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When Coal Was King
Industry, People and Challenges
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Miners and Local Government

As a result of an 8-month strike that split friends and families, in 1933 Blairmore elected a Town Council completely made up of workers.  They proceeded to clean up town administrative practices and re-name, for a short time, the central boulevard in honour of Communist leader Tim Buck. Blairmore Town Councillors:  Front roe:  Harvey Murphy, Joe Anschacher, Angelo Pagnucco, Mayor William Knight, Joe Krkosky Sr., Jack Packer, Evan Morgan, Sam Patterson, Ole Olson, Joe Krkosky Jr., Police Chief Fitz Patrick, Norman Bonneau, Albert Bosetti, Domenic Campo, Goerge Maniquet, Gaston Bazzill, Leo Amadino.The extent of the influence miners wielded over local politics tended to be small. They were shut out in centres which were unincorporated, or in places, such as Lethbridge or Edmonton, where they did not comprise a large part of the population. In certain incorporated towns in the Crowsnest Pass, they began to be influential after 1918. Radicalized by their experience during the Great War and afterwards, miners exerted a profound influence on local politics in Blairmore and Coleman, between the 1920s and 1940s. Blairmore was the only community in which they became dominant. The left-wing administration, elected there in the wake of the bitter Crowsnest Pass strike of 1932, continued to hold power into the 1940s. In most communities, workers had to be content with the influence they exerted through their unions and other social organizations. They comprised a potent force, but not one usually expressed in municipal politics.1

William N.T. Wylie, "Coal-Mining Landscapes: Commemorating Coal Mining in Alberta and Southeastern British Columbia," a report prepared for the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Parks Canada Agency, 2001.

See Also: The Coal Industry—Overview, Rapid Expansion, Domestic and Steam Coalfields, 1914-1947: The Struggling Industry, Collapse and Rebirth, Settlement of the West, Issues and Challenges—Overview, Entrepreneurship, Technology, Underground Techniques, Surface Technology, Surface Mining, Social Impacts, Unions, 1882-1913: Unionization and Early Gains, 1914-1920: Revolutionary Movement, 1921-1950s: Labour Unrest and Setbacks, Mining Companies, People of the Coal Mines,  The Middle Class, Miners and Local Government, Politics and Economics , Environmental Impacts, Health and Safety—Overview, The State and Labour Relations, The State and Development after 1918.

 

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