TORONTO (Jun. 15)
A Royal Commission set up to investigate disturbances here during the visit of Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin last Oct., praised the Canadian Jewish Congress for the orderly manner in which it conducted a demonstration and vigil for Soviet Jews and for keeping the police informed of its plans in advance of the event.
The Commission’s report, released this week, contrasted the Congress’ peaceful demonstration with the disorders that broke out between mounted police and Ukrainian and other demonstrators outside the Ontario Science Center where Kosygin was speaking. The report referred to an “unsuccessful” attempt by the Jewish Defense League to divert the CJC’s demonstrators in the direction of the Science Center where they would have swollen the ranks of the Ukrainian marchers. But “being so rejected they left the group to their vigil,” the report said. The CJC vigil was maintained at a distance from the Center.
The one-man commission, consisting of Judge I.A. Vannini, was set up to investigate complaints from the Ukrainian Canadian Committee stemming from the clash between demonstrators and police. The inquiry lasted several months and heard more than 150 witnesses. It apportioned blame for the disturbances between the police and the demonstrators. In addition to the Ukrainians, the latter included members of the right-wing Edmund Burke Society and a small JDL group.
The report noted that representatives of the CJC communicated with the police two weeks before the event, kept them informed of their plans and maintained liaison throughout. “Had the Metropolitan Toronto Police maintained the same liaison with and extended the same cooperation to the leaders of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee as it did with the leaders of the Canadian Jewish Congress and had the leaders of the Canadian Ukrainian Committee been as knowledgeable and as organized and as prepared as the leaders of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the confrontation might not have occurred,” the report said. It concluded that “With their experience in such situations, the preparations made and the equipment used and because they were firmly resolved to do so, the Canadian Jewish Congress conducted their demonstrations in an orderly, peaceful manner and without incident.”