Our Healthiest Industry? Organized Crime Is Flourishing in Canada, Just as It Always Has

By Schneider, Stephen | Literary Review of Canada, January-February 2010 | Go to article overview

Our Healthiest Industry? Organized Crime Is Flourishing in Canada, Just as It Always Has


Schneider, Stephen, Literary Review of Canada


January-February 2010

"Smuggling on the Canadian border."

Related Articles

* Safer, Meaner Streets

Why does life seem more dangerous even as crime rates fall?

* Thought Crimes

Exploring Canada's silencing of dissent during World War One.

* Black Market Culture

After drugs, money laundering and weapons come ... paintings

* Lessons Unlearned

Despite disasters in U.S. crime policy, Canada cracks down "Counterfeiting gang caught."

"No escape from bloody mafia."

"Big drug seizure."

"Police hold six men for questioning in gang slaying."

"Canada in the bookies' web."

We have become more than accustomed to the urgent and incessant headlines about organized crime. In the last year, for instance, we have learned that Afghanistan is the world's largest producer of opium, hundreds of Mexicans are murdered every month as a result of the cannibalistic drug trade, millions of dollars of impeccable counterfeit goods produced in Asia are sold worldwide, thousands of women are lured into the sex trade by eastern European mobsters, identity theft is the fastest emerging organized crime in the United States, internet hacking is eclipsing armed robberies as the modus operandi for criminal bank robbers and the Neapolitan Camorra has become a greater threat to Italy than the Sicilian Mafia. Moreover, we have learned recently that Canada is a consumer, producer and international conduit of illegal drugs, a branch plant for some of the largest criminal groups in the world, a washing machine for dirty money, a destination and transit point for human cargo being smuggled into North America, an eminent source of counterfeit currency, credit cards and consumer goods, and the headquarters of numerous telemarketing fraudsters who prey on innocent victims.

But what if I told you that the headlines reproduced above were actually gleaned from Canadian newspapers published in 1865, 1900, 1905, 1920, 1934 and 1938, respectively?

On the surface, those headlines seem to belie one of the most enduring and endearing of all Canadian myths: that the historical development of this country was relatively free of crime and lawlessness, especially when compared to our American cousins.

A closer look at the history of Canada reveals something startling different: more than 400 years of organized crime, beginning with pirates who plundered ships and towns off Newfoundland's coast in the 17th and 18th centuries, and smugglers, bank robbers and horse thieves in the Canadian west in the 19th century, opium traffickers, Black Hand extortionists and "white slave" traders during the early 20th century. It covers Canadian bootleggers who provided more than half of the illegal booze consumed by a dry America during Prohibition, Quebec- and Ontario-based bookmakers who laid off bets as part of continent-wide bookmaking operations beginning in the 1930s, right up to the Italian mafia, outlaw motorcycle gangs, Chinese triads, Russian mafia and Colombian cocaine "cowboys" of the last 50 years.

It was once famously said that societies get the crime they deserve. If that is the case, what does Canada's rich historical tapestry of organized crime say about the country and its people? What are the factors that have given rise to this bountiful cornucopia of criminal groups? And how does Canada combat a problem that has become increasingly widespread, sophisticated and culturally ingrained?

A bit of history first.

It can be said that the first criminal organizations in what is now Canada were pirates who operated off the Atlantic coast, using Newfoundland as a base during the 17th and 18th centuries. Pirates first targeted fishing vessels operating off the Grand Banks and in subsequent years sailed to the British colony to repair, pick up supplies and conscript seamen. Soon Newfoundland's main draw for pirates was as a staging area for excursions into the more profitable waters of the Caribbean and South America. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Our Healthiest Industry? Organized Crime Is Flourishing in Canada, Just as It Always Has
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.