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Fish to remove backing from group tied to cult

Title: Fish to remove backing from group tied to cult
Date: Monday, 13 October 1980
Publisher: Globe and Mail (Canada)
Author: John Marshall
Main source:

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Toronto ON — Toronto Alderman Susan Fish is going to demand that her name be removed from the list of advisers to Narconon because of its connection with the Church of Scientology.

She encountered the addictions-treatment agency a few years ago when she was doing a study of group homes for the city, and, impressed by the material shown her, she agreed to act as an adviser.

She said that before agreeing to act as an adviser, she had asked Narconon official David Kerr if the agency was connected to any church or creed. She said he told her that it was an independent organization.

Her question had been prompted by a reference to the fact that the techniques of L. Ron Hubbard were used by Narconon and that he, among other things, had an interest in religions. She did not know then that the ex-science fiction writer was the founder and leader of the controversial cult.

She said she was never asked to do any work for the organization or attend any meetings.

This week, Mr. Kerr called her when Narconon director John Bell was told by The Globe and Mail that the alderman was going to withdraw from its advisory board. Mr. Bell would not comment.

Mr. Kerr, who is Narconon board chairman and a staff member at the Toronto Scientology headquarters, according to a spokesman there, called the Globe after his conversation with Miss Fish to say she no longer had any complaints about Narconon.

However, Miss Fish later said she was still going to have her name removed from the list.

When Narconon started in Toronto its connection with Scientology was concealed and then played down when inquiries were made to staff members, all Scientologists. And Church of Scientology officials would say only that they supported it in the same way that anyone else might donate to it.

But documents from the cult's files in Canada and the United States show otherwise. Narconon was on a list of groups the cult had set up as apparently independent corporations, but which were used to further the work of Scientology through public relations, recruiting or propaganda.

There are internal documents referring to management fees paid to Scientology from the separately incorporated Narconon units (Scientologists man these units, such as the one at 157 Spadina Rd. in Toronto). There also are references to administrative structures, saying to whom in the cult's Guardian Office Narconon staffers should report.