Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Preston Manning, Lubor Zink and Trudeaumania

A CULTURE OF DEFIANCE: History of the Reform-Conservative Party of Canada

Lubor Jan Zink was quite an interesting character. Even if you didn't agree with him, you had to respect where he was coming from.

Born in 1920 in Klapy, Czechoslovakia, the son of Vilem Zink and Bozena Wohl, he was studying at the University of Prague School of Economics when the Nazi coup in Czechoslovakia took place. An outspoken critic of Hitler he took part in student anti-Nazi activities, but when the Nazis massacred the staff of the Prague student newspaper, he fled to Hungary.

French diplomats arranged for his escape through Yugoslavia, Greece,and Turkey to France, where he joined the Czechoslovak Armoured Brigade, serving in England after the fall of France. His BBC broadcasts in Czech to his occupied homeland resulted in his parents and sisters' incarceration in a concentration camp. In 1941, he helped organize International Students Day, celebrated annually during the war in Allied and neutral countries on the anniversary of the student massacre in Prague. The Czech brigade fought with the British Army in 1944 and 1945 in the Allied invasion of France and Germany.

Zink rose to the rank of First Lieutenant and was awarded the Military Cross, Medal for Bravery, and Medal of Merit, and the Medal for Fidelity from the Czech Government. With the end of the war in 1945, Zink returned to Czechoslovakia to work for the Czech Foreign Service under Foreign Minister Jan Masaryk. His work for Masaryk and opposition to the communists marked him as a Soviet enemy.

With the assassination of Masaryk and communist coup in 1948, Zink fled through the mountains on foot to Germany and then England. He became a British citizen in 1949. In exile, he broadcast for the BBCàs Radio Free Europe service from 1948 to 1951 and then worked for NATO as a political and economic analyst from 1951 until his division was cut back in 1957. (1)

Zink emigrated to Canada in 1958 with his wife Zora Nechvile, and son Alec Guy. He worked as a freelance journalist, winning numerous awards eventually working for the Brandon Sun and Toronto Telegram, where he became the Ottawa correspondent in 1962, reporting from Parliament Hill.

In 1971 he joined Peter Worthington's Toronto Sun, where he became a relentless critic of Pierre Trudeau. In fact it was he who coined the term Trudeamania when he was still with the Telegram. Zink also ran unsuccessfully as a Progressive Conservative candidate for the House of Commons in 1972 and 1974 in Toronto's Parkdale riding.
Zink’s zealous criticism of anything with the slightest Commie tinge bordered on grotesque caricature, even when his accounts of horrible conditions behind the Iron Curtain were dead on. He displayed an obsessive hatred of Pierre Trudeau, whom he was convinced was destroying the country in a dictatorial manner. Though he would claim otherwise, it seemed clear that his hate-on for Trudeau was the guiding force behind his campaign, even if he told the Sun “he doesn’t bother me as a person—but he does as Prime Minister.

I am accusing Trudeau of not only slowing down the economy and raising unemployment artificially, but of killing jobs by undermining the working morale—by destroying the work ethic that built this country.” He blamed the destruction of work ethic on government programs that allowed young people to “do their own thing” instead of good old-fashioned work. (2)
Lubor Zink would also be a regular speaker at the Northern Foundation conferences (3) and contributor to the far-right International Conservative Insight along with other Reform Party and Northern Foundation* colleagues like Ted Byfield, Peter Brimelow and Doug Collins. (4)


*Stephen Harper was a founding member of the Northern Foundation


1. Lubor J. Zink fonds, Archives of Canada, Call No: 267591

2. Sun on the Run, The Torontoist, September, 2009

3. Of Passionate Intensity: Right-Wing Populism and the Reform Party of Canada, By Trevor Harrison, University of Toronto Press, 1995, ISBN: 0-8020-7204-6 3, Pg. 116 6. Harrison, 1995, Pg. 121

4. Preston Manning and the Reform Party, By Murray Dobbin Goodread Biographies/Formac Publishing 1992 ISBN: 0-88780-161-7, pg. 103

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