-informed RCMP undercover agent,” who says he did co-operate with the RCMP in their investigations of trade-union violence in the Rouyn-Noranda area, and who calls himself research director of the Canadian League of Rights, a movement launched by its other member, Ron Gostick.
Walsh was now fussing with Gostick’s filing system. There were cards on the file drawers, and the whole thing was like The Hardy Boys in Ottawa: COMMUNIST PARTY IN CANADA. BACKGROUND OF AND LINK WITH COMINTERN. LEADERS ALL TRAINED IN Moscow! And: RED CHÍNESE FILES. RED CHINESE NETWORK. And: CANADIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION. FILE ON COMMENTATORS. FILE ON PRODUCERS. FILE ON PROGRAMS. BRIEFS ON CBC LEFTIST SLANTING OF NEWS.
Gostick employs one woman full time in the office. He does all his printing on a 1250 Multilith press that runs off about 6,500 copies an hour.
His little business grossed more than $30,000 last year. He is apparently a pillar of the community: president of
continued on page 108f
“The United Nations is a menace to the world’s security”
Branch 333, Royal Canadian Legion, member of the provincial executive of a boys’ hockey league, member of the local Chamber of Commerce, Kinsman, Anglican churchgoer.
Over in the big house, under camein - the - frame prints titled “Winter Wonderland” and “October Gold,” Gostick got to talking about his background. Now 49, married to a schoolteacher and the father of six, he spent his early childhood in the Stettler district of central Alberta where his I family farmed a half-section. During .the Depression they moved to Calgary where the English-born father, a trained woodworker, found employment in a flour mill. The political sparg plug of the family was the mother, a member of the provincial legislature between 1935 and 1940, when Alberta had its first Social Credit government. Young Gostick was taught high-school math by William Aberhart, and remembers the Socred Premier as a family friend. Gostick decided to become a court reporter and took a shorthand course at Gregg College in Chicago. He expended considerable effort getting into the army in 1940 and 1941 — he has little vision in his left eye. His war was a dull one, transcribing the evidence of military investigations in Toronto. Meanwhile, he had married. The Gosticks lived on Jarvis Street and went to church regularly. He devoted his spare time to organizing the Social Credit
League of Ontario, and later lost badly as a federal candidate in North Grey riding. Soon after his discharge he went to Regina as national secretary of the party. After a few months he dropped out of the party and the family returned to Ontario. The first
of his publications, Voice of the Electors, appeared in 1947. They were living then in the little town of Grimsby Beach, and Gostick was starting to seek out speaking engagements before various groups. He took a hard anticommunist line at a time when every-
body was ready to listen. He traveled around the province on a refurbished army motorcycle, a Royal Enfield he’d bought for $360. In one saddlebag there would be a change of clothes, in the other a lot of pamphlets and papers. His wife put a stop to the cycling after Gostick ran into a herd of cattle on a back road near Owen Sound. That was in 1948, when they were living in a nearby village called Walters Falls. Mrs. Gostick has relatives in the Owen Sound area. They moved to Flesherton in 1952. Gostick farmed to augment his business in the beginning.
He has simmered down a little since the 1950s, when he was fairly rabid on all the issues so peculiarly lumped together by extreme conservatives. “I was probably a little more erratic in my approach and hasty in my decisions than I would be today,” he says. Here are a few of his earlier decisions and his reaction to them: “Brotherhood week is the brain-child of organized Jewry.” “Well, the Jewish element was active in the beginning. I wouldn’t say it matters much today. Nobody pays any attention to it anyway.” ‘‘Mental Health is .. . anti-Christian brainwashing.” “I’d say that’s probably a little strong.” ‘‘The United Nations is subversive, the United Nations is evil.” “It might not actually operate subversively, but I would still say that the United Nations is a menace to the security of the world. Maybe I wouldn’t say that it is evil, exactly. Did I say that?” For a fearless Commie fighter, Ron Gostick is a pretty good waffler. ★
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.