Category Archives: Canadian history

The Workers’ Revolt in Western Coal Country

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Tom Langford On 24 May 1919, some 7,000 unionized coal miners in Alberta and southeastern British Columbia (BC) went on strike even though their union, District 18 of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), had recently agreed to a short-term contract extension and had not even begun bargaining for a new contract. This mass strike has perplexed labour historians… Read more »

The Workers’ Revolt in Brandon

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Tom Mitchell The the sympathetic strike in Brandon, Manitoba was the longest and most cohesive of the sympathy strikes that erupted across Canada in support of the Winnipeg General Strike. It began 20 May 1919 and persisted until the end of June. It was preceded in late April by a dramatic and successful civic employees’ strike following the creation of… Read more »

The Workers’ Revolt in Amherst

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Nolan Reilly Workers in Amherst, Nova Scotia milled around the gates to the sprawling yards of Canadian Car and Foundry railcar building shops. They were hearing union leaders report on the company’s refusal to give Amherst workers the same contract they had signed with workers in Montreal. There would be no union recognition, no nine-hour day with ten hours pay,… Read more »

The Workers’ Revolt in Winnipeg

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The Graphic History Collective and David Lester In 1919, 35,000 workers in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Treaty 1 territory and the homeland of the Métis Nation, staged a six-week general strike between 15 May and 26 June. Workers from various backgrounds withdrew their labour power—they went on strike—to demand higher wages, collective bargaining rights, and more power for working people. One hundred… Read more »

The 1919 Workers’ Revolt was National in Character

Gregory S. Kealey In 1984, on the 75th anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike, Labour/Le Travail (L/LT) published the proceedings of a symposium held the previous year. The cover image we chose for that issue was “1919 MAJUS” by Biro Mihaly (1886–1948), the Hungarian revolutionary artist who was commemorating the new Hungarian Soviet led by Bela Kun. The image reflected… Read more »

Theme Week on the 1919 Strike Wave

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ActiveHistory.ca is launching a special Theme Week (17–21 June) that examines the 1919 strike wave in what is today known as Canada. The series is edited by Sean Carleton and Julia Smith. At a time of growing unrest, with calls for climate strikes and recent threats of general strikes in the United States and in Ontario, revisiting the 1919 strike… Read more »

Canada’s non-conversation about genocide

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By David Webster “Words have meaning,” CBC commentator Michael Enright declared in an editorial broadcast over the national radio network. He objected to the way one word, “genocide,” was used by the national commission of inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. In this, Enright is far from alone – top media figures and publications fell over one another to… Read more »

Remembering the Bombardment: Juno Beach 75 Years Later

The scope of French civilian casualties on the invasion beaches, as a result of the air and sea bombardment, is not something most interested in the D-Day invasion have considered. As we commemorate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the attack, we should pause to consider the ineffectiveness of the preliminary bombardment, the price paid by the infantry in capturing positions that the air force should have neutralized, and the approximately 100 French men and women killed by these misplaced bombs.

Historians and Indigenous Genocide in Saskatchewan

By Robert Alexander Innes [This essay was first published last June on Shekon Neechie. It asks questions about the approach of Canadian historians to genocide that are again relevant after the response of much of the media to the MMIWG- Final Report.] As a result of the Calls to Action released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) the notion… Read more »

Thinking about Genocide and Mass Murder: How Could it Have Happened in Nice Canada?

By Alvin Finkel The decision of the Commission on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women to use the word “genocide” to describe past Canadian state policies regarding Indigenous women has occasioned heated debate about whether that word is appropriate for anything short of a conscious state plan to rapidly physically eliminate all members of a defined group or to thoroughly destroy… Read more »