Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

Remembering the General Strike

Mar 22, 2019

The new issue of Canada's History, just out, contains a small contribution from myself, a review of Rick James's book about rum-running on the BC coast. But the main feature in the mag is an article by James Naylor assessing the significance of the Winnipeg General Strike.

This year is the centenary of the strike, which took place in the spring of 1919. It came at the end of a highly volatile period in Canadian history, the months following the end of World War One when the future of the country seemed to be up for grabs. Many elements in society saw a chance to fashion a new, more equitable Canada. Their boat-rocking ideas made the elites very nervous. The security services and the media were mobilized to fight back against the progressives. This was the Red Scare, of which the Winnipeg General Strike was pretty much the culmination.

It was a turbulent time in our history. I even wrote a book about it. Do yourself a favour and look for Canada's History at your local newsstand.