Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Canadian Scholars’ Press
452 pages
6.5 x 9.5 inches
March 2006
Print ISBN: 9781551302980
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Canadian Working-Class History: Selected Readings, Third Edition, is an updated version of the bestselling reader that brings together recent and classic scholarship on the history, politics, and social groups of the working class in Canada. Some of the changes readers will find in the new edition include better representation of women scholars and nine provocative and ground-breaking new articles on racism and human rights; women's equality; gender history; Quebec sovereignty; and the environment.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Third Edition

Part I: The Pre-Industrial and Early Industrial Eras (1830–1890)

Chapter 1: Farm Households and Wage Labour in the Northeastern Maritimes in the Early Nineteenth Century, Rusty Bittermann

Chapter 2: Class Conflict on the Canals of Upper Canada in the 1840s, Ruth Bleasdale

Chapter 3: “The Honest Workingman” and Workers’ Control: The Experience of Toronto Skilled Workers, 1860–92, Gregory S. Kealey

Chapter 4: The Knights of Labor and the Salvation Army: Religion and Working-Class Culture in Ontario, 1882–90, Lynne Marks

Chapter 5: Joe Beef of Montreal: Working-Class Culture and the Tavern, 1869–89, Peter DeLottinville

Chapter 6: After the Fur Trade: The Aboriginal Labouring Class of British Columbia, 1849–90, John Lutz

Part II: The Industrial Age (1890–1939)

Chapter 7: The Craftsmen’s Spectacle: Labour Day Parades in Canada, The Early Years, Craig Heron and Steve Penfold

Chapter 8: Class, Job, and Gender in the Canadian Office, Graham S. Lowe

Chapter 9: Exclusion or Solidarity? Vancouver Workers Confront the “Oriental Problem” , Gillian Creese

Chapter 10: The Radical Alien and the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919, Donald Avery

Chapter 11: Solving the Labour Problem at Imperial Oil: Welfare Capitalism in the Canadian Petroleum Industry, 1919–29, H.M. Grant

Chapter 12: Against All Odds: The Progressive Arts Club’s Production of Waiting for Lefty, Bonita Bray

Part III: Wartime and Post-War Prosperity (1939–74)

Chapter 13: The Formation of the Canadian Industrial Relations System during World War Two, Laurel Sefton MacDowell

Chapter 14: Women and Income Security in the Post-War Period: The Case of Unemployment Insurance, 1945–62, Ann Porter

Chapter 15: The Red Petticoat Brigade: Mine Mill Women’s Auxiliaries and the “Threat from Within,” 1940s–70s, Mercedes Steedman

Chapter 16: “The Dresden Story”: Racism, Human Rights, and the Jewish Labour Committee of Canada, Ross Lambertson

Chapter 17: Defending Honour, Demanding Respect: Manly Discourse and Gendered Practice in Two Construction Strikes, Toronto, 1960–61, Franca Iacovetta

Part IV: From Stagflation to Globalization (1974–2000)

Chapter 18: The Confédération des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN), the Idea of Independence, and the Sovereigntist Movement, 1960–80, Ralph Peter Güntzel

Chapter 19: Alberta Nurses and the “Illegal” Strike of 1988, Rebecca Coulter

Chapter 20: Greening the Workplace: Unions and the Environment, Laurel Sefton MacDowell

Chapter 21: Life in a Fast Food Factory, Ester Reiter

Chapter 22: Globalization, Nationalism, and Internationalism, Sam Gindon

Laurel Sefton MacDowell

Laurel Sefton MacDowell teaches Canadian history in the Department of History, University of Toronto. She is a co-editor of Canadian Working Class History: Selected Readings, 2nd edition and Patterns of the Past: Re-interpreting Ontario's History, a past editor of the journal Ontario History, and the author of numerous articles.

Remember Kirkland Lake, 2nd Edition, Canadian Working-Class History, Third Edition

Ian Radforth

Ian Radforth teaches in the history department at the University of Toronto.


This is a very strong anthology, and, to my knowledge, there is nothing comparable for teaching Canadian labour and working-class history. The book covers a lot of important issues, especially issues of gender as well as ethnicity and 'race.' This collection is also particularly useful because it covers a broad time frame.

The book's chief strengths are its size and scope. Also admirable are its efforts to balance Canada's [key issues] of class, gender, regionalism, and ethnicity.

There is a definite need for a book of this kind. The book brings a wide range of readings together in a single source. This collection is a thorough and balanced sampling of the best writing in Canadian labour history.

"There is a definite need for a book of this kind. The book brings a wide range of readings together in a single source. This collection is a thorough and balanced sampling of the best writing in Canadian labour history."
—  Jeffery Taylor, Athabasca University

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