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SOSC 3210 Chapter Notes -Misdemeanor, Paternalism, Crop Rotation


Department
Social Science
Course Code
SOSC 3210
Professor
Jennifer Stephen

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Working in Pre-Industrial Canada: The Transition
Ruth Bleasdale, “Class Conflict on the Canals of Upper Canada in the 1840s,” Labour/
Le Travail, Vol. 7, (Spring, 1981): 9-39. [ http://
journals.hil.unb.ca.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/index.php/llt/article/view/2655/3058]
-irish labourers on the st lawerence canal in 1840 were confirming the stereotype of the irish celt—
irrational, emotionally unstable and lacking in self control
-stuck to their own kind, engaged in violent confrontations with eachother, employers and law
enforcement
-violence as a result of economic conditions in the new world
-the candlers collective action constituted a bitter resistance to the position which they were forced to
assume in the society of BNA
-southern irish immigrants flooding into the canadas during the 1840s became part of a developing
capitalist labour market, a reserve pool of unskilled labourers who had little choice but to enter and
remain in the labour force
-the only option open to most southern irish was to accept whatever wage labour they could find
-many found work in the lumbering, shipping and shipbuilding industries and in the developing urban
centres, where they cluster in casual and manual occupations
-BNA economy couldn't absorb massive immigration of unskilled irish
-labour surplus in 1840s
-during the 1830s the movement of labourers across the border had usually been in the opposite
direction, a large proportion of irish immigrants at quebec proceeding to the united states in search of
employment on public works projects
-1837 & 1842 sent 1000s Irish labourers into canada looking for work because of the economic panic
-labour market continued to be oversupplied by the destitute irish immigrants fleeing famine in their
homeland
-canals brought strange labourers constantly descending
-massive canal construction programme undertaken by the government of the canadas during the
1840s created a demand for as many as 10000 unskilled labourers at one time in upper canada alone
-unskilled labourers executed most aspects of the work, digging, puddling, hauling and quarrying
-cornwall canal needed 1000 labourers during peak construction season in 1842 and 43
-williamsburg canals requried 2000 between 1844 and 1847
-welland needed 3000-4000 labourers between 1842 and 1845
-only a small number of those unable to get work on the canals appear to have found jobs on farms in
the area
-despite the press in demand for farm labourers and servants during the 1840s, the peasant
background of the southern irish had no equipped them to meets this demand and many farmers in
upper canada consequently professed reluctance toe employ iris immigrants
-farmers were not employing the labourers along the canal because they did not know the improved
system of british agriculture
-fear that famine immigrants carried disease acted a further barrier to employment of the irish on farms
-extreme poverty led them to steal
-no public relief or private charity to provide solution to poverty of unemployed
-contractors offered temporary relief from the threat of starvation but they offered little more (2-3s)
-still resulted in debt and dependency bc not enough money to live on
-payment in truck (coupon to store) not actual cash
-combination of low wages, payment in trucks and long waits between days kept cannalers in poverty
and insecurity barely able to secure necessities during season of steady employment unable to fortify
themselves against season of sporadic work & the inevitable long periods when there was no work at
all******
-welland had highest wages but still not enough
-work prices went low and food prices spiked
-contracters left workers to find their own housing which left many to build their own shacks with stolen
materials
-families shared shanties
-irish labourers were bonded by common culture shaped by ethnicity
-kinship networks may also have been reproduced on the canals

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-the clearest evidence of cultural unity and continuity along the canals was the labours commitment to
the roman catholic faith
-contributed to build shanty chapels and construction of new cathedral
-feud between muster county and connaught county
-contractors learned to honour the workers preference to work with members of their faction if only for
the peace of the work
-they were convinced that the problems associated with the feud, the open conflict and disruption of the
work, would disappear if the problem of unemployment were solved
-in the unskilled labour market of the canadas, competition was frequently between french canadians
and irish labourers
-ethnic classes between anglo-saxon and irish celtic labourers were rooted in economic conditions
which fostered fears that one group was undercutting or taking the jobs of the other group
-it was in their attempts to secure adequate wages that the candlers most clearly demonstrated their
ability to unite around economic issues
-small strikes usually under one contractor
-cork and connaught joined in large strikes
-strikes brought labourers together to pursue common economic interests
-canallers frequently combined in work stoppages demanding the payment of overdue wages
-more often their strikes centred on the issue of wage rates
-williamsburg agreed with wetherall, going so far as to suggest that if the rate of wages could be settled
once and for all troops and police would not be required for the canal areas
-as early as winter 1842 labourers had driven wages to what power claimed was the highest rate being
offered on the continent
-canallers were unified as irishmen whose purpose and solidarity would not be subverted
-membership in a common ethnic community provided concrete aide in organizing united action
-established leadership may have been key
-oath bound societies offered protection from the law and the reprisal of employers
-oats which swore labourers to secrecy also bound them to be faithful to each other, ensuring solidarity
and commitment in united action and enforcing sanctions against any who betrayed his fellows
-secret societies were noted for he efficiency and sophistication of their organization and , they were
means of organizing sustained resistance , not spontaneous outbreaks of protest
-irish labourers may not have seen themselves as members of a broader class whose interests were
irreconcilable to the interests of capital
-they saw the contractors as the unneeded middle man
-irish labourers also brought to the new world a willingness to defy the law and use force to achieve
their ends
-years of repression and discrimination had fostered a tradition of violence and terrorism outside the law
and in defiance of all authority
-the candlers use of violence was restrained and calculated
-violence to win a trike and get job control
-the governments opposition to strikes was based on the conviction that labourers should to attempt to
influence wage rates
-strikers couldn't intimidate or obstruct
-they should not posses any weapons
-special laws, special police force and military willing still didnt stop labours unrest and prevent
successful strike action
Paul Craven and Tom Traves, “Dimensions of Paternalism: Discipline & Culture in
Canadian Railway Operations in the 1850s,” from On the Job: Confronting the Labour
Process in Canada, Robert Storey & Craig Heron, ed(s)., McGill-Queens University
Press, 2008: 47-74. [http://books1.scholarsportal.info.ezproxy.library.yorku.ca/
viewdoc.html?id=/ebooks/ebooks0/gibson_crkn/2009-12-01/3/407456&page=62]
[62-85]
-rapid expansion of the colonys railways system in 1850s —66 miles grew to 2000
-railway was countries first large scale integrated industry and the gains among them became the
countries greatest employers of labour
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-grand trunk (GTR) (2600 workers on trains, in yards, shops, officers, warehouses and stations and
along the line of railway) was canals largest employer with monthly payroll of 110,000
-great western (GWR) was second larger with a payroll about 1/4 the size of GTR
-train crews consisted of enginemen, firemen, conductors and brakeman & baggagemen
-cleaners, pumpers, woodmen, yardmen and switchmen wee involved in servicing and fuelling the
locomotive, making up the train and switching onto siding to permit 2 way traffic on the single track
railways of the time
-labour was required at stations for baggage and freight handling under the supervision of the station
manager, who stood tickets made out way bills and receipts and operated the telegraph at the smaller
depots at the bigger ones he would be assisted by clerks and operators
-by 1861 GTR 223 locomotives travelled a third of a million miles each month
-GWR 94 locomotives traveled 1.8 million miles in 1861 (transporting half a mil tons of freight and more
than a half million passengers)
-1857 GWR locomotive and carshops at hamiltion, ontario employed about 600 tradesmen and
labourers along with about 125 more in london ontario
-discipline was most important on the railway because: safety, time management,
-Punitive discipline
-rules could be enforced by state
-the act for the punishment of the officers and servants of railway companies passed in 1856—allowed
fining employees up to 100$ and to imprisioned them for up to 5 years if breach company rules or put
ppl at risk or fined one months pay by court and another month by employer
-railway servants wear badges indicating their office, made it a misdemeanour for conductors or
enginemen to be drunk on duty, and provided penalties for conductors who permitted freight cars to be
coupled in rear of passenger coaches, and for enginemen who failed to ring a bell or sound a whistle at
level crossings
-GTR Rules:
-Each person is to devote himself exclusively to the Company's service, attending during the
regulated hours of the day and residing wherever he may be required.
-He is to obey promptly all instructions he may receive from persons placed in authority over him and
conform to all regulations of the Company.
-He will be liable to criminal punishment for disobediences or negligence of an order, and dismissal
for misconduct, incompetency, using improper language, cursing or swearing while on duty.
-He is not on any occasion to receive a fee or reward from any person without the sanction of the
Company.
-No instance of intoxication will be overlooked; and besides dismissal, the offender shall be deemed
guilty of a misdemeanor.
-Any case of rudeness or incivility to passengers will meet with instant dismissal. Every person must
appear on duty clean and neat.
-No person is allowed under any circumstances to absent himself from duty, without the permission of
his superior officer, except in case of illness, and then notice is to be immediately sent to his
immediate superior officer.
-No person is to quit the Company's service without fourteen days previous notice; and in case he
leaves without such notice, all pay then due will be forfeited.
-The Company reserves the right to deduct from the pay such sums as may be awarded for neglect
of duty as fines and for rent due to the Company.
-Should any person think himself aggrieved he may memorialize the Board, but the memorial must
be sent through the head of his department.
-punishments severalties were based upon how important they were to the company
-Intoxication or negligence resulting in accidents usually led to dismissal, even in the face of petitions
for mercy signed by fellow workers or local residents
-Dismissal was also meted out for "repeated absence and other irregularities," and, in another
instance, for "grossly offensive language ... addressed to the Vice President.”
-Jurors were often unwilling to convict workers, who may have been their neighbours, and they
exhibited an unfortunate tendency to blame the company itself when accidents could be traced to
defective equipment
-punishment could be expected for dis- obedience, neglect of duties, incompetence, negligence,
misconduct, intoxication, swearing, smoking, incivility, rudeness, absence, and failure to keep a copy
of the timetable and the rule book on his person.
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