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The People's History of Cape Breton

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Dec 29, 2007, 1:38:22 PM12/29/07
Here are a few excerpts from several chapters of "The People's History
of Cape Breton". These excerpts are aimed to seduce you into taking
an interest in this unforgettable and remarkable slice of Canadian

Afraid that their 625 "special police" wouldn't be enough, Domco wired
to Halifax for 500 regular combat troops. Explosive confrontations
developed at the mine gates, where "loyal" PWA men coming off work
were jeered at by angry crowds of striking workers and their families.

As in 1909 the mineowners resorted to armed force to back up their
position. Barbed wire, machine gun nests and searchlights went up
around the pits. More than 1,000 soldiers and 1,000 "special police"
were despatched from Halifax. A squadron of British battleships with
marines entered the Glace Bay harbour.

Meanwhile Besco went carefully about its preparation for a violent
showdown. They convinced the premier of the province to beef up his
provincial police to fight "Bolshevism" at the steel plant.
Here's how J. B. McLachlan, at this time Secretary-Treasurer of the
miners' union, described the incident in a report sent to the union's

"On Sunday night last the provincial police,
in the most brutal manner, rode down the
people of Whitney Pier, who were out on
the street, most of whom were coming from
church. Neither age, sex, nor physical disa-
bility were proof against these brutes. One
old woman over 70 years of age was beaten
into insensibility and may die. A boy of nine
years old was trampled under the horses'
hooves and had his kreast bone crushed in. A
wolan, being beaten over the head with a po-
lice club, gave premature birth to a child.
The child is dead and the woman's life is
despaired of. Men and women were beaten up
inside their own homes."

And here is how a government Royal Commission, later set up to
investigate the "unrest" among the steelworkers, recorded the

"On Sunday evening July 1, between eight and nine
and nine O'clock a riotous condition prevai-
led outside gate No.4 and in the adjacent
streets. The provincial police were called
upon to suppress the riot and to disperse
the unlawful assembly. They did that. After
that there was no more rioting."

On the morning of June 11 a mounted force of police charged up Plummer
Ave. in New Waterford, trampling and riding down townspeople, using
whips, clubs and chains to beat them. As in the infamous charge of
1923, it was a wholesale police riot.

But this time there was an immediate spontaneous outburst to match
this unprovoked violence. Shortly, a crowd of more than 3,000 workers
assembled and headed out of town towards Waterford Lake, four miles
away. Alerted, the company police met them on the road as they
approached the plant.

Charles Manoras

Sep 25, 2010, 4:02:51 PM9/25/10
<> wrote in message

Interesting and depressing, most of us Americans believe that Canadian
history (about which we know next to nothing) was essentially mellow,
sweet and peaceful.

As usual learning a little more about the subject disproves this illusion.

CM cartesys(at)gmail(dot)com

The Horny Goat

Oct 3, 2010, 1:32:13 PM10/3/10
On Sat, 25 Sep 2010 16:02:51 -0400, "Charles Manoras"
<> wrote:

>Interesting and depressing, most of us Americans believe that Canadian
>history (about which we know next to nothing) was essentially mellow,
>sweet and peaceful.
>As usual learning a little more about the subject disproves this illusion.
>CM cartesys(at)gmail(dot)com

Then you would also be interested in knowing the last hanging drawing
and quartering in the British empire was in the town square of my
wife's hometown Burlington, Ontario in the direct aftermath of the war
of 1812. Depending on your source neighboring Ancaster, Ontario
'claims' the last hanging drawing and quartering though the sentence
was given in 1814 but commuted.

I have read that the sentence was given in England in the aftermath of
the Chartists but also commuted.

Or do you want to know about the construction of the Canadian Pacific
Railway where Chinese labourers were given the job of transporting
jugs of liquid nitro-glycerin with all too often the obvious result.
It is claimed that the British Columbia portion of the CPR buried one
Chinese for ever mile of the railway. (this would be something like
700 miles)

Gruesome enough for you to change your opinion of Canadian history?

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