Gaze of Assertion

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In the end the gaze of assertion rests on two stamps that might be accepted under a narrow construction of the term "labour stamp." The first of these marked the 50th anniversary of the International Labour Organization in 1969 (#493), a commemoration that was also undertaken by other member countries. Here the symbolic takes precedence over the specific, for the stamp design shows a globe constructed of tools. At the very least the stamp can be read as an assertion of the importance Canada attributes to its participation in this international body which, in its limited way, has proposed labour standards suited to the global economy.

Canada Scott 493
Stamp reproduced courtesy of Canada Post Corporation
Stamp: Canada Scott 493
Poster Poster promoting the sale of Canada's International Labour Organization (ILO) stamp, (Canada Scott 493) issued May 21, 1969
Canadian Postal Museum.

Secondly, the gaze of assertion includes the stamp issued in 1981 in honour of A.R. Mosher (#899), the only union leader ever to be depicted on a Canadian postage stamp. Mosher was of course a founder of the Canadian Brotherhood of Railway Employees in 1908, and the stamp shows the figures of two railway workers flanking the portrait. Mosher was also a founder of the All-Canadian Congress of Labour in 1927 and the Canadian Congress of Labour in 1940. He was a seasoned veteran of union battles over nationalism, communism, and industrial unionism, and when the Canadian Labour Congress was formed in 1956, he was named honorary president. The stamp itself was issued in the centennial year of Mosher's birth, but also on the 25th anniversary of the Canadian Labour Congress; moreover, it was officially released on Labour Day. It is as near as we come to a stamp paying tribute to organized labour in Canada.

Canada Scott 899
Stamp reproduced courtesy of Canada Post Corporation
Stamp: Canada Scott 899

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