Secret RCMP report calls for increased police powers to meet growing threat of social unrest

A heavily-redacted, secret 2023 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) report reveals deep concerns within Canada’s national-security apparatus that unprecedented social inequality and growing economic insecurity combined with climate and technological change will fuel political and social upheavals that threaten bourgeois rule.

The report, titled “Whole of Government Five-Year Trends for Canada” and obtained by private broadcaster CTV under an “access to information” request, paints a stark picture of economic crisis, environmental collapse and social unrest. The report was compiled using “open-source information” into late 2022, and “identifies shifts in the domestic and international environments that could have a significant effect on the Canadian government and the RCMP.”

The report begins with the observation that Canadian capitalism and its state are caught up in “a series” of global “crises,” “with COVID-19, supply chain issues, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine…” It then goes on to warn that future prospects are bleaker still. “The situation will probably deteriorate in the next five years,” it affirms, “as the early effects of climate change and a global recession add their weight to the ongoing crises.”

The RCMP report has received only paltry and politically myopic coverage in the capitalist press. The neo-conservative National Post ludicrously ascribed the rise in social inequality emphasized in the RCMP report to “declining worker productivity.” At the opposite pole, the pseudo-left writer David Moscrop declared that the report should prompt “a serious, good faith discussion about class in this country”—as if any section of the ruling class would entertain such a discussion, let alone has a substantive program to reform capitalism!

The RCMP report is a response to the accelerating pace of the class struggle in Canada and internationally. Since 2020, more than 1.3 million Canadian workers have struck their workplaces. While the report was being researched, 60,000 Ontario education workers walked out in defiance of a savage Ontario Tory anti-strike law precipitating a movement for a province-wide general strike. Ultimately, the Ford government prevailed because the leaders of Canada’s major unions intervened to force the workers back on the job with none of their demands realized. Since then, the ruling class has been able to beat back a wave of militant struggles, including strikes by federal government workers, West Coast dockers, and Quebec public sector workers, only due to their systematic sabotage by the corporatist trade unions and the NDP, their close political ally.

Whole pages of the brief 11-page report have been withheld, but the scraps that remain are revealing. Canada’s national police force contemplates challenges to Canadian capital’s world position arising from new technologies and environmental collapse. Technologies such as quantum computing, Blockchain and AI pose threats, but as the report makes clear also provide the ruling class opportunities for more efficient surveillance and exploitation of the working class: “AI will enhance and assist decision-makers by helping coordinate operational resources” and in “finding patterns in vast datasets,” which will no doubt include the social-media posts of workers, and left-wing minded students and youth.

One of the many heavily redacted pages from the RCMP report. Final sentence reads: "Law enforcement should also contribute to policy change relating yo the privacy of personal information, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), quantum computing, digital ledger technology, and more." [Photo: Government of Canada]

An enhanced state spying operation is required because the RCMP expects young workers to rebel at their miserable future prospects.

According to the report, “In the words of Emanuel Macron, we are about to see ‘the end of abundance.’ Economic forecasts for the next five years and beyond are bleak. It is always unclear how economies will perform, but this period of recession will likely have a negative impact on the social and political world as well.”

The RCMP’s decision to quote Macron, popularly dubbed the “President of the rich,” is no accident. As Macron was announcing “the end of abundance” and effectively declaring war on the working class in an August 2022 speech, French corporations were reporting that they had paid out 44 billion Euros to their shareholders in the previous quarter. The French working class responded to Macron by launching nationwide protests in October 2022 in which millions defied the government, which reacted with a campaign of police terror.

As the World Socialist Web Site has documented, the 2020s have seen an acceleration of the transfer of wealth to the ruling class through the funneling of vast sums into the financial markets and increased austerity for working people. “Since 2020 the world’s five richest men have more than doubled their fortunes, at the rate of $14 million per hour, from $405 billion to $869 billion, while almost 5 billion people, over half the world’s population, have been made poorer.” A 2020 report by the Parliamentary Budget Office revealed that Canada’s richest 1% held 25.6 % of Canada’s wealth, a percentage which increased rapidly to 34% by 2023, according to Oxfam.

There is clearly no “end of abundance”—all of which is created by the labour power of the world working class. Only capitalism is siphoning an ever-greater share of that abundance to the billionaires and the top 10% of society. Ever-ballooning payouts to investors require an ever-increasing rate of exploitation, which can only be enforced by ever-expanding police measures.

Mass protest in Montreal on November 4, 2023, against the imperialist-enabled Israeli genocide in Gaza. [Photo: SEP-Canada/WSWS]

The ruling class has relied on the trade unions, the NDP, and their pseudo-left apologists to suppress the class struggle, but with their credibility evermore frayed their ability to do so is breaking down. There are numerous signs of this: from the wave of rank-and-file rebellions against union sell-out contracts and the eruption of mass protests around the world against the imperialist-backed Israeli genocide in Gaza to the powerful vote for Will Lehman, the WSWS-supported socialist candidate for the presidency of the United Auto Workers, and the growing influence of the International Workers Alliance of Rank-and-File Committees.

The RCMP’s “Whole of government” report is indicative of how the capitalist state and the ruling class are responding—by preparing and resorting to ever more sweeping and violent forms of repression.

The police guardians of inequality fear working-class radicalization

The RCMP report raises concern over the waning of the control the ruling class has long exercised through its traditional parties and institutions, including the media and the trade unions, or what it calls the “erosion of trust.” “The past seven years,” it states, “have seen marked social and political polarization in the Western world” with the rest of the comments redacted. The next public passage reads, “Law enforcement should expect continuing social and political polarization fueled by misinformation campaigns and an increasing distrust of democratic institutions.”

Under the heading “Paranoid Populism,” the RCMP writes: “Capitalizing on the rise of political polarization and conspiracy theories have been populists willing to tailor their messages to appeal to extremist movements. Authoritarian movements have been on the rise in many liberal democratic nations.” The rest of the section is redacted.

The RCMP report was written in the aftermath of the misnamed, far-right “Freedom Convoy,” which menacingly occupied downtown Ottawa for more than three weeks in Jan-Feb. 2022 and blocked key Canada-US border crossings, provoking a major political crisis. As the Socialist Equality Party explained at the time, the Convoy had negligible public support but it was supported and encouraged by much of the ruling class as a means of bulldozing over public opposition to the scrapping of anti-COVID public health measures and pushing politics as a whole sharply to the right. Ultimately, the Trudeau government, with the full support of the NDP and the unions, used the Emergencies Act to disperse the Convoy, setting a dangerous precedent for the future use of anti-democratic, draconian powers against the working class.

Declassified RCMP ‘PROFUNC’ plans for the rounding up of ‘enemies of the state’ in Quebec [Photo: Government of Canada]

RCMP spying and provocations have always been directed primarily at the working class and the socialist left. It has kept secret files on socialists and labour leaders since before the Russian Revolution, and during the Cold War it developed the so-called ‘PROFUNC’ scheme to imprison labour militants and socialists in concentration camps in the event of a war with the USSR. The RCMP ran WWII Nazi collaborators as spies against the labour movement. The Canadian state has also historically aligned itself with the Ukrainian far-right, and is currently sponsoring fascistic Ukrainian nationalists as proxies in its war against Russia.

In the RCMP report’s highly redacted section on the COVID 19 pandemic, it envisages continued “established opposition to existing and potential public health measures and other restrictions,” while conveniently skirting around the fact that a considerable share of that opposition is to be found within the ranks of the RCMP and other sections of Canada’s national-security apparatus.

Canada’s Public Order Emergencies Commission of Inquiry under Justice Rouleau, formed to report on the Liberal government’s invocation of the Emergencies Act in response to the Convoy movement, revealed that Convoy organizers received “a constant stream of leaks” from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and active-duty military, and that the RCMP was aware of the “potential for serious insider threats” from within its own ranks.

In fact, the Canadian state is perfectly “willing to tailor messages to appeal to extremist movements” based on “conspiracy theories.” In 2021, Canadian cabinet ministers promoted the debunked theory that the COVID-19 virus originated in a Wuhan laboratory, as part of a continuing campaign to whip up hostility to Beijing and thereby legitimize Ottawa’s ever more complete integration into the US war drive against China. The ruling class campaign to drive workers back into unsafe workplaces based on the notion that “the pandemic is over” draws all of its political oxygen from capitalist politicians who preach conspiracy theories about COVID-19 to justify the abandonment of basic public health measures which have been accepted science for more than 100 years. The leader of Canada’s official parliamentary opposition, Pierre Poilievre, came into the leadership of the Conservative Party as a strident supporter of the Freedom Convoy.

Likewise, the RCMP report’s comments about the destruction of the world environment are not at all concerned with halting the processes that have led to it. Their concern is merely that melting polar icecaps will threaten Canadian “sovereignty” over its largely uninhabited Arctic archipelago, and therefore the “opportunity for profit” which climate change opens up.

The final section of the RCMP Report, entitled “Next Steps” has been completely redacted. It is not however difficult to guess what “next steps” are being contemplated.

The Rouleau Commission—at the prompting of the Trudeau government, CSIS, the RCMP and other police-security agencies—recommended a vast expansion of police state powers, including surveillance and the restriction of political protests around “critical infrastructure,” a term which also features in the RCMP report.

In response to the protests against the Gaza genocide, hysterical demands for police repression have been splashed for months now across the front pages of Canada’s major dailies, along with vicious smears labelling those denouncing the Zionist state and Canadian imperialist complicity in the mass slaughter as antisemites. On Saturday March 30, Toronto Police delivered, violently attacking a march for Palestinian Land Day with horses and hospitalizing several demonstrators.

The secret and not so secret plans for a massive state crackdown on democratic rights only reinforce the urgent need to build a mass anti-capitalist and anti-war movement in the Canadian and international working class.