Sam Walsh (August 31, 1916 – March 18, 2008), born Saul Jerome Wolofsky, was leader of the Communist Party of Quebec for 28 years, from 1962 to 1990, and was a leader in the Communist Party of Canada and Labour-Progressive Party since the 1940s.
Walsh ran for public office at least 30 times in his career and managed to get elected once, as a school trustee in Toronto.
At the age of 17, he took part in a student strike against an increase in high school tuition fees. He became a Communist with the encouragement of his older brother, Moishe, a union organizer. His father asked them to change their names in order not to embarrass the family and so Moishe became Bill Walsh and Saul became Sam Walsh.
When the Communist Party was banned in 1940, Walsh went underground and evaded arrest under the wartime Defence of Canada Regulations. Once the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, the USSR became Canada's ally and Communists were able to organize the new Labour-Progressive Party as a legal front.
Walsh enlisted in the Canadian Army during World War II becoming a second lieutenant instructing soldiers how to operate military vehicles. He was denied further promotion because of his political affiliations. According to his niece "His commanding officer told him, 'Sam, I'd like to promote you, but I understand you're pink.'" Walsh replied “I'm not pink, I'm flaming red.”
In 1948, Walsh was elected to the Toronto Board of Education by acclamation and was re-elected in 1949 before being defeated in 1950.
He returned to Montreal in the 1960s becoming leader of the Quebec wing of the Communist Party in 1962. In 1972 he denounced Trotskyist support for Quebec independence resulting in a number of defections from the party.
- "He never gave up: A communist for life despite reverses; 'You never know when political circumstances will be ripe for change,' he argued" by Alan Hustak, The (Montreal) Gazette, April 20, 2008
- "SAM WALSH, 91: POLITICIAN; For 28 years, he valiantly ran for the Communists" by M.J. Stone, Globe and Mail, May 23, 2008