Day: July 25, 2016

The militia and the coal miners’ strike
Home Front

The militia and the coal miners’ strike

In 1913, the militia was called out during a coal miners’ strike on Vancouver Island. Called the Great Strike of 1912-14, it was to be and remains the longest deployment of the militia in aid of the civil power in Canadian history. The immediate cause of this strike in Nanaimo, 110 kilometres north of Victoria, was mine safety, union recognition and the firing of a union organizer. However, attempts to resolve the issues failed. After a raucous meeting at Cumberland Hall on Sept. 15, 1912, the miners voted to strike. Canadian Collieries, the owner of the Dunsmuir mine, responded by evicting the strikers’ families from company housing, hiring “scab” labour and refusing to negotiate. The unrest spread to other mines with similar results. Over several months the confrontations grew stronger...

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