Monday, 31 October 2011

WHM Celebrates Person's Day and Women's History Month

You could have heard a pin drop during the Winnipeg General Strike storytelling evening
by Ottawa storytellers Donna Stewart and Sherri Yasbani, at Carleton University’s Minto
Centre, October 18th. The audience of more than thirty people was captivated by the
realities of life in the early 1900s leading up to the 1919 strike.

Ruth Stewart-Verger, also a storyteller was there assisting as she was unable to talk due
to illness. Donna and Sherri told the story of Elizabeth Coulter and Helen Armstrong, two
women with very differing views whose families were involved in the Winnipeg Strike.
Our thanks to Sherri for stepping in at the last minute and doing an incredible job telling
Helen’s story.

What made this especially interesting is that Elizabeth was Donna’s grandmother, so it is
a personal recollection of events at the time.

The event to celebrate Person’s Day and Women’s History Month was co-sponsored
by Carleton University’s Centre for Public History and Department of History and the
Workers’ History Museum, and supported with a donation from the Public Service
Alliance of Canada’s Ottawa Regional Women’s Committee

We had a panel discussion afterwards with Donna Stewart, Barb Byers the Executive
Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress and Robyn Benson the PSAC’s
Regional Executive Vice-President for the Prairies. They spoke about the gains from the
strike to today and the struggles that everyone, not just women, face to keep these gains,
given the current government’s attitude towards human and social rights.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Announcing Our Third Panelist!

The WHM is pleased to announce our third panelist for the October 18th Storytelling event. Robyn Benson is the Regional Executive Vice President for the PSAC Prairie region. We are excited to have Robyn join us.

For more information about Robyn please click here. For more information about the other panelists and the story telling event, please click here.

We are looking forward to seeing you all on the 18th!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Women and the Winnipeg General Strike

From May 15 to June 28, 1919, the City of Winnipeg was engulfed in Canada's most famous strike. The Winnipeg General Strike emerged from a cauldron of social unrest including such ingredients as the deteriorating economic situation for workers, the return of unemployed WWI veterans, and the growing size of the labour movement. This led to an upsurge of support for the One Big Union, and the leadership they could provide. The influence of the still developing Russian revolution on the people of Winnipeg coupled with the growing "anti-alien" (and anti-Bolshevik) fury generated by business interests and governments created tension amongst opposing factions in the city. The people had had enough and were ready to strike.

On October 18th, the WHM will be hosting an interactive story telling event on the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 that promises to open the door to a much-neglected aspect of Canada's most famous trade union uprising.

Much has been written on the role of men in the fight for collective bargaining rights, against terrible working conditions and against the vicious attacks of the police, army and the "Citizens Committee of One Thousand". But very little has been written or otherwise published on the critical role played by women during this historic Canadian labour struggle.

The stories of Elizabeth Coulter and Helen Armstrong, and the panel discussion that follows, are steps towards righting this imbalance with their focus on Women in the Winnipeg General Strike.

Please join us on October 18th for the Storytelling event. Admission is $10.00 and all proceeds will go to the Workers' History Museum. The event will be held from 7:30 - 10:00 pm in room 5050 of the Minto Centre, located at Carleton University. For a map of the Campus, click Here.

This event has been co-sponsored by The Workers' History Museum and the Carleton Centre for Public History

Monday, 3 October 2011

Work: Missing in Action

The Ottawa Arts and Heritage Plan focuses on developing the cultural identity of Ottawa. It envisions Ottawa as a thriving centre for local cultural activity and develops a 20-year plan for realizing that vision.

In April 2011 the Worker's History Museum was one of many groups which submitted proposals to the City of Ottawa as part of the 20/20 renewal process. After consultation with various groups, city staff developed draft plan revisions. These are currently being discussed at open houses where the public is invited to comment on the proposed revisions

Unfortunately, there is nothing in the renewal proposal that deals with work or workers. In our opinion, work and workers are an essential part of Ottawa's art, culture, history and heritage. Whatever the reason it was omitted, work is such an important part of everyone's life, and it should not be ignored. Workplaces, working class culture, and the culture of those who work and their families should be included in the Ottawa Arts and Heritage Plan.

If you agree with the idea that Work is important, and should be included in the plan, please attend the last Open House and express your opinion on Wednesday, October 5th at the Richcraft Theatre, Shenkman Arts Centre, from 6:30 to 9pm