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PUBLISHED BY THE KOOTENAY SCHOOL OF WRITING
201-505 HAMILTON STREET, VANCOUVER BC. V6B2R1
As always, a few idle words, enlarging upon certain back-cover notices, silent,
reserved, as expected before a presentation.
First the calling card, then the visit. Dresses, hats? no : not even fabrics this time.
Once she has carefully selected and arranged her outfit, or at least approved its
arrangement, there is then, if its harmony is exquisite, a scent of distinction that
accompanies a woman; but this scent, entirely ideational, never permits that other,
composed of flowers, of genuine Parma violets
, for example, to be forgotten. And if
you want to know the extent to which the very soul of these flowers, made to survive
them in the cloud of a lace-embellished handkerchief, has undergone skilled
preparation before acquiring this immortality, then ask Pinaud & Meyer, or, better
still, simply try their Essence
of the above mentioned fragrance, which alone will
satisfy your curiosity. Snow, which because of its temperature chaps the skin, and
yet gives it a lively and enviable freshness, and cream, which distends its surface,
but restores and nourishes it, these two completely contrary whitenesses, blend,
for me, their virtues, though not their hazards, in this scrumptiously named product
: Snow Cream
. Much the same, and different, is their Milk of Hebe
, which someone
brought me, and which could easily be the nectar poured at Olympus by that very
deity; for the phial containing this marvellous liquid conceals as much force as
suppleness : that is to say, all the benefits that await the most delicate carnation
when exposed to winter. A reminiscence, but by no means vague, there is also Milk
cologne : and then, what can I say? (for a marvel, once found, must be given
all the forms adopted by the diverse preparations that precede dressing) before all
else, comes the Soap
made with this same Milk of Hebe
. And, for those among you,
ladies, who will not be seduced by a mythological device, I propose Oppopanax
(cologne, cream and soap), Exora
, or Celtic Nard
: strange but delicious
tinctures, the aromas of which, inhaled, give rise to dreams, as do, simply
Completely in fashion, luxurious, these aromatics might equally have, if you so
wish, no place in the bath or dressing room : inhabiting, rather, on the whatnot
shelves of the bedroom, strange little perfume bottles, from Saxony, Venice, Bohemia,
etc. Rare glassware or porcelain from which escapes a precious odour, what a
charming Christmas gift : after all, a box of perfumes, does it not conceal a
voluptuous pleasure quite distinct from the satisfaction brought by a package of
candies? I'll stop here, because there are, on this subject, a thousand curious things
Who doesn't already know the address of this Establishment? But is it even useful
to know it? I consider the copies of this tableau like so many votive offerings hung
from the chapels of beauty by grateful women, which in all the perfume shops of
Paris, of the countryside, and abroad, mixes the sign, the streets and even the
numbers (at the sign of the Flowered Basket, 30 boulevard des Italiens, and 37
boulevard de Strasbourg) with its garlands, its children and its clouds.
Miss Satin,La Derniere Mode,
20 December, 1874.
(Mallarmé, Stéphane; translation : Edward Byrne, Xmas 1999)
1 Tr: these were in the form of cartes de visite
from various fashionable establishments
Extear, intear tears aural eccentricity --
wimple, toque, sac de nuit or undies.
brogue-rigging togs and accoutrements.
Tobacco words anarchous tins strapped to our cats
dextral, sinistral, awol from investment.
long pole bending with the weight of a wall that has snapped the bait.
Behind glass, lawyers, boards of directors
click skeins of lives from woven wicker --
black suits, white cuffs, high heels, lipstick.
today's catch skimming along mind hooks.
a lie, as though reclining essence of flatness,
the scent of its repose like Japanese tea,
skitter scatter across surface from seeds
Skim a hook through the mind or sink it deep --
glint of glass, glint of platinum, how here,
how there a lying yet furred with darkness.
yet glint of mirror, glint of siren slicing.
Love songs of the small drips poised on each tip
of roof tile, moss on the chimney, a steady slant of rain
with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
As time goes by, we realize that there is very little hope to develop character. Debbie is difficult to
gain a foothold; Debbie is only a rumour, and, for us an interest in steak, and sushi, and salad. We
offer strategies, and she does health, nutrition, finance, employment, and love. Let Debbie worry
about Europe again. Debbie is simplicity.
I have essentially kissed Debbie, while she does her duty; if God is soon told, and if the arrangements
are as trying as they are tongued, we shall push ourselves once again. We shall do her home, feeling
out the having of going, reaching the tyranny of menace, for our Debbie, alone, for our cause. That
As time goes by, we remain pretty well heated. We developed character and stuffed our stomachs
with steak and sushi and salad. We knew it was rumour when we heard trouble; for that is the
resolve of Government — every sticking of them. We offer Parliament, an Empire and a Republic,
it’s here in our hurt and in our will to start death on native soil. We aid to each other like all comrades
of Debbie: she who started Europe and told many old and famous fallen that she is the wealth and
nutrition of finance. Debbie is easy.
Debbie is an essential read for active duty, interested in maintaining arrangements. She shall not
know or be inside. She shall finger on to the end, she shall reach in Getting, she shall reach as she
says; we shall start our Island home, going wherever the trust may be, she shall reach in the tyranny
We shall never harden, as time goes by, or develop a part of it. Debbie is there to help gain a foothold:
a mixture of cardio rumours and an interest in training; we are not novice strategies. We have slipped
index fingers into our wet cunts as she thumbs our clits. Our mouths have met in a lingering offer.
Let your children play safely in Europe again, quit worrying about your livestock and put a stop to
expensive repairs in health, nutrition, finance, and in our long-term control strategy, simplicity iseasy.
God’s all push, essentially the New duty, with Debbie, got something to the wrong and out of the
old. Debbie delivers the immediately useful and stimulates deeper arrangements. Top home experts
and beauty join forces aiding the tyranny of menace.
Have you bought the day we were trusted to do everything? We might be an enemy of armies. But
this was power. Some fight gets on the come — cause and intelligence spread lightly all over her
skin, defended by resolve of Government to gain a foothold.
We have tongued the cause of the week — almost in the finger, in her pale clit; I begged in French,
pushing her crisp thing, defending her strength. Describes a force reaching something all along,
before our long-term control strategy stimulates deeper arrangements.
We’ve played on these paths, reading from our own Debbie the duty of air. My beaches seemed
British. Pushing grammars into the men, into their left, though Debbie ís improbable fighting hurt
She who started the house of polit then: The ok sky knew greatness.
Tallow of persistent art also can’t smell.
Or as Hooks Dauss once said - You can’t get
An amitriptyline from a flare single and a
Stumbling lean off. I read and reread the TV
Guide so many times I know it Hart to Hart:
You’re on the right track, at 9 mile & Mack .
Haven shared room with someone who’s had
A cigarette lately! Fatal! O life! What letts
Thee from a quick decease? My death to end
And life my living death no whit amends.
The cuff scars from the war of the classes
And love doesn’t love me like I like it.
A beautiful morning; we go down to the arena. A cold
wintry day; we open some purse. A day is lapsing; some
of us light a cigarette. A deep mist on the surface; the
land pulls out. A dull mist comes rolling from the west;
this is our imaginary adulthood. A glaze has lifted; it is a
delusional space. A great dew; we spread ourselves sheet-
like. A keen wind; we’re paper blown against the fence.
A little checkered at 4 pm; we dribble estrangement’s
sex. A long, soaking rain; we lift the description. A ripple
ruffles the disk of a star; contact thinks. A sharp frost
and a night-fall of snow; our mind is a skin. A slight cloud
drifts contrary to the planet; the day might be used
formally to contain a record of idleness. A slight storm
of snow; our prosody flickers. A solid bluish shadow
consumes the day; we think about synthetics in the night.
A soul-thrilling power hovers; we drink it back lustily. It
is the exchange of our surplus. A very great tide; lurid
conditions enter as fact. A very wet day for it; we loathe
and repeat and suckle our sentimentality. April has never
lost its leaves; our heart is both random and arbitrary. At
sunset red and hazy; we seduce the permanence. At times
moderate becoming good; we’ll be voluptuously poor.
Begone! facilitates our appearance. We go inside rapture.
It is our emotional house. We furnish forth some cake.
Brilliant; equilibrium speaks mysteriously through our
larynx. Checkered blue; appetite will be more likely.
Cheerful, tender, civil, lilac colours; we anticipate the
never-the-less. Clear blue but yellowish in the northeast;
we sit and explore. Clouded toward the south; we will
not be made to mean by a space. We’ll do newness.
Crickets accumulate; our expression of atmosphere has
curious intentions. We also do decay. Dusk invades us;
the description itself must offer shelter. No gesture shuts
us. Each leaf’s a runnel; the struggle is not teleological.
We break the jar, smack it down. Soul spills all over—
cyprine. Every rill is a channel; our shelters are random.
Every surface is ambitious; we excavate a non-existent
period of the human. Everything is being lifted into place.
Everything is illuminated; we prove inexhaustibility. Far
into night an infinite sweetness; beyond can be our model.
Forget the saltiness; we tear the calendar of bitterness and
sorrow. Here a streak of white; there a streak of dark; we
pour the word-built world. In April as the sun enters
Aries, the clouds are gold and silver dishes; we make
idleness as real as possible. Isn’t the hawk quite beautiful
hanging quite still in the blue air; we dig deep into our
conscience. It all reflects the sky; we disintegrate our
facade. It anticipates the dry scent of autumn; we
anticipate the same. Our emotions are slow enough to be
accurate. It emits a tremulousness; we have nothing
concrete. It falls in broad flakes upon the surface; we take
account of all that occurs. It goes all soft and warm along
the way; we are almost cozy. Is it nice having our ticket
handled? Like feminine and serious sensations of being
gulped. It has soaked through; we have sheer plastic
virtuosity. We flood upwards into the referent. It is a
protestant warmth; we reverse it. It is an illusion; we aren’t
afraid. We settle the fast depth. It is clothed in such a mild,
quiet light; we intrude on the phenomenology. It is eight
o clock; casual men shut the architecture. It is intrinsically
bright; it is our middle class. Don’t notice if we open the
life; it is literally the wreck of jewels. It is moody, vigorous
and dry; we hear the transparency. A seeing can no longer
list. It is no longer the end of a season, but the beginning;
the buildings make holes in the sky. What must be
believed? We go backward and forward and there is no
place. No shape is for later. It is obscurely flawed, but it
really isn’t. It is still daylight outside; kick out the lid. It is
sun smoke; we put on grease. Our sex is a toy weather. It
is the clear, magnificent, misunderstood morning; we pick
up the connections. Toy weathers mean less than we
assume. It is the regular dripping of twigs; we deal with
technical problems. It is too strange for sorrow; we tried
to make the past. It leaves behind fragments; we repeat
the embarrassment. It screams sensation; we must be vast
and blank. It seems moister; the webbing folds. It strives
to pierce the fog which shuts the view; we flow through
the loops. We duck into the tint. It translates lucretius with
a high rate of material loss. It turns decorative; we waste
everything. It used our organs; shame was passed along.
It was inevitable; we are self-regulating. It washes our
beach; we resist agency. We are not free to repudiate. It
will go on diffusing itself without limit; our nourishments
are never habitual. It will never rain; we feel bad about
certainty. It’s a fine flowing haze; we don’t know light.
It’s a tear-jerker; we practise in attics. It’s almost
horizontal; we seem to go into words. It’s an outcropping
of cumulus; we are a sum of inescapable conditions. It’s
been a long season; we moot the responsibility. It’s brisk;
we suggest a new style. It’s cold in the shade; we rethink
expediency. It’s dark as us women; we keep up with
accident. The hill slopes up. Our pearls broke. We are
watching ourselves being torn. It’s gorgeous; we accept
the dispersal. It’s just beginning; we establish an
obsolescence. It’s petal-caked; flow implicates us. It’s so
still; ease of movement is possible. It’s very hot and fine;
where does this success come from? It’s wild; culture will
fit now. Its chilly; we try to shape culminations. It’s clear
and windy and wakening; we achieve an inconsistency.
It’s starting to melt; we wander, play and sleep. Which is
the surface? It’s sulking behind blinds; our ideas are
utensils. What is beyond? Leaves shoot up; we should
not remember it. Light bounces from the clouds; we play
at the shelter. What’s memory? Fat. Deluxe. Cheap. Listen
to the pulsating leaves; everything we make is thick, fat,
deluxe, cheap. Look at the moon; we reassess the lifespan
of use. March fans it; the conversation is flaring. We’re
making sounds of sincerity. Marvelous; unsuggestable.
No sun shining; we feel there must be a world. We avoid
the duty of being. Not by so much so big a tide as
yesterday; conditions equal appetite. Not quite
midsummer; we cannot know history. Now look; we
embed ourselves in immateriality. Of course it rained! ;
we chuck gravitas. Pinkish-green, and grey with yellow
tints; look at the thin metaphor. Pockets of fog;
compositions do desire. Pulsing lights; our attention is
glass. Rain pelts the glass; we seek to produce delight.
Skin hinges the light; this is a conceptual war. Smoke
ribbons up from the city; we are splendidly desolate. Snow
fills the footprints; we abruptly coincide with neurosis.
Some tufts are caught in the previously bare limbs; we
develop the desire. Something terrific is going to happen;
we stick like belief. Space is quite subdued; but not as a
result of complacency. It is the great middlediction of
concupiscence. Speakable; utility. Spectacular; desolation.
Spring seems begun; we like bad palliatives. Storms do
occur; manifestoes are the opposite. That’s right; disgust
is fatal. Enough of the least. Death is a content. The air
seems flushed with tenderness; prognostics give us logic.
The atmosphere recedes; we simulate failures. The bay’s
pretty choppy; we allow ourselves to be drawn in. The
blue cleansed or swabbed; we are not mimetic. We rhyme.
The coldness is purifying; we create an immanent disaster.
We shorten the dark. The dark drinks the light; we omitted
the beginning. The day is longer now; we’re fueled by
the thoughtless. The dry light has never shone on it; we
excerpt effort. The earth goes gyrating ahead; we frighten
the strengths. The fading woods seem mourning in the
autumn wind; we don’t regret error. It is our emotional
house. The fog is settling in; we’re sardonic. The fresher
breeze rustles the oak; our treachery is beautiful. Pop
groups say love phonemes. We suddenly transform to the
person. The hills fling down shadow; we fling down
shadow. The horizon is awkward; we fling down shadow.
The horizon melts away; this was the dictation. The ice
cracks with a din; very frustrating. The leaves are
beginning; it unifies nothing. The light lays intact and
folded; we open and shout. The light seems whimsical;
it’s techno-intellectual work. The light’s so romantic; we
permit the survival of syntax. The little aconite peeps its
yellow flowers; we manipulate texture. The moon is
faintly gleaming; we expose our insufficiency. Total
insignificance of lyric. That’s what we adore. The
mountains have vanished; our mind becomes sharp. The
mountains unfurl long shadow; ornament is no crime. The
nightreading girls are thinking by their lamps; we make
use of their work. We cannot contain our pleasure. The
rain has loosened; we engage our imagination. The
sentence opens inexpensively; we imagine its silence. The
shrubs and fences begin to darken; we are deformed by
everything. Therefore we’re mystic. The sky is closing in;
we mediate an affect. The sky is curved downward; we
desituate memory. The sky is dominant; we lop off the
image. We come upon our thought. The sky is lusty; so
are we. We prove inexhaustibility. The sky is mauve lucite;
we reduce it to logic. The sky is packed; it is ours. The sky
is thickening; we have been invented. We are the
desuetude of function. The sky’s tolerably liberal; despite
and because of the rhetoric. The snowdrops are starting;
we risk causing suffering. The snow going off; by way of
the idea. The songsparrow heard; our artifice collides. The
sound settles like jargon; we do not agree. The storm is a
mass of sound; we must go to the suburbs. The sun is just
appearing; we cannot sit waiting. The sun sucks up the
steam; it is explicitly our preference. The system shines
with uninterrupted light; we generate limpid fact. The
systems revolve at an even pace; fear is not harmful.
The time is always still eventide; our language moves
across. The trees are stripped; foreground fiercely
smashing the mouth. The trees look like airy creatures;
we’ll say anything like speech. The wind has lulled;
we’re this long voice under fluid. The wind has stripped
some nearly bare; we demonstrate abstinence. The wind
hasn’t shifted; we have shifted. The word double is
written on our forehead. The wind opens the trees; art
is too slow. The wind shifts from northeast and east to
northwest and south; we cull the obedience. The wind
sounds like paper; our sex is no problem. The elms are
as green and as fresh as the oaks; we taste of aerial fluids
and drugs. There are curious crystallizations; we are the
dream of conflict. There goes the sun; we influence
contingency. There is something in the refined and
elastic air; we step into the quorum. They are quietly
dissolved in the haze; we quietly erect this subject. Thin,
fleshy roots of light; we thicken to slang. This greyness
is constant; we withdraw unexceptionally. This is a
cloudburst; no-one’s turn is dwelling. This sombre drizzle
is familiar; it’s unbuilding pixels. This transparency is
necessary; there is no transgression possible. Those
stupendous masses of cloud! ; we furrow and sleek and
fondle our sentimentality. Thunder in the north; we enjoy
our behaviours. Thunder, far to the south; habitual. Today
has everything; we are sick with sincerity. Transparent
tissues hover; authority flows into us. Try to remember
the heavy August heat; we cannot disengage our
calculations. Under that rod of sky is our breath; we don’t
understand love. Describe it again. Up goes the smoke
quietly as the dew exhales; it calls itself sadness. Pattern
undercuts the slamming heat; we speak into the dark and
make corrections: Shadow for hour. Tantrum for lyre. Lure
for light. Rapture for caput. For for five. Qualm for finger.
Bridge for door. Neap for note. Curious for lucid. Door
for bridge. Feather for epsum. Minus for nimble. Parity
for rapture. Plumb for addle. Rustic for cunt. Note for
iota. Item for opus. Rustle for campus. Augustine for
aconite. Similar for ribald. Firm for forsythia. Resplendent
for respond. Cause for quote. Oblique for oblique. Verb
for flex. Superb obedience really exists. When accuracy
comes it is not annihilated; we’re economical with our
sensation. Who has not admired the twelve hours? We
offer prognostics. Red sky at night, a warm arm across
the pillow, within winter, but at its end; you can anticipate
who was first emerging from the soft mud? on the map, the place
where life occurs—throught the fissures life arises and is placed in
the lines of birds coming and the birds spoke: yek
is manifested as
is a line expected, through the particle it made. out of the mud
again arises language—it is beautiful meaning, it reaches to the
beneath the writing, a recorder has left delicate signs to indicate
a box: –. bird comes into sympathy with the box—we spoke through
form—concentrated positioning of figures in relation. form here
within where it is placed. in the mud an impression standing
alone on the edge of the world, radiant before the pupils of the
treble of left cleft tick syntax wrap pour around dying glimmer rips shimmer tied tight tipped right tremble legs shake ethereal arms around almost tea sipped tepid deliberate ripple size say tidal relentless lick one last kick cadence sticks smooth quick release ease
zag gone ribald dipped in or out talk a high note shriek keep caring rubbed right here effort anything but apple lists drink after render how to assemble; what doesn’t work now whether under or tipped top side ellides slender carpet tender burn neglects stream
mama or mom margin wide electric stops eclectic cream sips steam met left wanting green overwhelms contradictory fingers stroke kept count analogy of toes talk treble effort falls semiotic crackle forgotten amniotic cycle several lack caves in rose red sable
swell sets left tip tender render flannel lament kept count June side ever if crisp wrap pink about taxi last crinkle cast table this label parka wide divide seeps you side my yellow yammer (fits between, among?) young, young gad drink careful yow slip wow
whether scarpe meant tomorrow worry one more your beat now wanes sensitive verve echo signs rhyme again nerve after scafold deep layer figures sonic cryptic care within knowing line blue after rip up stiff stuck capture rapture gape gutteral tape electric six
scape scene skin wide remember slack sings suture seams sorry stitch story you of bring gave if ever sleep to resemble lent image rage fact of fabric rip red lip to pillow slips solid crave soft escape pends resemble laud a cell skip over mal land door after root
excise lax slim numbers ramble evidence emerges slipped or pushed drag guys impossible ever stretch checks wild wide skin extends beyond fold after tissue tight drape electric tingle gropes down again heard as rage joined drastic kept delicate triage go one by
yellow fields snap flowers around crowning ying monitors yang gong steady beep prolong garish push shock hair air rings criptic almost crying grab brought close even since slick caught tepid dark tendril finger soft rockets sky blue sing say yeah
hey of yawn notion deliverance same stance only more so silk skin drips milk careful lull saken never so almost awkward division slept toward vision screen on almost you unify stretch across softer release rip placed together render relax into still slender
ring one place you knew water wrinkles rivers slake steady thirst ready easy or red dive extra almost strands swap around low wavers seem simple every yip yaw wants schwa aggravate each hassle felt slack capable slips around back cables simple what seams to
open nectar original lake effort tops sloppy slip of messy sent out back care easy every yes sips sweet table top ponder risk of cake exclaim matter ruby fruit terrible slunk kennedy or good dexterous snack kip called with us smack cracker friend deep para
agate ponder smooths rounder slips under ram dirt side danger red scar rakes tissue often no not ever rambles sent together stone heavy level labour til time takes tomorrow sweet sorrow wanes scent fresh side shovel lip stick catch change phrase frenzy zag gone swallow
Bloody Sunday: The Unemployment Riots of 1935 and 1938
from Reading the Riot Act
The dirty thirties were said to have been harder on Vancouver than any other city
in Canada. When the boom of the twenties came to an abrupt end on that ‘Black
Friday’ in October of 1929, very few recognized that this was anything more than a
temporary set back. Proposed city spending for the year 1930 was $25 million, equal
to the provincial budget as Mayor Malkin liked to boast. What Malkin was less
inclined to mention was the tripling of the city’s relief rolls, a raid by the unem-
ployed on the relief office and downtown streets clogged with protest marches and
the all too common arrest and imprisonment of the homeless.
By 1932, 34,000 people were on relief in the city, and the annual bill had risen to
$2.39 million. Many individuals were hard hit but it was the business community
that panicked. The infamous Kidd Committee Report, a response to the crisis pressed
on the Provincial Government by the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Retail Mer-
chants Association and five Vancouver service clubs, demanded that the provincial
budget be slashed from $25 million to $6 million, that university funds be cut and
the PGE railroad be abandoned and people be cut off relief completely while any
remaining social services be greatly reduced. Among the numbers of the sponsors
of the Kidd Committee Report presumably were what remained of the city’s ‘83
millionaires’ that Premier Duff Patullo had criticized in 1929 for their lack of civic
spirit, never having made a single donation to the university or sponsored any
These would have been many of the same men who the Shipping Federation’s ‘re-
organization committee’ invited to a private luncheon in the dining room of Van-
couver Club on April 18th, 1935. The Citizen’s League was born out of this meeting
of the ‘Committee of 66’. Some of the names will be instantly recognizable,
VanDusen, Spencer, Woodward, Rogers, Buckerfield, Bell-Irving, Malkin, and on
and on, a roll call of Vancouver’s business leaders led by then Mayor Gerald G.
McGeer, who appointed Brigadier Victor M. Odlum as the front man for this vigi-
lante style organization. With the addition of Colonel C.E. Edgett and the president
of the Shipping federation J.E. Hall and their mouthpiece, broadcaster Tom McInnes
who made no distinction of any kind between unions and communists, this was a
powerful, moneyed organization fiercely dedicated to the eradication of unions,
and prepared to use any and all means at their disposal. Full page ads in the daily
press attacking the ‘bolshevick menace’ was only the beginning of their pogrom.
As the world economy levelled off in late 1934 and early 1935 the fortunes of the
City of Vancouver and its business community improved slightly however there
was little change for either workers or unemployed workers. When the Relief Camp
Workers’ Union which was affiliated with the Workers’ Unity League began pro-
testing camp conditions and most specifically the militarization of the camps, the
leaders were expelled and subsequently blacklisted which denied them and their
families any form of relief. The men and for the most part only men worked in the
relief camps, began an organized walk out. In December of 1934, 1200 workers
descended on Vancouver and stayed for four weeks demanding an end to the ex-
pulsions and blacklists. In April of 1935, the men in the camps went on strike for
‘work and wages’. 2000 men who had been doing heavy labour in the camps for 20
cents a day and board, left the camps and assembled in Vancouver. Standing on
street corners throughout downtown “tin-canning” to collect money from passers-
by, a tactic necessitated by their disqualification from relief, and snarling traffic
with near daily protests, the men could hardly be ignored. 5000 marched on April
9th. Revolution was in the air, at least in the mind of the mayor, Gerry McGeer.
After all by his calendar it was only 18 years after the Russian Revolution.
The relief camps had been set up in 1933 by the federal government to isolate the
men and head off a perceived insurrection. With over 75,000 registered unemployed
in BC alone, an uprising seemed inevitable, not just to the politicians but to the
A major demonstration was organized by the Relief Camp Workers Union for April
23rd. In addition to the now ubiquitous parade with thousands marching behind
brass bands, the organizers had added a new wrinkle. They would take their pro-
tests off the street and into a downtown department store. Undercover police infil-
trators keeping an eye on the perceived ‘red menace’, were aware of the new tactic
although they did not know which store would be targeted. Police Chief Foster
advised his men that the strikers had “mistaken leniency and kindness for timid-
ity” and that stern measures would be necessary if the protest was carried out on
The demonstration began at 3 pm at the Cambie Grounds with the usual speeches
by the Union Leaders and banner waving and cheering. They marched first to the
Kelly, Douglas and Malkin wholesale store, entered, walked around and left, caus-
ing no damage. They moved next to the Hudson’s Bay Company (Here Before Christ,
as it was popularly known) store where they marched up and down the aisles for
about 30 minutes chanting ‘Work and Wages’. As soon as the police entered to
remove the demonstrators who had refused to leave when asked by the store man-
ager, all hell broke lose, display cases were smashed, merchandise was thrown at
police, but eventually the strikers were driven from the store. Damages were later
estimated at $5000, six policemen were injured and two arrests were made for as-
The march then continued down Granville to Hastings and along Hastings to Vic-
tory Square, where more speeches were made and a delegation of ten men was
appointed to visit the Mayor one block away at City Hall. Mayor McGeer listened
to their demands for civic assistance, which of course they were not eligible for
because they could not provide proof of residence. He not only refused their re-
quest condemning their actions as revolutionary and inexcusable, but also ordered
them arrested as they left the building.
When word of the arrests filtered back to the demonstrators, a new delegation was
readied to visit city hall, but that was unnecessary because the Mayor was on his
way to Victory Square, where the crowd had been surrounded on all sides by City
Police, R.C.M. Police and Provincial Police. McGeer began by shouting “Okay boys,
you asked for it and here it is.” He then read the riot act. After a few seconds of
stunned silence the crowd began singing ‘The Red Flag” and marched off.
Then raise the scarlet standard high;Beneath its folds we’ll live and die,Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,We’ll keep the red flag flying here.
The Mayor and Council were convinced that what they had witnessed was an at-
tempt by communists to get the unemployed to overthrow the democratically
elected government. At 10 pm, simultaneous raids were carried out on the many
participating organization’s strike headquarters, where posters, banners, pamphlets
and documents were seized. As word of the police action was circulated crowds of
strikers began to gather at the corner of Carrall and Hastings, and later City Hall.
Store windows were broken and hand to hand fighting began. The police mounted
squad and mounted provincial police charged into the crowd swinging their quirts.
By midnight The crowd had been dispersed. A General strike was proposed for
May 1st. but never fully materialized. McGeer responded by making a radio broad-
cast blaming the communists, although in communication with the federal govern-
ment, he laid the blame squarely on their shoulders for the failure of the relief camp
Protest and and resistance was widespread. The Women’s New Era League had
called a conference of 24 delegates representing 72 organizations such as the Local
Council of Women, the Civilian Pensioned Mothers, The Women’s Section of the
Provincial Worker’s Council, The Socialist Party, and several church organizations,
for late April to discuss the relief camp strike. Chaired by Fanny Cowper of the
New Era League and Peggy Harrison of the Women’s Labour League, a resolution
was introduced by the Unemployment Relief Committee of the Local Council of
Women urging the Federal government to provide a works program and immedi-
ate temporary relief to the strikers. As the conference had coincided with the read-
ing of the Riot Act, an action committee of twelve was elected to send a delegation
to see the Mayor, and consider further action.
When they met with McGeer on April 25th he was only too glad to wire the deputy
Prime Minister on the spot, referring to the women as among the city’s best citizens
and was only too happy to support their demands to the Federal Government.
Meanwhile planning for the strike had begun. On the 28th the CCF was to hold a
parade and rally at the Denman arena in support of the strikers. Out of these two
events and the strong support and sympathy of various women’s groups, the ac-
tion committee mobilized a variety of women’s groups under the banner of the
Mother’s Day Committee to support the relief camp strikers.
Not much is known of the 37 women who attended the first meeting of the Moth-
er’s Day Committee on May 3rd 1935, except that the leadership was generally left
leaning coming largely from the CCF’s Women’s Central Group and the Commu-
nist Party of Canada’s Women’s Labour League. At the planning meeting for the
Denman Arena Rally held at the Moose Hall the organizing ability and radical
intentions of the women was evident.
“It’s up to the people to abolish relief camps,’ was the cry that went up from more than 300 womenassembled under the auspices of the C.C.F. Women’s Group in the Moose Hall on Thursday evening.‘We’vehad enough of commissions, delegations and petitions,’ they shouted. ‘Now we’ll take over and act.’
“Abolish the camps: don’t let the boys go back,’ the women urged.
Not once were the strikers referred to as such or as men; always ‘our boys.’
Shouts of ‘Lets go’ greeted Ernest Cumber, Secretary of the Relef Camp Workers’ Union, when he said hewould like to have the pleasure of leading the women down Granville street to the City Hall.
On the Saturday preceding the parade and rally a large contingent of women handed
out 25,000 tags labelled “Our boys, Are they Criminals
?’ in return for donations to
support the strikers. This was also a politically astute reminder that men were be-
ing jailed for tin-canning. They also circulated a petition demanding the camps be
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Constantine the Great gave his own interpretation of the above poem during thefirst Ecumenical Synod: ‘ a man of sense will clearly see that this is the description of the adventof a God and not the birth of a man ’. It is evident that Virgil is inspired by his wish of redemption, which the wholeworld shared. Should someone read the whole poem, they would see there are a lotof references to