University Archives & Special Collections, U of S Archives, A-8615.F.C. Cronkite, University of Saskatchewan Dean of Law, reading at his desk [ca. 1961]. (Patrick Hayes)

Frederick Clinton Cronkite

When the Government of Canada passed an amendment to the Criminal Code in 1949 that made it an offence to “make, print, publish, distribute, sell or have possession for any purpose any crime comic,” The Canadian Press asked Dean of Law Frederick Cronkite for his opinion regarding the legislation.

He said in part:

“There is no philosophical justifica­tion for such a law unless the obscenity threatens the existence of the state. In the case of a rich, growing and vital country like Canada, such a suggestion is ridiculous. It is fantastic that in a democracy there should be any limitation placed on what people read or on their tastes unless there is a clear and present danger to the state. This law concedes that members of Parliament have a monopoly on taste, which is an opinion I do not hold.”

The remarks created a flurry of calls and letters including one addressed to university President Walter Thompson demanding that Cronkite be dismissed.

Cronkite weathered the storm and remained dean until 1961.  

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