CBC Digital Archives

Pierre Sévigny lashes out

If Lucien Cardin had kept his mouth shut on March 4, 1966, the sensational political sex scandal may have never surfaced. But, fuelled by taunts, the Liberal minister implied that a German playgirl and alleged KGB spy had relationships with top ministers in Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's government. In the frenzied atmosphere of the Cold War, Cardin's allegations sent the country into a tizzy, sparking the first political sex scandal in Canadian history.

Former defence minister Pierre Sévigny initially denies the affair but when his name becomes intricately linked with Gerda Munsinger, he decides to go on the attack. Accompanied by his wife and daughter, he holds a press conference. Sévigny calls Liberal Justice Minister Lucien Cardin, the man who brought on the frenzied public scrutiny, a "cheap despicable little man."
• Pierre Sévigny described Munsinger as "a very pretty girl, very amusing and full of fun."
• When Prime Minister John Diefenbaker learned about the affair in 1961, he personally berated Sévigny and told him of Munsinger's possible link to the KGB. Sévigny then cut off all contact with Munsinger. Sévigny eventually retired from politics in 1963.
• Sévigny died in Montreal in March 2004. He was 87. Pierre Sevigny
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: March 12, 1966
Duration: 3:26
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: March 12, 1966
Duration: 3:26

Last updated: April 16, 2013

Page consulted on February 26, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

'What about Munsignor?'

With those three little words, Canada's first political sex scandal explodes.

Report says Sévigny's sexual relationship wit...

Justice Spence releases his report (no audio).

Munsinger responds to the Spence Report

Munsinger rejects the findings in the report, saying she was never a security risk.

Sévigny attacks TV crew

When asked to respond to the report, Sévigny attacks television crew with his cane.

Judicial inquiry ordered into the Munsinger a...

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson names Supreme Court Justice Spence to head the inquiry.