An incredible story will be aired on CBC Radio One over the next few days. It’s of the roughly 1600 Canadian men and women who left for Spain, in the mid 1930’s, to fight against the Fascist government of Spain - which came to power in a coup against a democratically elected government.
Part of what makes this story so incredible is that the Canadian government of the day had made it illegal for any Canadian to join the war on either side. Despite this, the Communist Party of Canada and various Canadian trade unions facilitated the movement of 1600 Canadian fighters to join the tens of thousands of international volunteers to fight in a civil-war that helped shape the entirety of the 20th and early 21st centuries.
Interestingly, CBC Radio interviewed almost 65 Canadian survivors of the Spanish Civil War in the 1960’s, however the tapes were mothballed and never aired.
It is worth noting that the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba passed a resolution in 2008 to honour those who went to fight in Spain from that province. This is a project that must be extended to other provinces, and at the federal level.