ONE MILLION OF US WERE IN ON IT. We made it the biggest labour protest in Canada ever. We did on October 14, 1976.
We called it a general strike. But it was more of a popular protest against the wage controls slapped on us by the federal Liberal government.
Rallies were held in every major city.
In Saint John, N.B. the whole city was shut down by a General Strike. In Saskatchewan, 28,000 people participated in the demonstrations.
The protest was not a formal strike of unionized workers. It was more a day of solidarity among, and in support of, all workers. The desire to stand together in solidarity was so strong protesters willingly gave up a day’s pay to join in. Senior citizens, pre-schoolers, students, and families all participated to show their support.
Many private businesses even shut down in solidarity with the union calls for a general walkout.
Sometimes you get what you need
Our day of protest did not force the government to immediately change its policies. Wage controls were not finally abolished until about a year later. But we did get what we always need: a demonstration of our faith and belief in ourselves.
The 1976 Day of Popular Protest stands as a measure of the strong common bond of solidarity all everyday Canadians have for one another. Knowing that will, one day, give us the will and courage to get the kind of Canada we have all always wanted.
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