Labour Union Foments Internment of Competing Workers

In June of 1915, many coal miners at Fernie BC went on strike, demanding dismissal of mine workers who were citizens of Austria or Germany.

Acting B.C. Premier William Bowser immediately told the provincial police force to intern all unmarried mine employees who were citizens of Austria or Germany.

However, internment of enemy aliens was under the jurisdiction of the federal government, which ruled that there was no legal authority to intern the workers in Fernie. ((They did not meet the criteria of federal legislation that allowed internment of some citizens of Austria or Germany.)

The scummy Bowser then lobbied the federal government to rule that internment was acceptable if disorder might occur, Bowser having claimed that riots would occur if the illegally interned persons were freed.

Bowser became Premier soon after, and in the subsequent election lost badly - including in Fernie.

So there's an example of:
- a labour union co-opting government force to exclude competition
- a politician pandering to it in order to gain votes
- a politician acting illegally

Why do people think that
- labour unions care about every worker
- governments are honest

Reference: "Island mine strike fuelled wartime racism", in the Times Colonist newspaper of June 21, 2015.
(Actually in Fernie, the coal company may have had its headquarters on Vancouver Island where there were mines. )

© Keith Sketchley

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