I’m not sure that City officials are out to deny history or they merely have delayed recognition of one of Winnipeg’s most important historical events, the General Strike of 1919.
There is only one official marker of the Strike put up by the City – a bronze plaque at the corner of William and Main. Don’t be embarrassed if you have never seen it, as it is very innocuously placed where only those waiting for a bus might notice it.
Another plaque was to the right of the entrance to the City Hall chambers. It was taken down, apparently ‘for cleaning’ over two years ago and has not been replaced.
The Provincial government has at least recognized the Strike. There is a very informative display at the Museum of History. However, another plaque that was in the main hall of the Legislative building has been removed.
Bruce Owen of the Free Press recently noted at a public event, that for decades after the Strike there was virtually no mention of the Strike in city newspapers. This is understandable as the owners of the media, business and industry were the ones who suppressed the Strike.
Fortunately that are people in the City who are keeping the history of the Strike very alive. Thanks to Danny Schur and STRIKE the Musical, or the Brown family and Victoria Parkette (see story below). The Winnipeg Labour Council President has spoken often about the Strike and the Labour History Project has kept this blog active.
Could it be that there is still a fear in City officials and the ruling elite of Winnipeg, that another general strike could erupt if there is recognition of what happened before. Possibly they are just waiting for the 100th anniversary of the Strike to recognize its contribution to our social history and to then take credit for the Strike!