Who doesn’t like a good spy movie or novel? Whether you are a James Bond fan – Daniel Craig or Sean Connery? – or love the books by John Le Carre (The spy who came in from the cold – hey is that about a Canadian in January?), there is a lot to like about this genre.
Except that they are fiction. Sure, there is some link to reality – Le Carre was, after all, with MI5, the British version of CSIS – but they most definitely stretch the truth of what it is like to work in national security.
A kid from London (Ontario) who made good in Ottawa
This is where I come in. I stumbled into a long career in intelligence in Canada purely haphazardly way back in the early 1980s. Faced with poor job prospects during that decade’s recession I lucked into an interview with the ‘Department of National Defence’ which was not what it seemed. In fact, those who asked me questions in November 1982 were from CSE: Communications Security Establishment, our country’s SIGINT (signals intelligence) agency.
Wait, you want me to do what?
It was not until I showed up at the office in July of the following year that I was privy to what CSE’s mandate was. And what a surprise it was! Suffice to say I had an amazing career at both CSE and, later, CSIS playing my small part in collecting, processing and writing about intelligence that helped senior officials make better decisions when it came to national security.
Which brings me to The Peaceable Kingdom
We in Canada have a very inadequate understanding of national security. We don’t tend to really care about it and when we do we are fed drivel by self-styled national security ‘experts’ who never worked at the intelligence coalface. This book is an effort to tell the story of the women and men who dedicated their professional lives to keeping us safe, in this instance from terrorism. Their actions have prevented loss of life and this needs to be recognized.
One very lucky Canadian
I am very grateful for the opportunities I was given and the trust placed in my abilities over 32 years in national security. If my latest book can help more Canadians appreciate the job done by my colleagues, I will consider it mission accomplished.
Oh, and by the way, I prefer scotch – single malt please, none of that blended stuff – over Bond’s martini cocktails!
This article was contributed by Double Dagger author Phil Gurski.
One thought on “The name’s Gurski, Phil Gurski”
Phil, you forgot to mention my favorite (bad/boring) made-for-TV 90’s spy films; Bullet to Beijing and Midnight in Saint Petersburg (not based on any books). I never seen the other Harry Palmer movies from the 60’s staring Michael Caine, nor have I read the books. Oh BTW, I prefer straight – just a shame we (the west) still import junk from China, but only Oil from Russia. Also you do know Paul Champ is trolling you, right? You both seem to be playing a game of who gets the “last word” (so far you).