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
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.