There were two very visible events that fed the view that The Strike was a revolt, not merely a protest. One was an important meeting at the Walker Theatre on December 22, 1918, organized by the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council and the Socialist Party of Canada. It was “dedicated to the purpose of finding no good at all in the government.” The meeting was planned because the workers realized that the Trades and Labour Congress officers were “impotent in the matter of securing from the Government redress of the grievances complained of, and were determined that the voice of protest should be heard." (Defense Committee 1920:4)
The 1,600 workers at the meeting were protesting the use of Orders-in-Council (Dominion Cabinet orders) to deal with issues they believed parliament should have responsibility for. They believed Orders-in-Council were undemocratic in suppressing union action, limiting freedom of the press and curtailing political party activity. The meeting was also a protest against the continued imprisonment of political prisoners and sending military forces to fight the revolutionary government of Russia. The meeting endorsed a resolution (copied from a similar Toronto meeting), "that conditions in this country do not, and never have warranted such an unjustifiable interference with the liberties of the people. We view with apprehension the introduction of autocratic methods and the increasing tendency of a few men to usurp the prerogatives of the people which are alone vested in their elected representatives.” (Defense Committee 1920:7)
The report on the meeting in the Western Labor News of December 27 noted that John Queen, “then called for three cheers for the Russian Revolution. The meeting ended with deafening cries of ‘Long live the Russian Soviet Republic! Long live Karl Liebknecht [a German Socialist who was murdered by nationalist troops the following January]! Long live the working class!’ The meeting ordered that, if possible, the message of congratulations be cabled to the Bolsheviki.” A follow up meeting at the Majestic Theatre, only organized by the SPC, reiterated the critique of government made at the Walker, but laid on more of the socialist critique of government. Despite these meetings, there was never a formal alliance between the unions in The Strike and any political party.
Introduction to Victoria Park