The Western Socialist
Vol. 26 - No. 206
No. 2, 1959
The Newfoundland strike situation has caused a sensation all across Canada and has made the headlines in the Canadian Press with the revelations of the shocking conditions that the Newfoundland loggers have to contend with, reminiscent of the 19th Century conditions in the B. C. logging camps. The ruthless Hitler-like tactics of the Newfoundland Premier and gov't in attempting to outlaw the International Woodworkers of America union for its success in organizing the loggers and going on strike, has shocked the labor movement and a tremendous wave of support for the strikers has been generated over the whole Canadian organized labor movement. The spearhead for this support emanates from Vancouver, since the I.W.A. has its stronghold here, and is one of B. C.'s most powerful unions, and its organizers, dispatched from here, organized the Eastern loggers into the I. W. A. and immediately called a strike for better conditions.
Also the Liberal Newfoundland government's action has embarrassed the Liberal and Conservative politicians in the Federal House and there is some talk of the Federal government cracking down on that provincial government's new anti-labor legislation, which is a violation of civil rights.
The employers in B. C. have been conducting a holy crusade and making a tremendous fanfare for more than a year, aided and abetted by the Press, of course, with phony polls to generate support for anti-labor legislation. This campaign was provoked by the tremendous wave of strikes that has been sweeping over B. C. for the past couple of years and which hasn't subsided entirely yet. A couple of weeks ago the anti-union propaganda reached its crescendo in the present sitting of the B. C. legislature when two of the Social Credit cabinet ministers gave forth with two of the most vicious attacks on Unionism ever heard in the legislature —attempting to smear all unions with the racketeering onus of Hoffa's iniquities. This was the prologue for the legislation introduced a few days ago, and still in process of being passed, wherein Trade Unions will be liable to court action and damages, and sympathy strikes, etc., and some forms of picketing will be outlawed. The sensational breaking of the Newfoundland situation, no doubt tended to act as a boomerang in the public reception of this B. C. legislation, coming as it did before the announcement of the new bill. However, a concerted campaign of propaganda has probably made the "public" favorable to the new act, but it has the labor movement aroused to a tremendous pitch.
Moreover unemployment has been the highest here this winter than for many years. B.C. jobless are a higher percentage than elsewhere in Canada 'tis said. The Unions have lead lobbies and delegations to the Provincial seat of government, held parades etc. in a manner reminiscent of the 30's. Also for the past week or so an organized attempt to secure 10,000 names for a petition to the government re the unemployed situation is in evidence on city streets, with scores of sandwich boarded people securing signatures. The Commies, of course, as usual, have gone outside the Union movement to organize their own unemployed organization and have plastered every lamppost in town with a notice of an unemployed meeting.