Provincial Solidarities

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The Fight against Wage Controls, 1975-1976

Day of Protest, 14 October 1976, Saint John

DAY OF PROTEST, 14 OCTOBER 1976, SAINT JOHN: King Street is filled as the demonstration moves down the hill from King's Square to City Hall.

The announcement of wage controls by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in October 1975 was the beginning of a long year of confrontation between organized labour and the federal government. This culminated in a Day of Protest on 14 October 1976 that is sometimes described as Canada's first country-wide general strike. In New Brunswick, there were public demonstrations in Moncton, Fredericton, Newcastle, Campbellton, Dalhousie and Edmundston. The largest and most effective protest was in Saint John. Veteran Saint John labour activist George Vair gives a detailed account of this key labour campaign of the 1970s in a new book, The Struggle against Wage Controls: The Saint John Story, 1975-1976 (St. John's, Newfoundland: Canadian Committee on Labour History, 2006).


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