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1966: Searching for sex scandal's Gerda Munsinger

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.

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The Munsinger affair is big news worldwide. Everyone wants an exclusive with the elusive Gerda Munsinger. Despite offers as high as $35,000 from competing news organizations, Munsinger refuses to give interviews saying she is suffering from "acute, nervous meltdown." CBC reporter David Halton describes the international media frenzy outside her apartment in Munich.
• Charles Lynch, then Southam News Bureau Chief at the time of the scandal, thought the Munsinger affair could have a positive outcome. He thought the scandal may change Canada's "dull and unexciting" image and encourage more tourists to Expo 67.

• CBC Television's This Hour Has Seven Days host Laurier LaPierre described Munsinger as a woman who patronized strip joints, loved baseball and dated rich, powerful men including a well-known Montreal gangster.

Also on March 13:
1928: Eileen Vollick of Hamilton, Ontario becomes the first Canadian woman to get a private pilot's license. She is 19 years old.
1971: Paul Rose is sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Quebec Labour Minister Pierre Laporte. Rose, his brother Jacques, Francis Simard and Bernard Lortie were members of the Front de Liberation du Quebec (FLQ). They kidnapped Laporte on October 10. His body was found on October 17, 1970.
1989: Deborah Grey wins a by-election in the Alberta riding of Beaver River to become the first member of Parliament for the Reform Party. Grey retired from politics in 2004.
Medium: Radio
Broadcast Date: March 13, 1966
Program: CBC Radio News
Reporter: David Halton
Duration: 1:58

Last updated: November 3, 2014

Page consulted on November 3, 2014

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