Canadian workers are responsible for having built this country; without their efforts, Canada would not exist. Through the battles they fought, they also laid the foundations for a workplace environment that is far safer and healthier than it was a hundred years ago. While the future of the labour movement and its unions is uncertain, there is little doubt that the rights that working Canadians enjoy today are a result of the hard work of their predecessors.

A lesser known photo
A worker adds the last spike.

"The Story of the appropriation of the resources of British Columbia has another side to it; the side of the exploited workers who performed all of the sweated labour, but got none of the profits and little of the credit. Many millions of spikes were driven into the railroad ties by underpaid and undernourished workers, but none of them will be found in the circle of the famous at the driving of the last, "golden," spike. Only the wealthy, the powerful, the titled of the land were there in their top hats and frock coats - a most unlikely garb for railroad construction labour."

Excerpt from: Plunderbund & Proletariat, Jack Scott (Vancouver: New Star Books, 1975).

"Most of Canadian history seems to be written about governors and prime ministers and other powerful people. Yet when we look at our country, we see that most of the work has been done by people whose names we never hear. They built the canals and railways. They put up the great buildings and our own homes. They produce the food we eat and the things we use."

Excerpt from: Canada's Trade Unions at the Crossroads: Perspectives from the Inside (Angus Reid Group, 1994).

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