Winnipeg General Strike Significance Essay

Winnipeg General Strike Significance Essay

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The conflict over living conditions in Canada has been ongoing. Perhaps Canada’s most forceful movement towards change was the Winnipeg General Strike, during the summer of 1919. The strike was caused by the working class’ desire to rise out of poverty. The government hastily tried to suppress the strike by deporting the strike leaders, using gunfire to disperse crowds, and eventually ‘punishing’ the people by dismissing them from their jobs. The Winnipeg General Strike was ultimately detrimental to the wellbeing of working class Winnipeggers due to the government’s infringement of democratic ideals.
On June 6, 1919, after over a month of striking in Winnipeg, the federal government amended the Immigration Act “[allowing] officials to deport any alien or Canadian citizen not born in Canada for advocating the overthrow of the government by force.”1 Canada, as a democratic country, was/is based upon the idea of allowing the people to influence the decisions that impact their own lives2. However, the government’s eventual decision to deport strikers and strike leaders displayed a lack of adherence and respect for the democratic system. The government contradicted itself as a democracy by ignoring the people instead of intervening to reach a peaceful and fair solution. The government overturned the political freedom3 it was meant to promote and foster by threatening to deport anyone who opposed the status quo. Looking at the amendment carefully will reveal that the changes to the Immigration Act only allowed the deportation of ‘aliens’ and immigrant citizens, but not ‘true Canadians’. This particular change in the Immigration Act displayed bias towards foreigners. Although not on the government’s mind, this was extremely...

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...sary of the Winnipeg General Strike." In Defence of Marxism. 28 May 2009. Web. 21 May 2011.

23 Grant, Alex. "Canada: 90th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike." In Defence of Marxism. 28 May 2009. Web. 21 May 2011.

24 Grant, Alex. "Canada: 90th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike." In Defence of Marxism. 28 May 2009. Web. 21 May 2011.

25 Grant, Alex. "Canada: 90th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike." In Defence of Marxism. 28 May 2009. Web. 21 May 2011.

26 "Winnipeg General Strike." The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica-Dominion. Web. 11 May 2011.

27 Powell, John. "Winnipeg General Strike." Encyclopedia of North American Immigration. Facts On File, 2005. American History Online. Web. 7 May 2011.

28 Grant, Alex. "Canada: 90th Anniversary of the Winnipeg General Strike." In Defence of Marxism. 28 May 2009. Web. 21 May 2011.

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