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1900 strike of Fraser River sockeye salmon fishermen 1965

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THE 1900 STRIKE OF FRASER RIVER SOCKEYE SALMON FISHERMEN by HARRY KEITH RALSTON B.A., University of British Columbia, l$k2 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FuTLFILMERE OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of History We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April , I965 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of • British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study, I further agree that per- mission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publi- cation of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission- Department of History The University.of British Columbia, Vancouver 8, Canada Date April, I965 - i i - ABSTRACT This study sees the 1900 s t r i k e on the Jraser River as providing the s e t t i n g i n •which trade unions began i n the f i s h e r i e s o f B r i t i s h Columbia, and analyzes both the s t r i k e i t s e l f and i t s background from that point of view. In the two decades t o 1890, the Fraser River salmon canning industry grew r e l a t i v e l y slowly, l i m i t e d by the problems of developing techniques f o r processing, f i n d i n g labor f o r packing, and accumulating c a p i t a l from p r o f i t s . Ih the 10 years t o 1900, these d i f f i c u l t i e s had been mostly overcome, and f r e s h c a p i t a l , a t t r a c t e d by sizeable p r o f i t s , nearly t r i p l e d the number of canneries. This boom ended i n a c r i s i s of over-expansion, marked by s t r i k e s and company mergers. One unforeseen e f f e c t of l i c e n s e l i m i t a t i o n i n the seasons I889-I89I was a change from paying fishermen a d a i l y wage to paying them at so much per f i s h , and consequently the s t a r t o f a s e r i e s of disputes between canners and fishermen over f i s h p r i c e s . Though i n general p r i c e s rose throughout the 1890*s, the i n d i v i d u a l fishermen f a i l e d t o b e n e f i t , p a r t l y because of p r i c e cuts and l i m i t s on d e l i v e r i e s during periods of a heavy supply of f i s h , and p a r t l y because of the increasing number of fishermen l i c e n s e d i n each succeeding year. In an attempt t o increase t h e i r bargaining strength, white resident fishermen campaigned f o r changes i n f e d e r a l f i s h e r y regu- l a t i o n s t o r e s t r i c t competition from Japanese and American fishermen, and t o reduce the number of cannery l i c e n s e s . The f i r s t fishermen's - i i i - organization, formed i n 1893 t o further t h i s end, d i d not survive i t s unrelated involvement i n a s t r i k e that year against p r i c e cuts. The amendments t o the f i s h e r y regulations i n 189̂  and, t o an even greater degree, i n 1898 r e f l e c t e d the success of t h i s group i n gaining t h e i r ends "by p o l i t i c a l means. To t r y t o redress the balance, the canners created i n 1898 t h e i r own c l o s e l y - k n i t organization, the B r i t i s h Columbia Salmon Packers* As s o c i a t i o n . The d i f f i c u l t i e s o f the seasons of 1898 and 1899, b a s i c a l l y caused by over-expansion, l e d the canners t o t i g h t e n t h e i r organi- zation f u r t h e r by c r e a t i n g i n January, 1900, the Fraser River Canners* Association, a cannery combine with power t o set maximum f i s h p r i c e s and production quotas f o r each cannery, and t o l e v y f i n e s on v i o l a t o r s of i t s d e c i s i o n s . About the same time, and p a r t l y i n r e a c t i o n t o the canners' move, separate unions of fishermen were organized, f i r s t at New Westminster, then at Vancouver. The Vancouver union t r i e d and f a i l e d t o e n r o l l Japanese fishermen who formed i n June, 1900, the Japanese Fishermen's Benevolent Society. The Canners* Asso c i a t i o n refused t o negotiate p r i c e s with fishermen's union representatives or t o set a minimum p r i c e f o r sockeye. When the sockeye season opened July 1 the fishermen struck, demanding 25 cents a f i s h through the season. By July 10, the s t r i k e included a l l fishermen on the r i v e r — w h i t e , Japanese and Indian. A f t e r another week, the Canners' Association f e l t forced t o negotiate and i n a s e r i e s of meetings the two sides came close t o settlement. At t h i s point, however, the canners broke o f f negotiations and made a - i v - separate agreement with the Japanese f o r 20 cents f o r the f i r s t 600 f i s h i n a week and 15 cents t h e r e a f t e r . The canners then provoked an "i n c i d e n t " as an excuse f o r three f r i e n d l y j u s t i c e s o f the peace t o c a l l out the m i l i t i a t o Steveston. In s p i t e of the Japanese defection and the presence of the m i l i t i a , the remaining s t r i k e r s h e l d out f o r another week. Mediation by E. P. Bremner, Dominion Labor Commissioner, and Francis Carter-Cotton, publisher of the Vancouver News-Advertiser, secured them a negotiated settlement which, though not i n c l u d i n g any union recognition, guaranteed 19 cents throughout the season. This success l e d t o the cr e a t i o n i n January, 1901, of the Grand Lodge of B r i t i s h Columbia Fishermen's Unions, the f i r s t coast- wide fishermen's organization i n B r i t i s h Columbia. The s t r i k e marked the beginning of continuous union a c t i v i t y i n the industry and the s t a r t of a t r a d i t i o n of r a d i c a l leadership that p e r s i s t s t o the present day. - V - T A B L E O F CONTENTS C H A P T E R P A G E I . T H E F R A S E R R I V E R SALMON C A N N I N G I N D U S T R Y — GROWTH P A T T E R N S . . . . . . . . . . 1 I I . T H E F R A S E R R I V E R SALMON C A N N I N G I N D U S T R Y — L I C E N S E L I M I T A T I O N A N D P R I C E CHANGES I N T H E 1890'S . . . . kQ I I I . F I S H E R Y R E G U L A T I O N S AND T H E FORMAT ION O F F I S H E R M E N ' S U N I O N S 73 I V . T H E 1900 S T R I K E — P H A S E ONE 1 0 5 V . T H E 1900 S T R I K E — P H A S E TWO 1̂ 2 V I . T H E 1900 S T R I K E AND T H E C R I S I S O F T H E INDUSTRY . . . 168 B I B L I O G R A P H Y 1 7 7 - v i - LIST OF TABLES TABLE PAGE I. Canneries Fraser River: Number Operating, T o t a l Pack of Sockeye Salmon by Years 1876-1901 2 I I . B r i t i s h Columbia Canneries 1883: Season's Pack, Da i l y Capacity, Cannery Crew, Fishing Boats, Fishermen . . 8 I I I . Population of B r i t i s h Columbia 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 10 IV. Cannery Share of To t a l Licenses Issued: Fraser River 1893, 1897-1900 33 V. G i l l n e t Licenses on the Fraser River, 1887-1900, by Major Ethnic Groups k& VI. Catch Per Unit of E f f o r t by G i l l n e t s on the Fraser River, 1888-1901 75 - v i i - LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE PAGE I. Catch Per Unit o f E f f o r t by G i l l n e t s on the Fraser River, 1888-1901 76 - v i i i - PREFACE The t o p i c of the present study f i r s t became of i n t e r e s t to me when, during the observance of the B r i t i s h Columbia centenary i n 1958, The Fisherman, weekly newspaper of the United Fishermen and A l l i e d Workers Union, asked me t o contribute an a r t i c l e on some aspect of the ea r l y h i s t o r y of fishermen's unions i n B r i t i s h Columbia. The Fraser River salmon fishermen's s t r i k e of 1900 was an obvious choice of subject, both because of the dramatic events of the s t r i k e and because i t marked the e f f e c t i v e beginning of unions i n the f i s h i n g industry of B r i t i s h Columbia. As part of the research on the t o p i c , I consulted the pioneering a r t i c l e s on the h i s t o r y of unions i n the f i s h i n g industry by Stuart Jamieson and Percy Gladstone, and found myself p a r t i c u l a r l y 1 i n t e r e s t e d i n t h e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the outcome of the 1900 s t r i k e . Their view i s that the s t r i k e ended when white and Indian s t r i k e r s " c a p i t u l a t e d " a f t e r the Japanese went back t o f i s h i n g under p r o t e c t i o n . 2 of the m i l i t i a . A c a r e f u l c o l l a t i o n of contemporary newspaper 1 Stuart Jamieson and Percy Gladstone collaborated i n two a r t i c l e s published as "Unionism i n the Fishi n g Industry of B r i t i s h Columbia," Canadian Journal of Economics and P o l i t i c a l Science (hereafter c i t e d as CJEPS), v o l . 16 (February 1950), pp. 1-11; and v o l . 16 (May 1950), pp. 146-171. Gladstone wrote a further a r t i c l e "Native Indians and. the F i s h i n g Industry of B r i t i s h Columbia," CJEPS, v o l . 19 (February 1953), PP. 20-34. 2 Percy Gladstone and Stuart Jamieson, "Unionism i n the Fishing Industry of B r i t i s h Columbia," CJEPS, v o l . 16 (May 1950), p. 156. - i x - accounts, which reported the s t r i k e i n great d e t a i l , seemed t o me t o o f f e r evidence f o r a d i f f e r e n t i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the r e s u l t s of the s t r i k e , and t h i s evidence I presented i n the a r t i c l e i n 3 The Fisherman. Subsequently, Mr. Gladstone allowed me to read the f i r s t k d r a f t of h i s M.A. t h e s i s , which presented i n more d e t a i l the h i s t o r i c a l evidence on which h i s a r t i c l e s written i n c o l l a b o r a t i o n with Dr. Jamieson had been based. This evidence f a i l e d t o a l t e r my impression that what Gladstone and Jamieson considered a major defeat could not r e a l l y have been so, since on the very heels of the s t r i k e came the cr e a t i o n of the f i r s t coast-wide fishermen's union, the Grand lodge of B r i t i s h Columbia Fishermen's Unions, whose organization began i n September, 1900. It was also apparent t o me that the wide scope of Gladstone's subject had compelled him to l i m i t the depth of treatment o f any si n g l e part of i t , and that, therefore, a re-examination o f at l e a s t a p o r t i o n of the p e r i o d would be p r o f i t a b l e . In returning t o t h i s t o p i c i n the present study, I have t r i e d , before proceeding t o an analysis o f the s t r i k e i t s e l f , t o put the s t r i k e o f 1900 i n i t s h i s t o r i c a l s e t t i n g . This has involved an o u t l i n e of the development of relevant features i n the growth o f 3 "Real Story o f the 1900 Fraser S t r i k e , " The Fisherman [Vancouver], March Ik, 1958, pp. 9, 11. h Percy Gladstone, " I n d u s t r i a l Disputes i n the Commercial F i s h e r i e s of B r i t i s h Columbia," .unpublished M.A. t h e s i s , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1959. - X - the canning industry; and a d e t a i l e d examination of labor r e l a t i o n s i n the industry i n the decade following I889, the year l i c e n s e l i m i t a t i o n began on the Fraser River. Events leading t o the e a r l i e r s t r i k e of 1893 have been re-examined i n l i g h t of p o s i t i v e evidence on the e f f e c t s of l i c e n s e l i m i t a t i o n , and changes i n f i s h p r i c e s and f i s h e r y regulations i n the years from 1893 t o I899 have been t r a c e d . Only a f t e r what seems t o me t h i s e s s e n t i a l c l e a r i n g of the ground, have I attempted t o analyze the causes, the events and the r e s u l t s of the 1900 s t r i k e . The present study, by examining i n d e t a i l the beginnings of trade unions i n one of the c h i e f resource i n d u s t r i e s of B r i t i s h Columbia at a p e r i o d when canned salmon was a p r i n c i p a l export staple of the p r o v i n c i a l economy, also attempts t o make a c o n t r i b u t i o n t o the a n a l y s i s o f the growth o f the labor and s o c i a l i s t movement i n the province. The formative years of the r a d i c a l movement i n B r i t i s h Columbia l i e within the p e r i o d o f the foundation of the province's economy from 1871 t o 191^, and more e s p e c i a l l y w i t h i n the two decades from 1890 to 1910. The roots of the r a d i c a l t r a d i t i o n must, therefore, be sought i n t h i s period, and I am convinced that, before any generalizations can be made with authority, d e t a i l e d studies must be undertaken o f the environment i n which m i l i t a n t labor and s o c i a l i s t leaders rose t o prominence i n the basic i n d u s t r i e s . Fishermen's unions have a h i s t o r y of l e f t - w i n g leader- ship which p e r s i s t s t o the present day, and the present study seeks t o explain the s p e c i f i c context i n which that leadership began. - x i - Committed as I am t o t h i s approach, I beli e v e that generalizations about the r e l a t i v e strength of the la b o r and s o c i a l i s t movement i n B r i t i s h Columbia before Vforld War I are, i n the present state o f research, of very l i m i t e d value. An example of such an e f f o r t at ge n e r a l i z a t i o n i s set f o r t h i n an essay by 5 Paul Fox. Fox sees as the major f a c t o r i n the growth i n t h i s p e r i o d of r a d i c a l i s m i n B r i t i s h Columbia the existence of r e l a t i v e l y l a r g e - s c a l e i n d u s t r i e s , l i k e c o a l and metal mining and lumbering, with t h e i r l a r g e pools of s e m i - s k i n ed and tr a n s i e n t labor, which had t o compete with Ori e n t a l s , i n an area also r e c e i v i n g l a r g e numbers of B r i t i s h and American immigrants. Other f a c t o r s , he thinks, were the l a c k of the s t a b i l i z i n g e f f e c t s of la r g e - s c a l e a g r i c u l t u r e and the v u l n e r a b i l i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia t o American 6 r a d i c a l ideas. As Fox acknowledges, t h i s explanation i s not o r i g i n a l : 7 h i s s p e c i f i c points are paraphrased from a study by Ronald Grantham. Grantham, however, o f f e r s none of the d e t a i l e d documentation which, 8 i n my view, i s fundamental t o such an a n a l y s i s . Two other academic 5 Paul W. Fox, "Early Socialism i n Canada," The P o l i t i c a l Process i n Canada, ed. J. H. .Aitchison, Toronto, Un i v e r s i t y of Toronto Press, 1963, PP. 79-98. 6 Ibid., p. 85. 7 Ronald Grantham, "Some Aspects of the S o c i a l i s t Movement i n B r i t i s h Columbia, I898-I933," unpublished M.A. t h e s i s , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 19^*2. 8 Ibid., pp. 7-8 (Introduction). - x i i - studies i n t h i s f i e l d , by John T. Saywell and T. R. Loosmore, add nothing i n the way o f convincing general a n a l y s i s . Saywell applies what he simply r e f e r s t o , without elaboration or supporting evidence, as "the f r o n t i e r hypothesis" t o explain the gains o f the labor and 9 s o c i a l i s t movements i n B r i t i s h Columbia up t o 1903. Loosmore provides d e t a i l e d and s o l i d documentation, but he makes a point of avoiding general explanations, because he sees h i s own work as merely complementary t o studies of the S o c i a l i s t movement l i k e those of 10 Grantham and Saywell. A working hypothesis superior t o any of these explanations seems t o me t o be that while unionism does not n e c e s s a r i l y l e a d t o socialism, trade unions do provide a f e r t i l e seed-bed f o r s o c i a l i s t ideas. I i n c l i n e t o the view put forward by Stuart Jamieson i n h i s consideration of a p o s s i b l e regional b a s i s f o r i n d u s t r i a l disputes 11 i n t h i s province. Jamieson o f f e r s a s e r i e s of a l t e r n a t i v e explanations f o r the prevalence o f s t r i k e s i n B r i t i s h Columbia i n the years before 1914. Some of these explanations p a r a l l e l the ones o f f e r e d by 9 John Tupper Saywell, "Labour and Socialism i n B r i t i s h Columbia: A survey o f H i s t o r i c a l Development before 1903," B r i t i s h Columbia H i s t o r i c a l Quarterly, v o l . 15 (July-October 1951), p. 1^9. 10 Thomas Robert Loosmore, "The B r i t i s h Columbia Labor Movement • and P o l i t i c a l Action, 1879-1906," unpublished M.A. t h e s i s , Univer- s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1954, pp. 220-1, 22h. 11 Stuart Jamieson, "Regional Factors i n I n d u s t r i a l C o n f l i c t : The Case of B r i t i s h Columbia," CJEPS, v o l . 28 (August 1962), pp. 1*05-416. - x i i i - Grantham, Saywell and Fox: that the--frontier produces r a d i c a l and mi l i t a n t labor movements and p o l i t i c a l parties, that the conditions creating r a d i c a l ideologies r e f l e c t the wide cleavage of interest and viewpoint between labor and management, and that the theories of class c o n f l i c t , which are an i n t e g r a l part of these ideologies, 12 provide a rationale f o r s t r i k e action. Another explanation he advances i s , however, of a different order. He points out that a survey of dozens of industries i n eleven countries has shown that certain industries are strike-prone. The authors of the survey l i s t the industries with a high incidence of strikes as mining, maritime, 13 longshoring, lumber and t e x t i l e s . I f "maritime" i s considered to include f i s h i n g , these, with the exception of t e x t i l e s , are among the chief industries of B r i t i s h Columbia i n the years under study. As Jamieson says, i f t h i s l i n e of reasoning i s followed, then the usual argument about the place of r a d i c a l ideologies i n i n d u s t r i a l c o n f l i c t i n the province must be completely reversed: the ideology w i l l be seen as a product, not a cause, of c o n f l i c t . But only through a detailed examination industry by industry of i n d u s t r i a l c o n f l i c t s during the period can t h i s promising avenue of approach be explored. The present study, as w e l l as analyzing 12 Stuart Jamieson, "Regional Factors i n Industrial C o n f l i c t : The Case of B r i t i s h Columbia," CJEPS, v o l . 28 (August 1962), p. klO. 13 Clark Kerr and Abraham Siegel, "The Interindustry Propensity to S t r i k e — a n International Comparison," Industrial C o n f l i c t , ed. Arthur Kbrnhausen, Robert Dubin, and Arthur M. Ross, New York, McGraw-Hill, 195^, pp. 189-212, c i t e d i n i b i d . , p. hlO. - xiv - and documenting the 1900 strike, i s also an attempt, as far as the Fraser River salmon canning industry i s concerned, to provide a basis for evaluating this hypothesis. This study could not have been completed without the f a c i l i t i e s for research and writing placed at my disposal by Willard E. Ireland, Provincial librarian and Archivist. My thanks go to him and to members of the staffs of the Provincial Library and the Provincial Archives for their help, especially to Christine Fox and James Mitchell of the library and to Inez Mitchell, Dr. Dorothy Blakey Smith and Frances WDodward of the Archives. Anne Carson Yandle of the Special Collections Division, University of British Columbia library, was most generous i n making available materials on a long-term basis. I also wish to express my appreciation to Dr. Margaret A. Ormsby of the Department of History, whose editorial suggestions did much to c l a r i f y my often turgid presentation, and to my wife who vowed she would never type another thesis, but did. Finally, I want to thank the family of John Stevens, a pioneer Fraser River fisherman, for making available to me, and later presenting to the Provincial Archives, a fishing license and contract for the season of 1889, which are to my knowledge the only such documents surviving from that period. Their sense of history i s , unfortunately, too rare among descendents of the pioneers of the salmon canning industry. CHAPTER I THE FRASER RIVER SALMON CANNING INDUSTRY- - GROWTH PATTERNS At the end o f the f i s h i n g season of 1899, the salmon canning industry o f the Fraser River had completed nearly t h i r t y years of operation, during which time the canning of salmon had grown from an experimental novelty t o the source of B r i t i s h Columbia's 1 second l a r g e s t export. When B r i t i s h Columbia entered Confederation, i t s p o t e n t i a l l y r i c h salmon f i s h e r i e s were p r a c t i c a l l y undeveloped: canning of salmon on a commercial scale had just begun, although s a l t i n g had been c a r r i e d on since 1829 when i t was undertaken at 2 Fort Langley by the Hudson's Bay Company. In 1899, on the Fraser 3 River alone, 46 canneries packed 486,409 cases of salmon. Fundamental to the pattern of growth of the Fraser River industry are the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s p e c u l i a r t o the sockeye salmon (Qncorhynchus nerka) of that r i v e r system, since the sockeye was, i n the pe r i o d 1870-1900, canned almost t o the exclusion of any of the other species of salmon that spawn i n i t s t r i b u t a r y streams and la k e s . 1 B r i t i s h Columbia Board of Trade ( V i c t o r i a ) , Annual Report, 1900, P. 53. 2 E. 0. S. S c h o l e f i e l d and F. W. Howay, B r i t i s h Columbia From the E a r l i e s t Times t o the Present, Vancouver, S. J._ Clarke, 1914, v o l . 2 [by F. W..Howay] pp. 584-5. 3 Table I, p. 2 below. - 2 - TABLE I CANNERIES FRASER RIVER a NUMBER OPERATING, TOTAL PACK OF SOCKEYE SALMON BY YEARS I876-I9OI Year Canneries Pack Year Canneries Pack 1876 3 10,047 I889 16 303,875 1877 5 64,3^7 I890 17 241,889 1878 8 105,101 1891 21 178,95^ 1879 7 50,490 I892 16 79,715 1880 7 1+2,155 1893 26 b 457,797 1881 8 142,516 1894 28 b 363,967 1882 13 199,104 1895 28 b 400,368 1883 13 109,701 I896 34 b 356,984 1884 6 38,437 1897 42 b 860,459 1885 6 89,617 I898 46 c 256,101 1886 11 99,177 1899 46 c 486,409 170,889' 1887 12 130,088 1900 45 c 1888 12 76,616 1901 49 c 974,911 a Annual Reports of the Inspector of Fisheries for B r i t i s h Columbia, Canada,Parliament, Sessional Papers (hereafter c i t e d as Canada, S.P.), for relevant years. b During these years, either Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company or V i c t o r i a Canning Company, or both, lumped together the production of a l l t h e i r Fraser River plants into a single production f i g u r e . It i s therefore uncertain whether i n any given year they operated a l l of t h e i r plants. Some of the plants involved were unquestionably "dummy" canneries which put up no pack of t h e i r own, but enabled the owners to get additional f i s h i n g licenses. (See Chapter I I , p. 43 below). These canneries have been eliminated where they are known not to have packed. c Total for canneries operating includes for the years 1898, 1899 one cannery located on English Bay, and for the years 1900, 1901 two canneries on English Bay. The pack of these canneries was nearly a l l Fraser River f i s h . - 3 - The average Fraser River sockeye matures at four years of age. It spends from f i v e to nine months i n the gravel of the stream where i t i s spawned, another year i n a lake before migrating t o the sea, and two and a h a l f years f a r out i n the P a c i f i c Ocean. When mature, i t migrates back to the coast, passes up the r i v e r to i t s home stream again, spawns and di e s . Because of the four-year l i f e span, the same spawning ground can, and often does, support four r e l a t i v e l y d i s t i n c t f a m i l i e s of sockeye, each with a separate l i n e of descent, c a l l e d a c y c l e . The brood year of a generation of sockeye i s k c a l l e d the cycle year. On the Fraser River, one cycle year out of the four tends t o become dominant, that i s , the return of spawning f i s h f o r that year i s many times that of the return of the smallest year. A second cycle year also i s l a r g e r than the two remaining years and i s r e f e r r e d to as sub-dominant. This dominance i s n a t u r a l l y established, and long before the canning industry was established, was observed at Hudson's Bay posts on the Fraser and i t s t r i b u t a r i e s . During the period we are concerned with, the dominant year (also and confusingly r e f e r r e d t o as the cycle year) was the year a f t e r leap years, that i s , 1 8 7 3 , 1 8 7 7 , 1 8 8 1 , 1 8 8 5 , I 8 8 9 , I 8 9 3 , 1 8 9 7 , 1 9 0 1 . The sub-dominant year followed 5 the dominant year. k P h i l i p Gilhousen, Migratory Behaviour of Adult Fraser River Sockeye, i960, International P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s Commission, Progress Report [unnumberedj , pp. 2-6. 5 F. J. Ward and P. A. Larkin, C y c l i c Dominance i n Adams River Sockeye Salmon, 196k, International P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s Commission, Progress Report no. 11, pp. 4-12. - k - Each annual return of spawners consists of a number of individual runs or races which pass in succession up the river. Each race has its own separate spawning period and each spawns in a partic- ular stream (for example, the Early Stuart run and the Later Stuart run). Although the differences in the individual runs are not visible to the naked eye, scientists have devised a method of distinguishing between races by examination of the scales of the fish. By this means, it is possible to say that the average race of sockeye takes about a month to pass a given point, but that two-thirds of the fish pass the 6 point in from a week to twelve days. The conditions, therefore, governing the commercial sockeye fishery on the Fraser River are a short season with sharp peaks of intensive fishing effort and a wide variation between one year and the next in numbers of sockeye returning to spawn. The pattern of cyclic dominance is not fully reflected in the catch statistics of the early years of the salmon canning industry. Limitations on the pack, in most years of these first two decades, were from causes other than lack of fish. Not until the industry began to attain its full growth in the late l890's did the phenomenon 7 of the one big catch every four years become pronounced. The growth of the industry on the Fraser River is marked by two phases: the period from the beginning to 1890, marked by more or 6 Gilhousen, Migratory Behaviour of Adult Fraser River Sockeye, p. k. 7 See Table I, p.2 above. - 5 - l e s s steady increases, as the industry r e f i n e d i t s techniques and consolidated i t s organization, and the period from 1 8 9 0 t o the t u r n of the century, a boom that culminated i n a series of s t r i k e s and company mergers. Limitations on the growth of the industry i n the decades I87O-I89O were of several kinds. The technology was p r i m i t i v e ; slow and i n e f f i c i e n t hand methods were used i n most phases of the pro- cessing. Workers were scarce and the canneries had to compete with mining "rushes" and railway construction. Many entrants i n t o the industry d i d not have enough c a p i t a l ; they could not survive the ups and downs created by f l u c t u a t i o n s i n the sockeye run and changes i n market conditions. Hand processes were generally recognized t o be the "bottle 8 neck" i n the industry. One of the c h i e f l i m i t s on the packing process was the necessity of making the t i n p l a t e containers by a s e r i e s of operations that involved a large amount of hand labor. In the e a r l i e s t canneries, each can had to be cut by hand out of sheet t i n p l a t e , formed and soldered. By I 8 9 O , a s e r i e s of machines had been developed t o punch out body-pieces and tops and bottoms, as w e l l as to apply the solder. But these machines were s t i l l b a s i c a l l y aids to the 9 hand process, rather than an automatic manufacturing device. An 8 H. E. Gregory and Kathleen Barnes, North P a c i f i c F i s h e r i e s , New York, I n s t i t u t e of P a c i f i c Relations, 1939, P» 90, n. 2. 9 J . N. Cobb, P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s , kth ed., 1930, U.S. Depart- ment of Commerce, Bureau of F i s h e r i e s , F i s h e r i e s Document No. 1092, pp. 516-7. - 6 - automatic can-making machine was not introduced to British Columbia 10 u n t i l 1896. Even then many canners s t i l l believed that making their own cans was no more expensive, besides giving a longer season's work 11 to the Chinese crew they needed for packing. Can-making involved a nice calculation of the season's prospects. A t y p i c a l cannery, one which i n that period packed up to 13,000 cases, had to allow two 12 months for i t s crew to make the 650,000 to 700,000 cans required. Since cans were l i a b l e to rust, i t was not considered advisable to have too many on hand at the season's end. On the other hand, i f the pack were larger than expected the cannery could be out of cans with f i s h s t i l l running and with no means of quickly replenishing 13 i t s stock. A second limiting factor, this one i n the canning process i t s e l f , was the need to butcher the f i s h and f i l l the cans by hand. 10 J. C. Lawrence, "An Historical Account of the Early Salmon Canning Industry i n Brit i s h Columbia 1870-1900," unpublished graduating essay, University of British Columbia, 1951* P« 32, n. 78. 11 Canada, Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration, "Report and Minutes of Evidence," 1902, Canada, S.P., 1902, no. 54a, P. 135. 12 Alfred Carmichael, "Account of a Season's Work at a Salmon Cannery [;] Windsor Cannery, Aberdeen, Skeena," Provincial Archives of British Columbia manuscript, p. 1. Pack figures for I887-I89O, Canada, S.P.,* 1891, no. 8a, p. 179. 13 This situation was somewhat relieved i n the 1890's by the trans- fer of unused cans between canneries of the same company on the Fraser and northern rivers (Victoria Colonist [hereafter cited as Colonist] , Aug. 10, 1893, P. 2; Aug. 11, p. 5). Once the fish landed on the cannery floor, a dressing crew of from 15 to 20 men was needed to cut off heads, tails and fins and to Ik remove the entrails. An exceptionally fast worker was reported to he able to perform this operation at the rate of 2,000 fish in a 15 10-hour shift. The speed of workers filling the cans was estimated 16 at a dozen cans every four minutes, or from 1,200 to 1,400 cans per 17 shift. Estimates of productivity are difficult to arrive at. One authority estimates that, prior to the introduction of high-speed 18 machines, it took a crew of 300 to process 3 5000 cases a day. While these figures are not exclusively based on British Columbia production, all the canneries on the Pacific Coast from Paget Sound to Alaska used the same techniques. Fragmentary material from British Columbia for the year 1883 indicates productivity in the same range or slightly lower; that is, 100 to 150 workers were required to process 1,000 19 cases a day. At this time it was not possible to increase pro- duction by speeding up the canning "lines." This could only be done by adding more lines and increasing the crew in proportion. The Ik Cobb, Pacific Salmon Fisheries, p. 519' 15 Colonist, July 26, l 8 8 l , p. 3. 16 Carmichael, "Season's Work at Windsor Cannery," p. 7. 17 "Our Salmon and. Salmon Canneries," The Resources of British Columbia, vol. 1 (December 1883), p. k2.. 18 Gregory and Barnes, North Pacific Fisheries, p. 112. 19 See Table II, p. 8 below. - 8 - TABLE i l a B. C. CANNERIES 1883 SEASON'S PACK, DAILY CAPACITY, CANNERY CREW, FISHING BOATS, FISHERMEN jllgu r e s i n square brackets computed from data as given] Capacity (1) Pack per day Cannery Fishing (2) b (3) (1+2+3) 1883 cases Crew Boats Fishermen Others Total Fraser Pdver c Coquitlam 10,500 1,000 [55-130] 30 |120J 175-250 [Port Mann] C r- I Delta 11,735 [1,000?) 150 1*0 160 20 330 JLadner * s Landing] c Ewen & Co. 10,500 1,000 |l40-l6o] 35-40 Jl40-l6q) - 300 [New Westminster} c Richmond 8,900 600 - - [On Richmond I s . - North Arm below Marpole] c Wadham's 11,600 1,000 - - - 245 [Ladner's Landing] Northern c Rivers Inlet 10,780 1,000 120 40 160 [20] 300 [mouth of Owikeno River] a "Our Salmon and Salmon Canneries," The Resources of B r i t i s h Columbia. v o l . ,1 (December 1883), pp. 42-44. This table brings together evidence on productivity per cannery worker and on s h i f t work by fishermen. Although the data i s fragmentary, i t i s s t i l l the most complete found f o r t h i s early period. b Two men to a boat, two s h i f t s per day. c Pack figures f o r Delta and Rivers Inlet canneries are taken from Canada, S.P., 1889, no. 8, p. .235, which also records the pack of the other canneries l i s t e d t u t with minor variations from figures i n the table above: Coquitlam - 9,630 cases; Ewen & Co. - 10,438 cases; Richmond - 9,200 casesj Wadham's - 11,856 cases. - 9 - "Iron Chink" and the automatic can-filler, which permitted a speed- up of the processing and at the same time a reduced crew (75 for 20 3,000 cases a day), did not come into use until after the period under consideration. Efforts by the canners to expand their production were bound, therefore, to create an increasing demand for seasonal labor. This demand could not easily be supplied from the small population of British Columbia during this period: 36,247 in 1871, 49,459 in 21 l 8 8 l and 98,173 in 1891. Especially was this true in the earlier part of the three decades under study for in 1871 there were only 9,038 whites and negroes and 1,548 Chinese in the new province. The bulk of the population was native Indian, estimates of whose numbers range from 25,66l to 40,000. Even allowing for a wide margin of error in enumeration, the Indians were the largest single labor force in 1871. In l 8 8 l they still made up about half the population, and. in I 8 9 I , one-third. Their predominance in the population made them a potential source of labor for the infant- salmon canning industry. Another, group who could similarly be expected to provide labor were the Chinese. Their numbers in 1871 were given as 1,548, in 1881 as 4,350 and in I89I as 8,910. On the other hand, there were not many white laborers available in the 30-year period, and most especially in the 1870*s and l880's. Most white laborers were 20 Gregory and Barnes, North Pacific Fisheries, p. 112. 21 See Table III, p. 10 below. - 10 - TABLE I I I a POPULATION OF BRITISH COLUMBIA 1871, l88l, I89I, 1901 A l l Others Including Whites T o t a l Native Year Indians Chinese Japanese 1871 b 25,661 b 1,548 1881 c 25,661 d c 4,350 e - 1891 35,202 8,910 - 1901 g 25,488 g 14,576 g 4,515 b b 9,038 36,247 [19,448] 49,459 f [54,063] 98,173 [134,078] 178,657S a Figures i n square brackets are computed from data as given. b Census of Canada, I89I, v o l . 1, p. 366; B r i t i s h Columbia Blue Book, 1870, c i t e d i n Langevin, H. L. "Report on B r i t i s h Columbia," Canada, S.P., 1872, no. 10, pp. 22-3 gives.white 8,576, negro 462, Chinese 1,548 - t o t a l 10,586. Indians estimated as 35,000-40,000. c Census of Canada, l 8 8 l , v o l . 1, pp. 298-9 (Table I I I - Origins of the People); Canada, Department of Indian Affairs,."Annual.Report," l 8 8 l , Canada, S.P., 1882, no. 6, pp. 221-3, gives Indian t o t a l as 35,052 ( p a r t l y estimated). d Canada, Department of Indian A f f a i r s , "Annual Report," 1891, Canada, S.P., I892, no. 14, part 1, p. 253, t o t a l 35,202 ( p a r t l y estimated). e Census of Canada, I89I, v o l . 8, p. 332 (Table I I - Places of B i r t h ) . f Ibid., 1891, v o l . 1, p. 366 (Table VI - Population of 1871, l 8 8 l , I89I.compared by E l e c t o r a l D i s t r i c t s ) . g Ibid., 1901, v o l . 1, pp. 2, 5,4l6; Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration, "Report," 1902; Canada, S.P., 1902, no. 54, p. 8, gives the.figures as Chinese l4,376, Japanese 4,578, Whites and Indians 157,815; Census of Canada, 1931, v o l . 1, pp. 731-2 (Table 35 - Racial Origins of the population, r u r a l and urban, Canada and provinces, 1871, 1881, 1901 - 1931) gives f i g u r e s as Indian 28,949, Chinese 14,985, Japanese 4,597; Canada, Department o f Indian A f f a i r s , "Annual Report," 1901, Canada, S.P., 1902, no. 27, part 2, p. 180, estimates the Indian t o t a l as 24,57oT~ - 11 - laborers from necessity. They waited only f o r news of a f r e s h " s t r i k e " 22 t o leave t h e i r jobs and j o i n the rush t o the new diggings. A shortage of labor plagued the canneries throughout t h e i r e a r l y years. This shortage was mostly i n the canning p r o c e s s — w i t h a l i m i t e d number of canneries and a r e l a t i v e abundance of f i s h , a very few fishermen were e a s i l y able to keep the slow-moving cannery l i n e s busy. Their effectiveness was increased by the p r a c t i c e of 23 working two 12-hour s h i f t s of two men per boat. The labor shortage was i n r e l a t i v e l y s k i l l e d cannery processes of can-making, butchering, f i l l i n g , t e s t i n g and l a b e l l i n g . The canneries d i d draw on the l a r g e s t labor pool i n the p r o v i n c e — t h e native Indians. With t h e i r s k i l l as boatmen and t h e i r age-old t r a d i t i o n s as salmon fishermen, the Indians were quick t o adapt t o the g i l l n e t s k i f f s used i n the commercial f i s h e r y . In the e a r l i e s t years they provided the b u l k - - i f not a l l — o f the a c t u a l 2k fishermen. The t r a n s i t i o n t o the factory-type work involved i n 22 Canada, House o f Commons, Select Committee on Chinese Laborrand Immigration, "Report," Journals, 1879» app. k} p. 38 (testimony of F. J . Barnard). 23 "Our Salmon and Salmon Canneries," The Resources of B r i t i s h Columbia, v o l . 1 (December 1883), pp. k3. 2k Henry Doyle asserted that before 1882 p r a c t i c a l l y a l l the f i s h e r - men were Indians (George A. Rounsefell and George B. Kelez, The Salmon and Salmon F i s h e r i e s of Swiftsure Bank, Paget Sound and the Fraser River, 1938, U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of F i s h e r i e s , B u l l e t i n No. 27, p. 705). Henry Doyle (l874-196l) was a l i f e - l o n g p a r t i c i p a n t i n and a student of the P a c i f i c Coast salmon f i s h e r i e s . He must have given t h i s information d i r e c t l y to Rounsefell and Kelez, since h i s help "for valuable information and s t a t i s t i c s of e a r l y f i s h i n g on the Fraser River" i s acknowledged (p. 701) and the a s s e r t i o n does not - 12 - cannery processing was more difficult for them, which is one reason for the predominance in this phase of the industry of another ethnic group, the Chinese. Although there appears to have been an attempt by the 25 operators at first to use white labor, the Chinese had for most of the l870's and l880's, a virtual monopoly of the semi-skilled labor needed in the canning process. Whites were either mechanics or supervisors. The initial entry of the Chinese into the canneries could have been expected from the size of that ethnic group in a small population—other provincial industries, like gold, and coal mining, also depended on Chinese labor. Chinese entry may also have been made easier by their previous experience on the Sacramento and Columbia River, industries. Certainly they migrated freely up and 26 down the Pacific Coast from one salmon river to another, until the appear in the only work by Doyle listed in the bibliography. Doyle's work for years of which he did not himself have knowledge often does not check with other sources. In this case, however, Doyle is sup- ported by John Buie, Fishery Guardian on the Fraser River, who reported in 1887 that the gillnet boats were "nearly all manned by natives"still (Canada, S.P., 1888, no. 6, p. 257). On the other hand, A. C. Anderson, Inspector of Fisheries for British Columbia from 1876 to 1884, implies that only a proportion (not stated) of the fishermen were Indians ("Annual Report," 1878, Canada, S.P., 1879, no. 3, app. 1, pp. 293, 297). Cf. "Our Salmon and Salmon Canneries," The Resources of British Columbia, vol. .1 (December 1883), p. 43 which indicates that there were a number of white fishermen. 2 5 Canada, Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration, "Evidence," 1885, Canada, S.P., 1885, no. 54a, p. 56 (evidence of J. S. Helmcken).. 26 Canada, House of Commons, Select Committee on Chinese labor and Immigration, "Report," Journals, l879> aPP« 4, pp. 16, 31, 44, 54; Colonist, Aug. 2, l 8 8 l ; p. 2; Aug. 7, p. 3; Aug. 9, p. 3. - 13 - operation of United States1 Chinese Restriction acts in the early 27 l880's cut their freedom of movement between the two countries. In any case, they soon became an indispensable source of relatively skilled labor—so much so that the proprietors felt they 28 could not carry on without them. The contract system of hiring Chinese ensured to the canners a supply of skilled labor. That was its chief advantage to the owners and its provision of labor at low 29 rates was only secondary. The proportion of Indians to Chinese seems to have risen during the l880's, partly as a result of restrictions on the Chinese at a time when the demands of the canning industry were increasing. In the late l870*s the Chinese appear to have had an almost complete monopoly of the canning process, even in the northern canneries which, because of their distance from the main population centres, were, and 30 are, more dependent on Indian labor. On the Fraser River the 27 Canada, Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration, "Report of Commissioner J. A. Chapleau," Canada, S.P., 1885, no. 54a, p. cvi. •28 Ibid., pp. 85, 97, 113, 114 (evidence of cannery agents and owners Robert Ward, Thomas E. Ladner, W. B. Adair, D. R. Lord). 29 But see Lawrence, "Salmon Canning Industry," pp. 6I-65, where he argues that the chief reason for the contract system was to obtain cheap labor. Another attractive feature of the contract, which was in terms of so many cents per case, appears to be that it readily related the cost of packing to the selling price per case, a distinct advantage in the days before highly-developed cost accounting procedures. 30 "Annual Report of the Inspector of Fisheries for British Columbia, 1878, Canada, S.P., 1879, no. 3, app. 1, p. 297; "Annual Report of the Inspector of Fisheries for British Columbia," 1879, Canada, S.P., 1880, no. 9, app. 1, pp. 283-4. - 14 - employment of Indian labor i n canning processes i s mentioned as a novelty i n the season of l 8 8 l . It appears t o have r e s u l t e d from Chinese attempts t o prevent i n t r o d u c t i o n of a soldering machine, which would cut the hand work i n can-making, then being done by the 31 Chinese. By 1883 canneries along the northern coast are reported 32 as employing Indian men and women i n processing. But a s i m i l a r report on the Fraser River canneries mentions Indian women only as 33 net makers and i n d i c a t e s that the men were fishermen. A tabular statement f o r the season of 1884, covering the whole coast, gives t o t a l s as f o l l o w s : Whites 273 Indians (men and women) 1,280 Chinamen [sic] 1,157 2,710 The statement goes on t o say that the Indians " f i s h f o r and clean salmon and Chinamen make the cans (with the a i d of machinery), f i l l 34 . them and solder them up, e t c . " Af t e r the head tax of 1885 and the 35 a p p l i c a t i o n of other r e s t r i c t i o n s against Chinese immigrants, a prominent canner could argue i n 1892 that h i s cannery 31 Colonist, July 26, l 8 8 l , p. 3; July 30, p. 3; Aug. 2, p. 2. 32 "The North-West Coast," The Resources o f B r i t i s h Columbia, v o l . 1 (June 1883), P. 13. • • 33 "Cur Salmon and Salmon Canneries," The Resources o f B r i t i s h Columbia, v o l . 1 (December 1883), p. 43.. 34 T. Revely, Agent, Department of Marine and F i s h e r i e s , V i c t o r i a t o N. F. Davin, Secretary, Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration, Aug. 22, 1884, Canada, S.P., 1885, no. 54a, p. 395. 35 The Chinese Immigration Act, 1885, 48-49 V i c . Chap. 71. - 15 - needed i t s own boats and l i c e n s e s t o a t t r a c t and hold Indian fishermen with t h e i r f a m i l i e s , because "there are not so many Chinamen as there were." In ad d i t i o n t o the labor r e g u l a r l y provided by women, boys and men who were not fishermen, the fishermen were needed t o help 36 i n s i d e the cannery i n case of any rush. With a l l the Chinese and Indian help they could get, the canneries were s t i l l l i m i t e d i n t h e i r pack by a labor shortage i n cycl e years throughout the l880's. In l88l, the Inspector of Fi s h e r i e s f o r B r i t i s h Columbia reported that the canneries "were not worked up to t h e i r f u l l capacity, owing t o the de f i c i e n c y of labor, 37 a r i s i n g from the increased demand f o r railway and other purposes." The Colonist said, "Never i n the h i s t o r y of the province has labor, 38 both white and Chinese, been so d i f f i c u l t t o procure as at present."' The steamer Princess Louise made t r i p s to Tacoma hoping t o embark Chinese from the Columbia River canneries where the season was ending, 39 but with i n d i f f e r e n t success. In the next cycle year, 1885, the usual labor shortage d i d not m a t e r i a l i z e . Because of the large carry-over of canned salmon and the depressed state of the market, ho only s i x canneries operated. But i n 1889 the story of labor shortages was again repeated, with the Inspector of Fi s h e r i e s 36 Canada, B r i t i s h Columbia Fishery Commission, "Evidence, " I892, Canada, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, p. 117 (evidence of Alexander Ewen). 37 Canada, S.P., 1882, no. 5, supp. 2, p. 202. 38 Aug. Ih, 1881, p. 3. 39 Colonist, Aug. 7, l88l, p. 3; Aug. 9, p. 3. 1+0 Canada, S.P., 1886, no. 11 ( F i s h e r i e s ) , p. 273. - 16 - estimating that an additional 15,000,000 one-pound cans could have kl been put up if enough labor had been available. Besides mastering the techniques of a new industry and finding sufficient labor to perform the canning processes, the first canners had the twin problems of finding markets to absorb their product and capital to finance their operations. These problems did not promise to be easy of solution in British Columbia, a region thinly-populated and located at the outermost edge of European expansion. The community, moreover, was suffering from a depression associated with the rapid decline in returns from placer mining and had yet to- find a solid base for future growth. Fortunately for the first canners on the Fraser River, they did not have to pioneer a new product in markets as yet undeveloped, but were able to follow the path blazed by the canning industry of the United States Pacific coast. By the time the Fraser River industry was looking for markets, canned salmon from the Columbia River had already established itself in the English market. The only resistance faced by Fraser River canners, and this was soon overcome, was to gain the same acceptance for the redder, oilier sockeye as for the pinker and drier flesh of the Columbia River chinook. A secondary market existed in Australasia; this one likewise was already partially opened by shipments of salted salmon in barrels from British Columbia and tinned salmon from the United States. kl Canada, S.P., 1890, no. 17, p. 2k7. - 17 - The p r o v i s i o n of s u f f i c i e n t c a p i t a l f o r the expansion of the industry was a much more d i f f i c u l t problem t o solve. The industry could grow only by an i n f u s i o n of outside c a p i t a l or by generating i t s own c a p i t a l from p r o f i t s . The men who f i r s t entered i n t o the canning industry had l i t t l e c a p i t a l or t h e i r own and were not i n the established p o s i t i o n that would have enabled them t o borrow l a r g e amounts of money. Although Great B r i t a i n exported l a r g e amounts of c a p i t a l i n the p e r i o d 1870-1900, the flow t o Canada 43 had hardly begun i n 1870 and was not d i r e c t e d t o B r i t i s h Columbia. This l a c k of c a p i t a l i s one reason f o r the continued pro- cessing of s a l t salmon on the Fraser River i n the l a t e l860's, a f t e r canning had proven f e a s i b l e . The s a l t i n g of salmon, although l e s s p r o f i t a b l e than canning, was a l e s s d i f f i c u l t process, and the trade i n i t was an adjunct t o the export of lumber from Burrard I n l e t . It seems probable that the b a r r e l s and h a l f - b a r r e l s were so l d t o ships' k2 Henry Doyle remarked, "I do not know of a s i n g l e one of these pioneers who could be classed as a man of substance i n the f i n a n c i a l sense at the time he f i r s t engaged i n the i n d u s t r y " ("Rise and Decline o f the P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s , " U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia manuscript, v o l . 1, p. 22). Cf. .Kenneth Buckley on pioneers i n the wheat economy of the Canadian p r a i r i e s : "At the outset investment was l a r g e l y the expenditure of personal e f f o r t and savings upon opportunities recognized by those close at hand. Most of the f i r s t a r r i v a l s on the f r o n t i e r were North Americans. Their expenditures embodied knowledge gained from experience i n a s i m i l a r environment. Outside c a p i t a l was not a t t r a c t e d on a s i g n i f i c a n t scale u n t i l the boom was w e l l under way." ( C a p i t a l Formation i n Canada, l896-1930» Toronto, U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Press, 1955, p. 5). 43 A. K. Cairncross, Home and Foreign Investment 1870-1913: Studies i n C a p i t a l Accumulation, Cambridge, Cambridge Uni v e r s i t y Press, 1953, PP. 2-3. - 18 - 44 captains, who i n those days customarily traded on t h e i r own account. An immediate cash sale f o r the product, a strong consideration f or a packer with small c a p i t a l , could thereby be procured. Obtaining entry into the English market, whether for canned or s a l t e d salmon, presented d i f f i c u l t i e s to the man without much c a p i t a l . In the instance of canned salmon, a cycle of about 18 months elapsed from the time the t i n p l a t e was ordered i n England u n t i l the next season's pack was sol d . The need therefore was f o r long-term financing, which, at that period, was u n l i k e l y t o come from the banks. L i the l a t e l860's the Bank of B r i t i s h Columbia, f o r instance, had suffere d heavy losses amounting t o £80,000—from advances t o mer- 45 chants i n the colony on goods i n t r a n s i t . There was, however, another source of finance f o r the canners—the commission merchants. The commercial p r a c t i c e on the P a c i f i c Coast was f o r commission merchants to make advances i n the form of overdrawn accounts on goods i n - t r a n s i t . This p r a c t i c e , followed by the V i c t o r i a manager 44 The sin g l e d e t a i l e d example of the mechanics of t h i s trade which has been found involves a shipment t o Sydney, N.S.W. by James Syme. (See l e t t e r from Captain Alex. -Barrack to Syme, Sydney, Feb. 21, 1868, New Westminster, B r i t i s h Columbian [hereafter c i t e d as Columbian] May 9, 1868, p. 2j] In a d d i t i o n t o h a l f - b a r r e l s of s a l t salmon, Barrack had f o r trade two dozen two-pound t i n s of salmon. One dozen he gave away "to make them known," the other dozen he sold at 2s. 3d. a t i n . ' The b u i l t - i n l i m i t a t i o n s on t h i s method i n which the salmon had to be s o l d at once, were underlined by Barrack, who warned against importing too large a quantity "say not over 200 h a l f - b a r r e l s " [which would s e l l f o r about $7.00 a b a r r e l ] . 45 V i c t o r Ross, "The Bank of B r i t i s h Columbia," The History of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, Toronto, Oxford Uni v e r s i t y Press, 1920, v o l . 1, p. 315- - 19 - 46 o f the Bank of B r i t i s h Columbia, had caused the Bank's l o s s e s . From the very s t a r t of the canning industry the commission merchants of V i c t o r i a ( l a t e r also of San Francisco) provided the finances; the growth of the industry, i n f a c t , depended on t h e i r a b i l i t y t o 47 carry the producer u n t i l the pack was s o l d . At a l a t e r period, t h e i r advances were secured by c h a t t e l mortgages on the pack and HQ cannery. The names o f two firms of V i c t o r i a commission merchants and a partnership of two New Westminster general merchants are i d e n t i f i e d with the e a r l i e s t beginnings of Fraser River salmon canning. Lowe, Stahlschmidt and Co. f i r s t advertised i n 1871 as agents f o r Alexander Ewen, a Scottish-born fisherman who turned t o canning a f t e r f i r s t b u i l d i n g up a business i n the export of s a l t k9 salmon. Findlay, Durham and Brodie were by 1873 exporting salmon k6 Ross, "The Bank of B r i t i s h Columbia," The History o f the Can- adian Bank of Commerce, v o l . 1, pp. 309-314. 47 No d i r e c t evidence could be found on t h i s p o i n t . Assessments f o r trade l i c e n s e s i n V i c t o r i a f o r 1866 show none of the firms out- side the Hudson's Bay Company with a value of more than $77,525. It i s u n l i k e l y i n the economic conditions p r e v a i l i n g up t o 1871, t h a t . they increased t h e i r c a p i t a l (Vancouver Island, Gazette, v o l . 3 (February 28, 1866), pp. 3-17). 48 Doyle, " P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s , " v o l . 1, p. 24; Colonist, July 29, 1894, p. .5. No d i r e c t evidence of .these c h a t t e l mortgages could be found f o r the e a r l i e s t days of the industry. 49 V i c t o r i a Standard, Jan. 16, 1871, p. 2. In 1876, the firm, then Stahlschmidt and Co., became Stahlschmidt and Ward. In 1881, Ward bought out Stahlschmidt, h i s father-in-law, and the f i r m emerged as Robert A. Ward and Co. In 1891, i t was s a i d of the f i r m that "they had seen the f u l l career. [of the salmon f i s h e r i e s ] " ( V i c t o r i a . I l l u s t r a t e d , V i c t o r i a , ELLis & Co., 1891, p. 88). - 20 - as the agents f o r John S u l l i v a n Deas, who had h i s cannery on Deas 50 Island. Henry Holbrook and James Cunningham acquired the cannery st a r t e d i n 1871 by Captain Edward Stamp. Stamp died a f t e r operating f o r one season and by 1873 the premises were under the co n t r o l of 51 Holbrook and Cunningham. Neither Ewen, a fisherman, nor Deas, a tinsmith, was l i k e l y t o have l a r g e amounts of c a p i t a l , and Stamp was b a s i c a l l y a promoter; so i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g that two of the three canneries that survived the f i r s t years should have passed i n t o the hands of merchants. Ewen provides the exception, perhaps because he continued t o run h i s own s a l t i n g enterprise, even a f t e r entering i n t o a canning partnership. This enterprise may have been the source of the c a p i t a l needed t o 52 buy out h i s partners, which he had succeeded i n doing by 1878. 50 The r e l a t i o n s between Findlay, .Durham and Brodie and John S u l l i v a n Deas were obscure even i n the minds of contemporaries. Reports of the pack of the Deas Island cannery are often given under the name of Findlay, Durham and Brodie (Canada, S.P., 1874, no. 4, app. 5, P. 205; i b i d . , 1877, no. 5, F i s h e r i e s Appendices, p. 340). But Deas was c e r t a i n l y the cannery owner, u n t i l he sold out h i s . i n t e r e s t t o Findlay^ Durham and Brodie i n 1878 (New Westminster Mainland Guardian thereafter c i t e d as Mainland Guardian"] , Aug. 21, 1878, p. 2; Aug. 28, p. 2). 51 For Stamp's canning e f f o r t s see Mainland Guardian, June 20, 1871, p. 3; H. L. Langevin, "Report on B r i t i s h Columbia, Canada, S.P., 1872, no. 10, p. 15; Colonist, Nov. 2, l871, p. 3; Jan. 27, 1872, p.3 [report of h i s death! . 52 Mainland Guardian, Nov. 20, 1875, P. 2; June 8, 1879, p. 2. - 21 - These three canneries represent the f i r s t e f f o r t s . The firms named had a l l accumulated t h e i r c a p i t a l from dealings i n B r i t i s h Columbia. The second stage of the growth of the Fraser River canning industry began i n 1877. New canneries were financed by ca p i t a l from the United States, s p e c i f i c a l l y from C a l i f o r n i a and the Columbia River. These operators did t h e i r s e l l i n g and i t s attendant financing through the San Francisco f i r m of William T. Coleman and Co., 53 which was the largest i n the business on the P a c i f i c Coast. More l o c a l entrants were also attracted into the industry and the number of canneries rose to eight i n l88l. A survey i n that year by the Inspector of Fisheries for B r i t i s h Columbia estimated the value of plant for the eight canneries to be $188,000 and the amount of operating c a p i t a l needed for the season at $540,000. Of t h i s t o t a l , canneries backed by l o c a l c a p i t a l , rather than United States c a p i t a l , had a value of $1.11,000 i n plant and were able to c a l l on $311,000 f o r t h e i r operating needs. The l o c a l c a p i t a l involved i n salmon canning, therefore, amounted to $422,000. This sum had been accumulated i n two ways: by l o c a l businesses operating i n B r i t i s h Columbia, and i n some cases, down the P a c i f i c 54 Coast, and by the cannery operators themselves out of p r o f i t s . The 1880's were years of comparative doldrums for the canneries. After the p r o f i t a b l e cycle year of l88l, the number of 53 Doyle, " P a c i f i c Salmon Fisheries," v o l . 1, p. 25. 54 Canada, S.P., 1882, supp. 2, p. 223. - 22 - canneries rose to 13 i n 1882, but the figure dropped to s i x i n 1884 55 and d i d not reach and pass the 13 mark again u n t i l l889o Reasons for t h i s slump are varied. The P a c i f i c Coast was booming, and B r i t i s h Columbia was experiencing a labor shortage associated with railway construction. In addition many of the operators could pack only i n years of strong market demand. In the middle 80's prices were depressed by large packs of Columbia River salmon that clogged 56 the English market. Those operators whose backer was William T. Coleman of San Francisco had t h e i r canneries t i e d up i n the l i t i g a t i o n caused by h i s double-dealing and suffered losses when he was declared 57 bankrupt. The change of pace i n the industry i n the decade of the l890's was s t a r t l i n g . In 1889, 16 canneries operated on the Fraser 58 River; i n 1899, 46 plants packed salmon. This boom brought the industry t o the c r i s i s of 1900-1901. The i n f l u x of new c a p i t a l into the industry seems to have been decisive i n causing i t s growth. Both new canneries and new operators marked the pattern of the 1890*s and gave the decade some of i t s feverish character. The ambitions of new operations doomed attempts at l i m i t a t i o n s which might have produced a more orderly expansion and perhaps have avoided the "bust" 55 See Table I, page 2 above. 56 Canada, S.P., 1885, no. 9 (Fisheries), p. 258. 57 Doyle, " P a c i f i c Salmon Fisheries," v o l . 1, pp. 156-180. 58 See Table I, page 2 above. - 23 - that followed the "boom.11 The origins of the new c a p i t a l i n the industry are therefore worth examining. The f i r s t expansion was undertaken by the established operators i n the business. In 1889, a new l i m i t e d company, B r i t i s h Columbia Canning Company, Limited, was incorporated i n London, England, by a group i n which the p r i n c i p a l s of Findlay, Durham and Brodie were prominent. Authorized c a p i t a l was £100,000 i n £1 shares; 35,000 preference and 35,000 ordinary shares were offered to the public and were reported to have found ready acceptance. The new company acquired four canneries for £34,000; the plant on Deas Island operated previously by Findlay, Durham and Brodie, and three northern canneries, one each on Rivers In l e t , the Skeena River and 59 the Nass River. The p r o f i t a b i l i t y of t h i s enterprise can be followed i n the reports of the di r e c t o r s . After t h e i r f i r s t season i n 1889, the directors reported that they had bought a second property on Rivers 60 Inlet for £6,065. But i n spite of t h i s expense, they were able to report a net p r o f i t of nearly £19,000 on operations of the f i r s t two 61 seasons. This represents a return of over 50 percent on the o r i g i n a l purchase cost of the four canneries. The fact that t h i s rate was not 62 maintained into the t h i r d year d i d not a l t e r the general impression 59 Colonist, March 24, 1889, p. 4. 60 Ibid., July 22, 1890, p. 8. 61 Ibid., Aug. 14, 1890, p. 2. 62 Ibid.,Nov-6,1892, p. 8. - 24 - that the company was very successful and that i t s example was one t o he emulated. Another pioneer canner, Alexander Ewen, who i n 1889 had the l a r g e s t cannery on the r i v e r , also expanded h i s operations. By t h i s time, Ewen had other i n t e r e s t s , i n c l u d i n g a g r i c u l t u r a l l a n d and shares i n the New Westminster Southern Railway and the New Westminster 63 . . Gas company, and was apparently able t o finance both himself and others i n the canning business. In partnership with D. J . Minn i n the Bon Accord F i s h i n g Company, he added a plant on Sea Island t o • 6k the plant already i n operation near present-day Port Mann. A second 65 Ewen cannery was b u i l t on Lion Island near Ewen*s f i r s t one. Ewen claimed he l o s t $1.6,000 on b u i l d i n g t h i s plant, a plant which does seem t o have been constructed s o l e l y t o get f i s h i n g l i c e n s e s at a 66 time when they were l i m i t e d . Nevertheless, he joined i n a partner- 67 ship i n 1893 to b u i l d the Canadian P a c i f i c cannery on Lulu Island. 63 J . B. Kerr, Biographical Dictionary of Well-Known B r i t i s h Columbians, Vancouver, Kerr and Begg, 1890, pp. 163-4. 64 Canada, S.P., 1890, no. 17, p. 24-9. Bon Accord f i r s t packed i n 1886 and Sea Island i n 1889. 65 Ibid., I892, no. 11a, p. l 6 8 . 66 Canada, B r i t i s h Columbia Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, Canada, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, pp. 116-120 (evidence .of A. Ewen); see page 1+3 below. 67 Canada, S.P., 1894, no. 11*, p. 286; Doyle, " P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s , " v o l . 1, pp. 217-8. - - 25 - These years were good years f o r the established canners. The Inspector of F i s h e r i e s f o r B r i t i s h Columbia reported that operators t o l d him they had returns of from $L5 ,000 t o $75,000 over the years 68 1887 to I89O. Ewen f i x e d the return i n the industry during the 69 f i v e t o s i x years ending i n 1891 at 10 t o 20 percent. The rush to. get i n t o the canning business shows that others thought good p r o f i t s were t o be made. One o f the most important entrants i n t o the canning industry was another new E n g l i s h company, incorporated i n England i n A p r i l , 1891 under the name of A n g l o - B r i t i s h Columbia Packing Company, Limited. It had an authorized c a p i t a l of £200,000 i n 20,000 shares of £10 each, 10,000 preference and 10,000 ordinary. The moving s p i r i t i n the company was Henry Ogle B e l l - I r v i n g , who had acquired options on nine canneries which he s o l d t o the new company on i t s formation f o r a t o t a l o f $330,000. Two of these premises were on 70 the Skeena River, the r e s t on the Fraser River. A c q u i s i t i o n of two other plants made the company at t h a t time the l a r g e s t producer 71 o f sockeye salmon i n the world. 68 Canada, S.P., 1891, no. 8a, p. 175. 69 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Report," 1892, Canada, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, p. 120. 70 B r i t i s h Columbia, Attorney-General, Companies O f f i c e , Company 1 R e g i s t r a t i o n F i l e s (hereafter c i t e d as B.C. Reg. of Cos.), F i l e 35 ' ( L i e . ) [ o f f i c e f i l e s ] . 71 Canada, S.P., 1892, no. 11a, p. 168; "Foundations F i r s t , " P a c i f i c Fisherman (50th Anniversary Number), v o l . 50 (August 1952), p. 15. - 26 - Since options on that scale could, not he sought or granted without causing a s t i r i n the canning community, the next merger was probably i n r e a c t i o n t o the negotiations leading t o the formation of A n g l o - B r i t i s h Columbia Packing. A group of established cannery- men incorporated themselves i n February, 1891 as the V i c t o r i a Canning Company of B r i t i s h Columbia, Limited L i a b i l i t y , with an authorized c a p i t a l of $500,000. This group included many of the operators who had s t a r t e d i n the l a t e l870*s and early 1880*s. R. P. Rithet and Company had acted as agent f o r each of the component 72 canneries, and Rithet was prominent i n the new company. The only f i r m outside these mergers and these new companies was J . H. Todd and Son, who had two canneries on the Fraser River. Todds were a well-financed V i c t o r i a f i r m , t h e i r canning i n t e r e s t s 73 being only part of t h e i r business as wholesale merchants. At the beginning of the season of I891, therefore, a l l the canneries on the Fraser River were included i n one or other of the 74 f i v e groups enumerated. Three of the groups--B. C. Canning Company 72 B.C. Reg. o f Cos., F i l e 35 (1890), [microfilm] . 73 When Jacob Hunter Todd died i n 1899, he l e f t an estate valued at $508,506.19. His threerquarter i n t e r e s t i n the partnership of J , H. Todd and Son was valued at $338,330.00, a f t e r t r u s t s had been created f o r h i s widow and two daughters, p a r t l y from assets of the f i r m . ( B r i t i s h Columbia, Attorney-General, V i c t o r i a Law Courts Registry, Probate Court F i l e No. 2234). 74 Canada, S.P., 1892, no. U a , p. 168. There were s t i l l a number of i n d i v i d u a l operators i n northern canneries. - 27 - Limited, v i c t o r i a Canning Company, Limited L i a b i l i t y , and J. H. Todd and Son were based i n V i c t o r i a , and the fourth, the Ewen group, had t i e s with that c i t y through t h e i r agent, Robert Ward and Company. Only Anglo-British Columbia Packing represented the new centre of Vancouver. Before the boom i n the canning industry could get under way, c o n f l i c t i n g views on the permissible l i m i t of f i s h i n g licenses, and consequently of the number of f i s h i n g boats, on the Fraser River had to be resolved. A many-sided struggle over license l i m i t a t i o n raged for over three and a h a l f years, from l a t e 1888 u n t i l the middle of 1892, when the attempt to r e s t r i c t the t o t a l of licenses on the r i v e r to 500 was abandoned. Proposals for r e s t r i c t i o n of the number of f i s h i n g licenses originated i n a genuine fear of "over- f i s h i n g " among conservation-minded o f f i c i a l s of the Fisheries Depart- ment, and among thoughtful spokesmen for the industry i t s e l f . A 75 hatchery had been started i n 1884 and as a conservation measure the r e s t r i c t i o n of f i s h i n g e f f o r t on the r i v e r seemed the l o g i c a l next 76 step. Catch records were employed i n arguments for r e s t r i c t i o n of f i s h i n g and the example of the Columbia River was often c i t e d . 75 Canada, S.P., 1885, no. 9, supp. 2, pp. 45-7. 76 Thomas Mowat, Inspector of Fisheries for B r i t i s h Columbia from 1886 u n t i l h i s death i n 1891, f i r s t superintended the hatchery. He was from New Brunswick where he had witnessed the depletion of salmon stocks on the r i v e r s there. He argued at one and the same time that "over-fishing" existed and that the hatchery was increasing the supply. See his reports i n t h i s period: 1885 (Canada, S.P., 1886, no. 11, Fisheries, p. 248) - "the f a l l i n g o f f i n the run i s due to over netting i n the estuaries and by Indians i n the headwaters;"- (Canada, - 28 - Catches on the Columbia were l e s s i n the l a t e l880's than they had 77 78 been, and the pack on the Fraser River had also f a l l e n . Federal 79 f i s h e r i e s men i n B r i t i s h Columbia favoured l i m i t i n g l i c e n s e s . The S.P., 1887, no. 16, p. 240) - "the f a i l u r e . . . they had been over- f i s h e d ; " "an improvement i n the run of Sawquai; which may be accounted f o r by the returns from a r t i f i c i a l hatching;" 1889 (Canada, S.P., I89O, no. 17, p. 248) - "an exceptional run . . . the success of the Fraser River hatchery;" 1890 (Canada, S.P., 1891, no. 8a, p. 174) - "What, then, i s the cause o f such a la r g e increase during the pas t . four years. It i s , I claim, s o l e l y a t t r i b u t a b l e t o a r t i f i c i a l stocking and bet t e r p r o t e c t i v e r e g u l a t i o n s . " 77 One set of s t a t i s t i c s purporting t o show the depletion of the Columbia River gives the catch f o r that stream as fol l o w s : 1880 r-s 530,000 1885 - 554,000" 1881 - 550,000 1886 - 448,'500 1882 - 541,000 1887 - 354,055 1883 - 629,000 1888 - 379,000 1884 - 620,000 Canada, S.P., 1889, no. 8, p. 236. These f i g u r e s do not prove the existence of d e p l e t i o n — t h e l a r g e s t pack on the Columbia was s t i l l t o come—634,696 cases i n 1895 (Cobb, P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s , P. 553). Those c i t i n g smaller Columbia catches as evidence of over- f i s h i n g ignored the e f f e c t of the t r a n s f e r of e f f o r t s t o more p r o f i t - able streams i n Alaska, where the pack rose from 6,539 cases i n 1880 to 412,115 cases i n 1888. They also ignored poor market conditions i n the mid-l880's, c i t e d in.previous Federal reports, as a cause of decline i n P a c i f i c Coast packs (Canada, S.P., 1885, no. 9, p. 259). 78 See Table I, p. 2 above. As with the Columbia, arguments about depletion.are not j u s t i f i e d i n l i g h t of the increased packs of sub- sequent years. 79 1887 (Canada, S.P., 1888, no. 6, pp. 256-7) - Chas. F. Green, Fishery Guardian, Fraser River: "I would suggest . . . i n future only a l i m i t e d number of l i c e n s e s .. . .no cannery be allowed more than 40 boats . . . ." John Buie, Fishery Guardian, Fraser River: "Some l i m i t should be placed on the number of nets." 1888 (Canada, S.P., 1889, no. 8, p. 245) - C. H. Green: "I have spoken t o several owners . . . they would be s a t i s f i e d with 30 boats provided they were a l l to take the same number." - 29 - B r i t i s h Columbia Board o f Trade ( V i c t o r i a ) , which had an ac t i v e section o f cannery and a l l i e d i n t e r e s t s i n i t s membership, proposed l i m i t i n g l i c e n s e s t o kO per cannery with a t o t a l of 500 f o r the 80 r i v e r . The f i r s t machinery f o r l i c e n s e l i m i t a t i o n was contained i n a new set o f general f i s h e r y regulations f o r the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia promulgated by the f e d e r a l Department of F i s h e r i e s i n the 81 f a l l of 1888. P r i o r t o t h i s time, f e d e r a l r e g u l a t i o n had sat very l i g h t l y on the industry. Although the F i s h e r i e s Act (31 V i c t . Cap. 6o) had been extended t o B r i t i s h Columbia i n 1876, the year that the f i r s t f e d e r a l Inspector of F i s h e r i e s was appointed, regu- 82 l a t ions had not been issued u n t i l 1878. They were minimal, and i n any case, argument between the leaders of the infant industry and the f e d e r a l a u t h o r i t i e s about t h e i r effectiveness r e s u l t e d i n t h e i r being 83 p a r t i a l l y suspended. No l i c e n s i n g of any k i n d was undertaken u n t i l 80 B r i t i s h Columbia Board of Trade ( V i c t o r i a ) , "Minutes o f Council re Regulations of Salmon F i s h e r i e s , March 22, 1888," Ninth Annual Report, 1888, pp. 52-53. 81 Canada, Privy Council, "Order i n Council, November 26, 1888," (Fishery Regulations f o r the .Province of B r i t i s h Columbia] , Canada Gazette, v o l . 22 (December 1, 1888), pp. 956-7. 82 Canada, Privy Council, "Order i n Council, May 30, I878," [Salmon Fishery Regulations f o r the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia] , Canada Gazette, v o l . 11 (June 1, 1878), p. 1258. 83 William Smith, "Paper on The F i s h e r i e s of Canada," Sept. 19, 1893, Canada, S.P., 189̂, no. 11*, pp. c x - c x v i i . The Annual .Report repro- duces a number of documents from F i s h e r i e s departmental f i l e s . They formed part of a paper read at a fishermen's convention h e l d at the Chicago Columbia E x h i b i t i o n . See also Canada, S.P., 1886, no. 11, F i s h e r i e s , p. x i where i t i s stated that "the f i s h e r y laws are only p a r t i a l l y extended t o B r i t i s h Columbia and Manitoba." - 30 - the season of 1882, when i t seems to have taken the form of l i c e n s i n g 84 each cannery. Individual licenses for each f i s h i n g boat are f i r s t 85 recorded i n the year 1887. The regulations of 1888, however, not only l a i d down a l i c e n s i n g procedure i n considerable d e t a i l , but gave the Minister power ". . . from time to time, I to} determine L J 86 the number of boats, seines, or nets or other f i s h i n g apparatus." Acting under the power granted i n these regulations, the government proposed to l i m i t the t o t a l number of licenses on the Fraser River for 1889 to 4-50. Such an outcry was raised about t h i s and other r e s t r i c t i o n s i n the proposed regulations, both by the canners as a group and by the Board of Trade, that enforcement was p a r t i a l l y suspended for the fishery season of 1889 (which happened 87 to be the big year i n the four-year sockeye c y c l e ) . The l i m i t a t i o n of licenses seems to have proceeded nevertheless, with not more than 500 licenses being issued, 366 to the canneries and upwards of a 88 hundred to independent fishermen. The plan was to set the year 84 Canada, SJ?., 1883, no. 7, supp. 2, p. 190. 85 Canada, S.P., 1888, no. 6, p. 257. The jump i n license revenue from $943.50 i n the year ending June 30, 1887 to. $6,934.35 i n the next f i s c a l year makes i t l i k e l y that some change.in system was effected for the season of 1887 (Canada, S.P., 1888, no. 6, p. x; i b i d . , 1889, no. 8, p. x i x ) . 86 Canada Gazette, v o l . 22 (December 1, 1888), p.\ 957. 87 Canada, S.P., 1890, no. 17, p. x i i . 88 Ibid., pp. x i i , 254; i b i d . , 1891, no. 8a, pp. 180-1 shows the licenses issued to each cannery i n 1889. The t o t a l for cannery licenses i s at variance, for reasons that are not clear, with the t o t a l of 350 which was supposed to be the quota for the canneries (see p. 42 below). - 31 - 1889 as a standard one and to issue only 500 l i c e n s e s i n each sub- sequent year. This form of conservation soon broke down under pressure from the canners, the independent fishermen and the p o l i t i c i a n s f r i e n d l y t o t h e i r i n t e r e s t s . On the recommendation of a Royal Commission set up t o i n v e s t i g a t e complaints about B r i t i s h Columbia Fishery regulations the government abandoned the t o t a l l i m i t of 500 l i c e n s e s . Instead, while the number of cannery l i c e n s e s was l i m i t e d , an unlimited issue of i n d i v i d u a l l i c e n s e s could be granted t o "bona 89 f i d e fishermen, being B r i t i s h subjects." Cannery l i c e n s e s were granted on pro r a t a b a s i s , according to canning capacity, f o r the 90 season of 1893. This p r a c t i c e was abandoned i n 1894 when new f i s h e r y regulations were adopted l i m i t i n g cannery l i c e n s e s t o 20 91 per p l a n t . In 1898, the l i m i t was lowered t o 10 per cannery, 92 e f f e c t i v e f o r the season of l899« The e f f e c t of t h i s b a t t l e , which the canners both won and l o s t , was. to produce a s h i f t i n the predominant type of r e l a t i o n s h i p between the canner and the fishermen who caught h i s f i s h . P r i o r t o 89 Canada, B r i t i s h Columbia Fishery Commission, "Report," 1892, Canada, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, pp. x i - x i i . 90 Rounsefell and Kelez, Fraser River Salmon F i s h e r i e s , p. 70k. 91 Canada, Privy Council, "Order i n Council, March 3, I 8 9 I + " [fishery Regulations for the .Province of B r i t i s h Columbia], Canada Gazette, v o l . 27 (March 17, 1894), pp. 1579-80. 92 Canada, Privy Council, "Order i n Council, August 3, 1898" (Amendment to Fishery Regulations f o r the Province of B r i t i s h .Columbia], Canada Gazette, v o l . 32. (August 13, 1898), pp. 280-1. - 32 - this time, the majority of fishermen had been employees of the canneries. They worked, for wages with the company providing a boat and a net. The independent fisherman, owning both his own boat and net, and usually selling to the cannery on a contract, was in a distinct minority on the Fraser River. The limitation of cannery licenses, in the circumstances of an increasing number of canneries and thus of increased competition for fish, produced a rapid rise in the number of licensed fishermen, fishing on contract or shares. The proportion of licenses held by the canneries, however, dropped 93 sharply. The degree of real independence of these so-called "indepen- dent" fishermen varied. In many cases, their stake was only in their license, the company renting them both boat and gear. But whether or not their "independence" was a fiction, their relationship with the cannery operator had changed. The wage system was replaced with a contract and share system based on the price of fish, being calculated in this period on a rate of so many cents per fish. Once this arrangement became dominant, negotiations over the price of fish became significant in the relations between a canner and his fishermen. First each party to the negotiations bargained as an individual. Then bargaining groups were organized by both sides. The changeover from the predominance of the wage relationship to the predominance of the contract relationship took place after the 93 See Table IV, p. 33 below. - 33 - TABLE IV CANNERY SHARE OF TOTAL LICENSES ISSUED FRASER RIVER 1893, 1897 - 1900 Year Cannery Licenses Total a a 1893 909 1,174 b c 1897 821 2,318 b c I898 925 2,642 b c 1899 460 2,722 b c 1900 450 3,683 a 1893 - Rounsefell and Kelez, Fraser River Salmon Fisheries, p. 704. b Figures for cannery licenses for 1897-1900 are computed from pack records published by the Department of Marine and Fisheries for the following years: 1897 - Canada, S.P., 1899, no« Ha, p. 226; I898 - Canada, S.P., 1900, no. 11a, p". 202; 1899 - Canada, S.P., 1901, no. 22, p. 159; 1900 - Canada, S.P., 1902, no. 22, P. 175. c 1897-1900 totals are taken from Rounsefell and Kelez, Fraser River Salmon Fisheries, p. 706 (Table 2). - 3h - abandonment of license limitation in 1892. This changeover set the stage for the emergence of organization among the fishermen, and also ( for the transformation of the canners' association into a group as :much concerned with negotiations on fish prices and the orderly disposal of the product, as with lobbying government and presenting the views of the industry to the business community. In adapting to this changed role, the canners found it difficult to subordinate their conflicting interests as competitors to the requirements of their interests as a group. License limitation provides a case in point. The limitation in I889 to 500 licenses on the Eraser followed lines proposed by the cannery committee of the British Columbia Board of Trade in Victoria. But this limitation was not in the interests of those, like Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company, newly entered into the business and anxious to expand their undertaking. Apparently the differences within the industry caused the temporary break-up of an association maintained by the canners. When in I892 a Royal Commission held hearings on licenses all canners expressed opposition in principle to any restriction on licenses. But some of the long-established group— Ewen among them—indicated their willingness to go along with some 94 Canada, British Columbia Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, Canada, S.P., 1893, no.10c,p. 113 (evidence of Alexander Ewen). - 35 - 95 form o f r e s t r i c t i o n . Henry B e l l - I r v i n g of A n g l o - B r i t i s h Columbia Packing on the other hand was outspoken i n h i s demand f o r the r i g h t t o l i c e n s e as many boats per cannery as each one needed, under any 96 condition. This d i f f e r e n c e i s symptomatic of the c o n f l i c t i n g needs of i n d i v i d u a l firms, a f a c t which continued throughout the decade to make i t d i f f i c u l t t o reach agreement on a common front on matters such as p r i c e s and o r d e r l y marketing p r a c t i c e s . It i s tempting t o see t h i s c o n f l i c t as part of a wider b a t t l e f o r dominance i n the province between the older established business community of V i c t o r i a and the new t h r u s t i n g men i n r a p i d l y growing Vancouver, and that i s how at l e a s t some contemporaries saw i t . Commenting on the formation of Angl o - B r i t i s h Columbia Packing Company Ltd., the Vancouver Board of Trade said, "The purchase by Engl i s h c a p i t a l i s t s of the salmon canneries previously financed and supplied by other c i t i e s { v i c t o r i a and San Francisco] , has r e s u l t e d i n making Vancouver the centre of finance, supply and d i s t r i b u t i o n f o r the canning i n d u s t r i e s , which are very important, 95 Canada, B r i t i s h Columbia Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, Canada, S.P., I893, no.10c,p. 100 (evidence of Peter B i r r e l l ) ; p. 119 (evidence of Alexander Ewen); p. 19*+ (evidence of J . A. Laidlaw); p. 106 (evidence of Thomas E. Ladner); p. 273 (evidence of R. P. R i t h e t ) ; pp. 275-6 (memorandum.submitted to members of the Canners* A s s o c i a t i o n ) . One problem that faced e x i s t i n g canneries was that the 350 l i c e n s e s set aside f o r canneries were r e - a l l o t t e d each time a new cannery was b u i l t . Rather than face t h i s uncertainty, some canners were r e c o n c i l e d to a l i m i t a t i o n of cannery l i c e n s e s , pro- vided there was a f i x e d and known number of l i c e n s e s a v a i l a b l e to each cannery. 96 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, Canada, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, p. 328. - 36 - 97 the Fraser River brands being among the best on the market." In l893> the Vancouver News-Advertiser boasted, "Three years ago only two canneries were owned i n Vancouver. Today no l e s s than 17 98 canneries are e i t h e r owned here, or operated from t h i s C i t y . " This included 15 of the 26 canneries on the Fraser ^River, o f which eight were operated by A n g l o - B r i t i s h Columbia. A l l the new plants, seven i n number, erected on the r i v e r i n 1892 and 1893, were con- 99 t r o l l e d from Vancouver. The Victoria-based canneries represented the pattern of doing business that had previously p r e v a i l e d i n salmon canning. U n t i l t h i s time canneries had been separate u n i t s which f o r the most part were operated e i t h e r by i n d i v i d u a l s or partnerships. They had mostly grown through the re-investment of p r o f i t s made i n canning. Their operating c a p i t a l came from t h e i r agents i n the form o f advances covered by c h a t t e l mortgages. By I890, these canners were s u b s t a n t i a l men and t h e i r agents had also done w e l l . The leading cannery agents were w e l l able to finance the expansion of the industry. The l a r g e s t of these f i n a n c i a l houses was headed by R. P. Rithet, who had just re-organized 97 Annual Report, 1892, p. 22. 98 June 20, 1893, p. 8. 99 Canada, S.P., 189̂, no. 11*, p. 286. The new plants were Terra Nova (1892), Lulu Island, P a c i f i c Coast, Steveston, Imperial, Brun- swick, and Canadian P a c i f i c (1893). This l a s t was a partnership i n v o l v i n g Alex Ewen of New Westminster, but was managed by R. V. Winch of Vancouver. - 37 - 100 h i s f i r m on the death of h i s partner, Andrew Welch. When he inc o r - porated R. P. Rithet Ltd., i n 1891, the authorized c a p i t a l was $500,000. This amount was paid up by 1898, the date of the oldest surviving report on the company's shares. Rithet drew h i s f i n a n c i a l resources from a wide v a r i e t y of i n t e r e s t s , i n c l u d i n g Hawaiian sugar 101 plantations and lumber and g r i s t m i l l s . Robert Ward and Company was a smaller firm, which had exist e d under a se r i e s of names and had been associated with the canning enterprises of Alexander Ewen 102 . . since h i s f i r s t cannery days. When i t was incorporated i t had an authorized c a p i t a l of $300,000, though only $6l,500 was pa i d up i n 103 1900. Ward's s p e c i a l strength, however, l a y i n h i s close family t i e s with the Bank of B r i t i s h Columbia, where h i s brother W. C. Ward was manager of the most important B r i t i s h Columbia branch, that of 104 V i c t o r i a , from 1867 to 1897. Together with other smaller V i c t o r i a 100 Welch's obituary s a i d he had "acquired h i s wealth on the P a c i f i c Coast, having come t o V i c t o r i a as a .book-keeper i n Anderson and Anderson's" (Colonist, July. 26, 1889, p. 4). 101 B.C.,' Reg. of Cos., F i l e 30 (1890) [microfilm] . 102 Under the f i r m name of Lowe, Stahlschmidt they were l i s t e d as agents f o r A. Ewen and Co. in.l871 (Victoria-Standard, Jan. 16, l871,p When Ward married Thomas Stahlschmidt's daughter i n I876 (Colonist, Aug. 29, 1948, Mag. Sect., p. 6) the f i r m became Stahlschmidt and Ward, and i n l88l, Robert Ward and Company ( V i c t o r i a I l l u s t r a t e d , E l l i s and Co., 1891, p. 88). 103 B.C. Reg. of Cos., F i l e 76 (1890) [microfilm] . 104 See Henry Doyle on t h i s p o i n t . "It was generally recognized that i f Ward and .Company had the s e l l i n g agency of a canning company the Bank of B r i t i s h Columbia handled i t s f i n a n c i a l a f f a i r s . . . " ("Pacific Salmon F i s h e r i e s , " v o l . 1, p. 2l6). - 38 - 105 106 firms like Turner, Beeton and Company, Walter Morris and Company, they financed part of the expansion of the 1890*s on the Fraser River. The new entrant into the industry was, however, not set up or financed in the traditional way. Typically, a limited company was formed, most new entrants having their headquarters in Vancouver or, in fewer cases, in New Westminster. Where they had agents, they were in Vancouver and new names like Farrell, Tregent and Company, 107 and George I. Wilson are prominent by the end of the decade. The largest agent was Evans, Coleman and Evans, who were backed by the English firm of Balfour, Williamson and their Pacific Coast sub- 108 sidiary, Balfour, Guthrie. Financing was increasingly done through banks--Canadian banks came into the province in numbers in the l890's. When the crisis of 1901 hit the industry, it was to the Bank of Montreal and the Canadian Bank of Commerce, then the principal backers of the industry, that Henry Doyle turned in his efforts to organize a new syndicate. The role of the agents was confined to 105 Turner, Beeton and Co. were first interested in northern canneries, but by.1898 they were agents for three Fraser River canneries, at least one of which they owned (Canada, S.P., 1900, no. 11a, p. 202; B.C. Reg. of Cos., File k3k (l862) [microfilm] ). 106 Walter Morris and Co., were agents and shareholders in Federation Brand Salmon Canning Company, Limited Liability, which by 1898 operated Lighthouse Cannery on the Fraser (Canada, S.P., 1900, no. 11a, p. 202; B.C. Reg. of Cos., File 118 (1890) [microfilm] ). 107 Henderson's British Columbia Gazetteer and Directory, 1900-1901, pp. 159-160. 108 Doyle, "Pacific Salmon Fisheries," vol. 1, p. 19^. - 3 9 - persuading the canneries f o r whom they acted to j o i n the syndicate, not i n providing f i n a n c e — a n i n d i c a t i o n of t h e i r l e s s e r r o l e i n 1 0 9 that area. The s t r i k e of 1 9 0 0 , the major t o p i c of the present study, was only the culmination of a s e r i e s of disputes between cannery operators and fishermen during the logo's. To the understanding of these disputes, c e r t a i n f a c t s of the growth of the salmon canning industry on the Fraser River have been found relevant. The factory methods developed f o r l a r g e - s c a l e processing created an ever-growing demand f o r l a b o r . This demand was d i f f i c u l t t o s a t i s f y from among the small population of B r i t i s h Columbia, and labor remained i n short supply, i n s p i t e of the recruitment of native Indians and immigrant Chinese. Finding markets was r e l a t i v e l y easy, since canned salmon from the Fraser River simply followed i n the B r i t i s h market where the s i m i l a r product of the Columbia River had l e d . More of a hindrance t o growth i n the f i r s t 2 0 years was a l a c k of c a p i t a l , which accumu- l a t e d but slowly from the p r o f i t s of the industry and the l i m i t e d f i n a n c i a l resources of the P a c i f i c Coast. The method o f accumulation produced, i n turn, the close r e l a t i o n s h i p between the operators and t h e i r f i n a n c i a l and s e l l i n g agents, that characterized the corporate structure of the industry up to 1 8 9 0 . 109 Doyle, " P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s , " v o l . 1, pp. 211+, 237. - ko - CHAPTER II THE FRASER RIVER SALMON CANNING INDUSTRY—LICENSE LIMITATION AND PRICE CHANGES IN THE l890'S The first trade union of fishermen on the Fraser River was organized in the spring of l893> and led a short and unsuccessful strike at the start of the sockeye season of that year. In analysing the beginnings of trade unionism among these fishermen, Percy Gladstone and Stuart Jamieson argue that "the major motive impelling the Fraser River fishermen to unionize was not so much to achieve wage or price increases as such, as to protect themselves against 1 growing competition from outside sources." They identify three of these outside sources: American fishermen coming from the Columbia and Sacramento Rivers, Indians migrating from northern coastal communities, and Japanese arriving from their homeland. In the conditions of economic depression and mass unemployment existing in 1893, so runs their argument, sharpened group antagonisms produced an attempt to reduce the number of licenses to Orientals. The union organized out of this struggle, the Fraser River Fishermen's Protective Union, led a strike of fishermen for a 50-cent-a-day wage increase. 1 Percy Gladstone and Stuart Jamieson, "Unionism in the Fishing Industry of British Columbia," CJEPS, vol. 16 (May 1950), p. 153. - kl - According to Gladstone and Jamieson, "A pattern of organized conflict that was familiar in a number of subsequent dis- putes in the Fraser Pdver fishing industry immediately developed in 2 the 1 8 9 3 strike." The elements that they isolate in the pattern include: attempts by the cannery operators to use Japanese and Indians as strikebreakers against white fishermen; violence by unionists in response to these attempts; use of special police and the arrest of unionists; and a solidarity among the Indians in opposition to the Japanese, not matched by the white fishermen. An examination of disputes between cannery operators and fishermen during the 1890's will enable an assessment of the merits of this view, as well as providing data on the circumstances in which fishermen's unions were organized. . Prior to the beginning of license limitation in 1 8 8 9 , the great majority of fishermen for the salmon canneries were Indians . 3 who worked only during the sockeye season in July and August. Pay- ment to them by the canneries was sometimes by the fish—prices per k 1 0 0 were reported—but generally they worked for wages. The rate at the end of the l880's was $2.25 a day for the fisherman and $2.00 2 Gladstone and Jamieson, "Unionism in the Fishing Industry of British Columbia," CJEPS, vol. l 6 (May 1 9 5 0 ) , p. 1 5 4 . 3 Canada, S.P., 1 8 8 8 , no. 6 , p. 2 5 7 ; Table V, p. k& below JGdJJ.net licenses] . k Canada, Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1 8 9 2 , S.P., 1 8 9 3 , no. 10Cc, p. 1 2 9 (evidence of Musquam Charlie). - 42 - 5 for his partner in the gillnet boat, the boat-puller. Fishermen of 6 European descent were in a distinct minority, but most of them also 7 fished in the spring and fall to supply the fresh fish market. With completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway to Vancouver in 1887, a market for fish shipped in ice began to open up in Eastern Canada and the United States, and the number of men employed in this 8 fishery increased. License regulations in the season from 1889 to 1891 fixed the total number of licenses allowed on the Fraser River first at 450, and then at 500. Of these, 350 were alloted to canneries and 100 (increased in I89O to 150) were reserved for "outside" fishermen, including those fishing for the local and export markets in fresh 9 fish. However, no control was exercised over the erection of new canneries on the river, and the cannery licenses had to be redis- tributed to provide for the newcomers. Five new canneries operated 10 in 1890 and a sixth opened in I89I. This pressure on a limited 5 Vancouver Mews-Advertiser (hereafter cited as Mews-Advertiser), Aug. 2, 1891, p. 2. 6 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Minutes," I892, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, p. xx. 7 I personally dislike the use of the word "white" but it is invariably used.in contemporary sources and is hereafter .substituted for the more cumbersome "of European descent" or "of European birth." 8 For reports of the increased activities in the spring of 1893, see Colonist, March 24, 1893, p. 2; March 28, p. 2. 9 See above p. 34. 10 Canada, S.P., 1892, no. 11a, p. 168; ibid., 1893, no. 10a, p. 155. - h3 - number of licenses was increased by certain established firms, who, in order to get a larger quota of the licenses, erected "dummy" canneries with no intention of operating them. Four plants of this 11 type were reported in existence by the season of 1891. The number of licenses available to each cannery therefore shrank; it was said 12 to be kO in the season of 1889, 25 in 1890, and only 20 in 1891. In an attempt to ensure a large enough supply of fish, the cannery operators began to bid for the services of the holders of "outside" licenses and entered into contracts for the delivery of the catch of individual license holders. The cost to the canneries of fish bought from contract fishermen was higher than the cost of fish caught on their own licenses—both canners and fishermen agreed on that, but how much higher is difficult-to say, since prices varied from season to season, as well as from day to day, and from cannery 13 to cannery. But by 1893 ten cents per sockeye was regarded as 11 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, S.P., I893, no. 10c, pp. 92, 1+07. 12 News-Advertiser, Aug. 2, I893, p. 2. 13 Henry 0. Bell-Irving of Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company, Ltd. said that fish from "outside" fishermen cost three times the average of that from the canneries* own boats. (News-Advertiser, July 15, 1893, p. 3). Capt. Alex Anderson, president of the Fraser River Fishermen's Protective and Benevolent Association, placed the cost of fish from a cannery boat at one to two cents, at a time when his organization was asking 10 cents (News-Advertiser, July 25, 1893, p. 7). Evidence was given to the Royal Commission in 1892 that the piece rate for fish prior to license limitation was one and a half to two cents (Canada, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, p. 29 - evidence of Bernard Buck). - kk - 14 the customary price .. Higher prices than this were paid to indiv- idual license holders to persuade them to deliver fish to a particular cannery. In the season of 1891 Alexander Ewen and Company paid up to 20 cents though their competitors were paying only 10, 12-1/2 or . 15 15 cents. Another kind of arrangement between company and fishermen is also recorded for the first time in this period: a share or 'lay" plan. It had features of both the contract system and the daily wage. The company supplied boat and net as it did for wage-earners, but in this instance it paid for the catch by the fish and deducted approximately one-third as its share. When the price paid was 10 cents per sockeye the cannery share was three and a half cents. The six and a half cents received by the fishermen had to be divided 16 between the two men who manned each boat. Fishing on shares appears to have begun because of license limitation; a man who could not get a license was forced to take a cannery boat. For new entrants to the industry, fishing on shares in a cannery boat was a way of getting 14 Ten cents had been widely paid in two of the previous three seasons. (Columbian, July 15, 1893, p. 1; Canada, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, P. 95). - 15 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, pp. l4, 29, kl, lk3, 151, 402. The high prices paid by Ewen appear to be the result of sales commitments he made before the season opened :(ibid., p. 15). In his own testimony, he speaks of being under a bond for $40,000 (ibid., p. 120). 16 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, pp. 21, 2k, 66, 70, 79, 89, 95. - - 1+5 - 17 the experience to qualify for an individual license. The companies, for their part, were anxious to get the maximum production from a limited number of licenses. Substituting piece-work for daily wages was an attempt to produce a larger catch per boat. Share or' "lay" arrangements were generally made with white men, but Indians, because 18 they were considered to be less productive, stayed on the daily wage. Contract fishermen became a privileged group among fisher- men; they received higher prices and, in times of an over-supply of fish, they continued to deliver when the cannery's own boats were 19 taken off. As Henry 0 . Bell-Irving succinctly put it, "a fishing 20 license was a valuable document." These privileges excited the envy of the fishermen on shares or daily wages. When the British Columbia Fishery Commission held its public hearings in New West- minster and Vancouver in February and March, 1892, a parade of fishermen, both white and Indian, appeared before it to complain 21 that they could not get licenses. Their complaints apparently 17 The regulations in force at the time did not specify the qualifi- cations of an applicant for an individual license. This gave con- siderable discretionary powers to the Inspector of Fisheries. Thomas Mowat, the incumbent in the position during I889-I89I, made it clear that he gave preference to what he termed "bona fide fishermen," the criteria being previous experience plus a previous individual license. (Canada, S.P., 1890, no. 17, p. 254). 18 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, S.P., I 8 9 3 , no. 10c, pp. 12, 108, 4 l 7 ; Rounsefell and Kelez, Fraser River Salmon Fisheries, pp. 705-7; and Table VI, p. 75 below. 19 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, passim. 20 News-Advertiser, July 21, 1893, p. 1. 21 Canada, Royal Commission, "Minutes," 1892, S.P., I893, no. 10c, pp. 60-61, 64-5, 68-9, 70-71, 76, 78, 89, 181, 365, 367, 381, 385, 388, 401, 402, 403. - 46 - overshadowed in the commissioners' minds those of the canners and their agents who argued that they needed a greater number of 22 licenses than the 20 which most canneries were then getting. The commissioners had to adjudicate between the charge laid by the fishermen that the canners were monopolizing the river, and the claims of the canners that more licenses of their own were needed to protect them against demands made by the contract fisher- men for higher prices. The canners lost this argument: all the commissioners agreed that restrictions on the number of cannery licenses should be continued. The majority report recommended the 23 issuing of 18 licenses to each operating cannery. The minority report favored 25, the figure suggested by a number of cannery . 24 spokesmen. An interim arrangement had to be adopted for the season of 1892, since regulations to enforce the recommendations were not ready at the opening of the fishing season. Accordingly, in June, 1892, further regulations were added to those which had been enacted in I89O and the industry operated under these amended rules for two 22 Canada, Royal Commission, "Minutes," 1892, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, PP. 35, 96, 111," 138, I89, 261, .269, 297, 399. 23 The majority report was signed by the chairman, Samuel Wilmot, Superintendent of Fish Culture for the Department of Marine and Fisheries, and Sheriff W. J. Armstrong of New Westminster (Canada, Fishery Commission, "Report," 1892, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, pp. 429-31). The minority report was signed by D. W. Higgins, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia (ibid., pp. 431-3). 24 Canada, Royal Commission, "Minutes," 1892, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, pp. 415, 427, 433. - 1+7 - seasons. The interim regulations provided that "all bona fide fishermen, being British subjects and actual residents of the province" were to qualify for one license. Provision was made for 20 licenses for each operating cannery and additional licenses for 25 cold storage plants, exporters of iced fish and fresh fish dealers. The I892 changes were announced too close to the opening of the season for their full effect to be felt that year; yet the number of licenses rose sharply from 500 to 721, with the canneries obtaining 1+17 licenses instead of 350, and individual fishermen 270 instead of 150. Though the number of licenses granted to both whites and Indians was higher, the largest percentage increase was obtained by Japanese who had first entered the industry about 1888. In their case the number was more than doubled. The approach of 26 l893> a "big" cycle year, promised an accentuation of these trends. The increase in the number of licenses, both to canneries and to individuals, presented the contract fishermen with a new situation in which their privileged position was threatened. More individual licenses meant more fishermen offering their catches to the canneries, and in a cycle year this threatened, at the very least, the elimination of premium prices or, even worse, a cut in the usual prices. The contract fishermen reacted to this threat 25 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Report," 1892, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, pp. x-xi. 26 See Table V, p. 48 below; Canada, S.P., 1893, no. 10a, p. 153. - 48 - TABLE V GXLLNET LICENSES ON THE FRASER RIVER, 1887 - 1900, a BY MAJOR ETHNIC GROUPS Between- Individual bridge Year Company Japanese Indian White Licenses T o t a l 1887 615 320 „ 935 1888 10 323 167 - 500 1889 25 308 167 - 500 1890 25 308 167 - 500 1891 50 283 167 - 500 1892 108 373 240 - 721 1893 235 558 381 - 1,174 1894 417 549 701 - 1,667 1895 434 539 731 30 1,734 I896 926 530 1,130 60 2,646 1897 928 520 780 90 2,318 ̂ 1898 1,321 511 690 120 2,642 1899 l,36l 501 710 150 2,722 3,683 1900 393 1,659 555 1,076 - a Rounsefell and Kelez, Fraser River Salmon F i s h e r i e s , p. 706 (Table 2 - G i U n e t l i c e n s e s of the Paget Sound - Fraser River region, 1877-1934). The authors* note t o t h i s t a b l e says i n p a r t : "From 1877 to 1899 the n a t i o n a l i t i e s [ s i c ] have been e s t i - mated from various notes. The company l i c e n s e s before 1900 are not separated from the t o t a l , and so are a l l o c a t e d amongst the other types. There were no s p e c i a l 'between bridges [ i . e . , between New Westminster and Mission railway bridges] ' l i c e n s e s p r i o r t o 1908, "so the fi g u r e s from 1895 t o 1899 merely represent a rough estimate of the number of t h i s type of resident up-river fishermen before 1900." Rounsefell and Kelez estimated the proportions of Japanese, Indian and white fishermen while attempting t o measure f i s h i n g i n t e n s i t y . The t o t a l s , i t should be noted, are from F i s h e r i e s Department records. - h9 - by banding together to ask for further changes in licensing regu- lations and by organizing a "Fishermen's Association." The petition prepared and circulated by this Association urged changes in the licensing regulations, in order "to save trouble on our rivers by desperate men whose rights are being trampled under foot to satisfy the greed of monopolists." The Association demanded that Japanese be refused licenses, and that the number of cannery licenses be greatly reduced. At the same time, they asked for an unlimited number of individual licenses, these to cost $5.00 each, 27 to be issued only one per person, and to be non-transferable. The proposal to withhold licenses from Japanese attracted most attention in the press, since it lent support to the general 28 anti-Oriental agitation then current in the province. Editorials discussing the Association's petition chiefly contented themselves with either supporting or attacking the anti-Japanese demands of the 29 fishermen. Actually, however, the main concern of the petitioners was for further restrictions of all competitors, be they Japanese, canners or fish dealers. What relative importance the fishermen attached to the anti-Japanese campaign is hard to determine; most labor-sponsored political programs of the time contained anti- 27 Colonist, May 28, 1893, p. 2. 28 The British Columbia Legislative Assembly had a number of anti- Chinese resolutions before it in the spring of 1893 (Journals, 1893, PP. 77, 85-6, 95, 138, lk6). 29 Toronto Monetary Times, n.d., n.p,, cited in Colonist, June 15, 1893,.p, k; Colonist, June 17, p. 4; Mews-Advertiser, July 15, p. k. - 50 - 30 Oriental clauses. The emphasis given by the press to the fisher- men's anti-Japanese sentiment was out of all proportion to the size of the problem in 1892-3, when not more than one-seventh of the 31 fishermen were Japanese. By distorting the campaign for license reforms, the anti-Oriental emphasis certainly reduced its effectiveness. Why, then, was such prominence given by the Fishermen's Association to the attack on the Japanese? Undoubtedly, it reflects their reaction to the granting of individual licenses to Japanese, which first occurred in the season of 1892. When the first 10 Japanese entered the industry in 1888, they fished for English and 32 Company's Steveston cannery, presumably on cannery licenses. During the seasons of 1889 to I 8 9 I , when individual licenses were limited largely to previous license holders, the growing number of Japanese was prevented from taking out their own licenses. With the ending in 1892 of the limitation on their numbers, individual licenses were issued to Japanese, bringing them as contract fisher- men for the first time into direct competition with the white group. This occasioned the angry outburst among the whites that we have discussed. 30 See T. R. Loosmore, "The British Columbia Labor Movement and Political. Action, 1879-1908," unpublished M.A. thesis, University of British Columbia, Oct., 1954,. appendices, pp. iv, xiii, xv. 31 See Table V, p. 48 above. 32 Rounsefell and Kelez, Fraser River Salmon Fisheries, p. 705. - 51 - The charges, stressed in the preamble to the petition, that Chinese and Japanese were fraudulently getting naturalization papers to qualify for fishing licenses, are another instance of the Association's attempt to preserve the privileged position of its members. On the recommendation of the Royal Commission, a new requirement that fishermen be British subjects and resident in the province had been inserted into the interim regulations of 1892. If it could be enforced, it would strengthen the bar- gaining position of the resident fishermen for whom the Association spoke. The Association chose to concentrate on a politically popular attack on the Japanese, rather than on the 33 United States fishermen who also came and went freely. It may have felt that the emotional fervor of anti-Orientalism provided its best defence against the charge that it wanted these regulations enforced to create a monopoly for its members. To get support for their demands and to recruit members the fishermen held meetings in Hew Westminster and Steveston. Finally, an organization, the "Fraser River Fishermen's Protective and Benevolent Association" with Alex W. Anderson, President; Thomas Steffensen, Vice-President; William Crawford, secretary; and Edward Johnson, treasurer, was incorporated under the provisions 33 Columbian, Sept. 5, 1893, p. 4. - 52 - of the provincial "Benevolent Societies Act" of 1891 (5k Vict., Chap. kl). While the fishermen were attempting to bring public pressure on the government, the canners were quietly planning a counter-offensive against the privileged group of contract fishermen. A meeting of Fraser River canners held on July 8, I893, fixed the price to be paid for sockeye in the coming season at 35 six cents. Newspaper reports of this meeting of the "Canners* Association" reveal a division in its ranks. Alexander Ewen, the longest established of the canners and one of the largest operators, 36 refused to join the "combine." Henry 0. Bell-Irving, manager of the Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company, Limited, the newly- formed English syndicate which had seven canneries on the river, favored the price-cut. His attitude underlines the determination of the newly-formed company to establish a firm position for 3k B.C., Reg. of Cos., File 20 (Soc.) [microfilm] . The name repro- duces, the style of that of the "Columbia River Fishermen's Protective Association"—the only change being dictated by the necessity of reg- istering as ,a benevolent society—so closely as to suggest that the older organization was used as a model. 35 This was reported to be a drop from "the usual price—ten cents" which.suggests that over the period of license limitation that figure had come to be regarded as the customary one (Columbian, July 15, 1893, p. l). No evidence on prices during the season of I892 could be found. That year was a small one for sockeye and if it followed the pattern of I89I, prices would have ranged up to 20 cents (see page kk above). The fact that 15 cents was mentioned in 1893 by union spokesmen in connection with the fishermen's demands, may indicate that this price had been paid in at least part of the previous season (News- Adverti ser, July 18, 1893, P. 8). 36 He wished to continue to pay 10 cents, and was still paying eight cents (Columbian, July 15, 1893, P« l). - 53 - itself in competition with the older firms in the industry. During the subsequent dispute, Bell-Irving outlined the objective of those canners who had agreed to cut the prices: In previous years, he said, part of the licenses were assigned to the canners and part to the free fishers. The canners did not get sufficient to assure them as many fish as they might need. They engaged men by the day for their own boats and licenses but for fear they should not get enough fish they contracted at the beginning of the season with outside men by the fish for their catch of the season. To guarantee that they should get as many fish as they required the canners usually paid these outside fishermen much more than the cost of those [fish] caught in their own boats would average. They found it better, however, to do that than to be short at the end of the season. In those times a fisherman's license was a valuable document. This year all that is changed. All who care to pay the fee may get a license and the river is covered with fishermen, about 1,200 in a l l having been issued. The canners are thus pretty well assured of their supply and have put the price to what they consider a proper price . . . . 37 The fishermen, including all holders of individual licenses, whether white, Indian, or Japanese, refused to sign contracts at the 38 reduced price and held out for 10 cents. It is probable that they were supported by share or "lay" men who would also be affected. The tactics, apparently agreed upon at the fishermen's mass meeting 39 on Saturday July 8, unfolded in the next week. A letter was dis- patched to each of the canners asking him to meet with a committee 37 Mews-Advertiser, July 21, 1893, p. 1. 38 Columbian, July 15, 1893, p. 1. 39. Ibid., July 11, 1893, P. 4. - 5k - of five from the Fishermen's Association at Ladner's Landing on . ko Friday July Ik to negotiate a settlement of the dispute. When, on Friday morning, the fishermen who supported the Association kl refused to work, a strike had begun. None of the canners, not excluding the dissident Alex Ewen, would meet with the fishermen's k2 committee. Having thus decided not to negotiate, the canners concen- trated on winning the dispute with the fishermen. Their opening move was to insert an-advertisement in the New Westminster and Vancouver newspapers, signed by all the canning companies—Ewen and Company along with the rest—offering a $50.00 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone cutting nets, or damaging other property, intimidating fishermen or pre- venting them from performing their duties, inciting to unlawful acts, or "using violence or threat of violence to any person or persons in pursuance of any combination or conspiracy to raise the k3 rate of wages." kO Columbian, July 18, 1893, p. k; News-Advertiser, July 18, p. k. kl Ibid., July 15, 1893, P. 1. k2 A Fishermen's Association letter to the press alleged they were reported as saying "they would never lower themselves to meet common fishermen and paupers" (Columbian, July 19, 1"893, p. l). Mr. Bell- Irving, for his part, .complained that "because we refuse to meet them, we, the canners, are now called monopolists and such names" (News- Advertiser, July 15, I893, p. 3). . . k3 Vancouver News-Advertiser, July 15, 1893, P. 1 (running to July 28); Vancouver World (hereafter cited as World), July 15, p. 2 (to July 28); New Westminster Columbian, July 15, p. k (to July 29). - 55 - This legal phraseology seems to have been chosen to frighten the unsophisticated into believing that any group action by fishermen was somehow illegal. The section quoted above para- phrased Section 52k of the Criminal Code of Canada, 1892 (55-56 Victoria, Chap. 29), but with a significant omission designed to strengthen the implication that any group action by fishermen was illegal. The canners* version of the section omitted the word "unlawful" (plentifully sprinkled through the preceding text) from in front of "combination and conspiracy." In fact, the Criminal Code specifically exempted combinations of workmen as such from prosecution for conspiracy, so long as they did nothing that was otherwise illegal (s.s. 516-9). The ambiguous position of trade unions under the law of conspiracy, then and later, laid kk working men open to this type of pressure from employers. The suggestion that the fishermen were committing, or were about to commit, "unlawful" acts was followed up with direct charges that the fishermen were, in fact, intimidating the Indians so as to prevent them from going fishing. Some of the charges seem to be based on the union's methods in collecting dues from and issuing membership cards to Indians. Some Indians were said to have regarded the card either as a license, without which they could 45 not fish, or as a new revenue tax. The Hon. J. H. Turner, kk Canada, Department of Labor, Trade Union Law in Canada, Ottawa, King's Printer, 1935, pp. 22-24. k5 News-Advertiser, July 15, 1893, p. 3; July 18, p. 3. - 56 - Provincial Minister of Finance, and himself a canner with interests on the Fraser River, wired Premier Davie asking for provincial 46 police to be sent to communities along the Fraser. Half-breeds, * ;:. 47 charged with intimidation, were arrested. The Fishermen's Association was placed on the defensive, but their officers promptly denied the charges, saying they would "use their best endeavours to prevent any acts of lawlessness on 48 the part of members of the Association." The Association, in turn, charged that the canners were "using all legal and illegal means in their power to put down 'this conspiracy to raise the rate of wages' as they call the Fishermen's Association." Specifically they charged Indian agents, cannery owners and even a priest with using undue influence to get the Indians to return 49 to work. Behind these charges and counter-charges lay the crucial struggle for the support of the fishermen, a great majority of them Indians, who fished for daily wages in cannery boats. In numbers they probably represented from one-third to one-half of the 4° Mews-Advertiser, July 15, 1893, p. 3. 47 Ibid. The harassing nature of these arrests can be judged by the cases being adjourned several times at the request of the pros- ecutors until the strike was over, when the charges were apparently quietly dropped (Columbian, July 20, I893, p. 1; Aug. 3, P. 4). 48 Columbian, July 15, I893, p. 1. 49 Ibid. - 57 -50 - approximately 2,350 men involved. For either side to win, it must get the allegiance of the men on daily wages. On the day the strike began, the Association announced that its demands included one for $3.00 a day for "boatmen." But the canners had already partially forestalled this strategm by offering a raise of 25 cents over 51 previous years to $2.50 and $2.25. The canners did not, however, rely solely on the offer of an increase in wages to lure the Indians back to work. As the Fishermen's Association charged, they enlisted the help of federal Indian Affairs officials. On Sunday July 16, just before the weekly opening, A. W. Vowell, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British Columbia, toured the Indian camps at Steveston with the 52 Indian Agent from the Cowichan district, W. H. Lomas. With Vowell and Lomas went William Moresby, governor of the provincial gaol at New Westminster. They told the Indians that they were free to go 50 The number of men on daily wages is difficult to estimate. A total.of 1,1.74 licenses was> issued on the Fraser in 1893. Rounse- fell and Kelez estimate that Indians got 558 of them (See Table V, p. 48 above). At two men per license, this would mean about 1,100 Indians were involved. But not all Indians were wage earners and not all wage workers were Indians. Anderson, the union president, claimed a membership of 1,600. His figures of 1,287 licenses to whites and Indians and 63 to Japanese gives too high a total, while underestimating the Japanese share and not differentiating between cannery licenses and individual licenses (News-Advertiser, July 18, 1893, P. 8). 51 Columbian, July 15, 1893, P- 1. The rate in recent seasons had been $2.25 for fishermen and $2.00 for boat-pullers. 52 World, July 15, 1893, P. 2. - 58 - to work and should make their own private arrangements with the canners. It was reasonable enough advice, hut, as advice given in the presence of a provincial gaol official who also performed police duties, it could easily be construed as intimidation. Also lending their presence to attempts to get the Indians back to work were a number of special constables, under a provincial police sergeant who had been dispatched by the Davie government in response 54 to Turner's request. An Indian chief who supported the strikers, declared: "At Ladner's there were so many constables they tried • - 55 to scare the Indians to go fishing." A number of Indians, whether intimidated or persuaded, went 56 back to work on Sunday night. There is some question as to the exact number, but a Vancouver steamer, bearing excursionists returning after a day's visit to the canneries in Steveston, reported that the river was so choked with nets after the six o'clock opening that the vessel found passage difficult. Once any return to work had begun, however, the issue of the strike could not be long in doubt. The weakness of the strikers* position was 53 Colonist, July 18, 1893, p. 2; News-Advertiser, July 18, p. 1. 5k News-Advertiser, July l6, 1893, p. 3. 55 Ibid., July 25, 1893, p. 7. 56 Colonist, July 18, 1893, p. 2; News-Advertiser, July 18, p. 1. 57 World, July 17, 1893, p. 4. - 59 - underlined by pronouncements by canners to the e f f e c t that no out- 58 side boats would be needed f o r the season. This action was undoubtedly an attempt t o influence the s t r i k e r s though the experience of previous years of a heavy run had i n d i c a t e d that f a r l e s s than the 20 boats allowed could catch a l l that a cannery 59 could process. By the end of the f i r s t week, a l l the Indians were reported t o be f i s h i n g and a number of "Austrians" had also 60 gone back. There was also a report that "a few" of the Assoc- i a t i o n members had made "private arrangements" with the canneries 61 and were f i s h i n g again. The s t r i k e apparently ended on Sunday night, July 23, with most of the fishermen going back to work on whatever terms they were 62 able t o arrange with the canners. When the s t r i k e was at i t s l a s t gasp, the A s s o c i a t i o n made a f i n a l appeal t o p u b l i c opinion at a mass meeting h e l d i n the Market H a l l i n Vancouver the previous evening. The diminishing support f o r the s t r i k e can be measured by the s i z e o f the audience: only 200 fishermen and 50 members of the p u b l i c . The meeting passed two r e s o l u t i o n s . One condemned the 58 Colonist, July 19, 1893, p. 2. 59 Canada, Fishery Commission, "Minutes," 1892, S.P., 1893, no. 10c, passim. 60 World, July 22, 1893, p. k. 61 Columbian, July 22, I893, p. k. 62 Columbian, July 2k, 1893, p. k; Colonist, July 25, p. 2. - 60 - Indian Agents for "using their influence as Government officials to induce them [the Indians] to return to work for starvation wages." The second repeated the demand that "the number of fishing licenses granted to the canneries should be greatly reduced" and added that "all licenses illegally granted to Japanese and canneries in name . 63 only should be immediately cancelled." The strike of 1 8 9 3 was defeated chiefly by the solid front 6k 6 5 maintained by the canners during a time of economic depression, but there were also a number of other reasons. The Association had been unable to hold together the diverse group that it sought to lead. The contract fishermen were chiefly concerned about licenses and fish prices. Their support of a raise for men on daily wages appears as almost an afterthought. They were unable to hold the Indians in face of the raise in daily rates offered by the canners, and of the pressure that the canners brought to bear on them through government officials. Towards the Japanese, their attitude was ambivalent. On one hand, they boasted of Japanese support for the Association, and, on the other, refused to let them join its ranks, 6 3 News-Advertiser, July 25, 1 8 9 3 , p. k; Columbian, July 2 5 , p. k. 6k As Henry Bell-Irving remarked, "on this occasion at least the canners had taken united action," a wry commentary on their previous failures in this direction (News-:Advertiser, July 1 5 , 1 8 9 3 , p. 3). 6 5 By the beginning of the second week of the strike, the Colonist carried a Vancouver report stating: "Every stage for Steveston is crowded with men going to work in the .canneries" (Colonist, Aug. 2 0 , I 8 9 3 , p. 2 ) . Other reports of the time stress the unemployment prevalent in Vancouver. - 61 - even though the Japanese apparently asked either to be admitted, or alternatively, offered $500 if the Association would set up a .66 separate union for them. •This dispute, although brief, is important because in many respects it anticipates the problems of the strike of 1900. The refusal to accept a price cut, the ad hoc character of the fishermen's organization, the stresses among ethnic groups, the aggressive tactics of the canners, the appeal to public opinion and the role of the provincial police—all figure in the later dispute. The strike of 1893 having failed, the Fraser River Fisher- 67 men's Protective and Benevolent Association faded from public view. During the rest of the 1890's, the fishermen were at the mercy of supply and demand in the setting of fish prices. For the remainder of the season of 1893, prices varied according to the pack prospects. The expected big run did not commence until the beginning of the 68 week of August 20. In the meantime, prices rose to eight cents, then to 12-1/2, and even to 15 cents. When the price was still at eight cents some of the "free" fishermen—individual license holders— 69 refused to fish unless they got 10 cents. When the big run did 66 News-Advertiser, July 18, 1893, p. 8. 67 It at least survived the strike, holding a meeting in Steveston to apply for admission to the Vancouver Trades and Labor Council (Colonist, Aug. 5, 1893, p. 2). Three hundred fishermen, probably the hard core of the Association's support, marched in the Labor Day parade (ibid., Aug. 26, p. 2). 68 Colonist, Aug. 22, I893, p. 2. 69 Ibid., Aug. k, I893, p. 2; Aug. 9, p. 2; Aug. 17, p. 2. - 62 - come, the slow-moving cannery l i n e s were soon over-supplied with f i s h . The fishermen then experienced what must have seemed to them the other side of a "heads I win, t a i l s you l o s e " s i t u a t i o n : just when they could make some money, they were l i m i t e d i n t h e i r 70 d e l i v e r i e s to the canneries. The season ended with f u l l packs for the canneries and reports that the fishermen's average earnings, i n spite of the larger number of fishermen, were equal to those of previous years, a s i t u a t i o n that neither canneries nor fishermen 71 could expect to be repeated i n subsequent off-years. 5. An analysis of price trends i n the succeeding season/of the 1890*s w i l l help to establish the problems of the fishermen facing price fluctuations without any form of bargaining group to as s i s t him i n h i s negotiations with the cannery operators. This, i n turn, may serve to i d e n t i f y the types of d i f f i c u l t i e s that he t r i e d to solve through organization and c o l l e c t i v e action. Increasing competition for f i s h i s mirrored i n the prices paid i n the 189k season. The canners met before the season to 72 decide on the price and apparently set eight cents as the rate. But not a l l operators were prepared to "hold the l i n e . " When the run continued poor into August, prices shot up. An 'unprecedented" 25 cents was paid by one cannery while others paid 15 and 20 cents. 70 Colonist, Aug. 25, 1893, p. 2. 71 Columbian, Aug. 30, 1893, p. h; Sept. 1, p. k. 72 Colonist, July 20, 189k, p. 2. - 63 - The canneries that kept the old scale were forced to offer the counter-attraction of accepting all fish delivered—a promise that 73 meant no limit even in heavy runs. When the run improved, some canners led an attempt to cut back to the eight-cent level, but Ih only about two-thirds of them followed this lead. The season 75 ended with only a "three-quarter" pack on the Fraser and the canners holding large unsold and uncommitted stocks for a rise in 76 London prices. The high prices paid in iQ^h had their effect on the next season. Although 1895 was an "off" year for sockeye the run was expected to be early and to come with a rush. The contract fisher- men, therefore, asked for higher prices and this in turn caused a rush of would-be fishermen, attracted by the prospect of 25 cents 77 per fish. That year the canners were unable to agree at all on a price: Anglo-British Columbia Packing, which had maintained a hard line on prices since its formation in 1891, announced that, in the absence of any agreement, it would pay 25 cents through the 73 Colonist, Aug. 5, 1894, p. 2. Ih Ibid., Aug. 8, 1894, p. 2. 75 This expression stems from the days of hand-made tins. Canneries had to decide before the season opened on the number of cases they would prepare to pack, as more tins usually could not be made quickly enough to take advantage of any heavy run. A ,tthree-quarter" pack meant only that proportion of the cans prepared had been filled. 76 Colonist, Aug. 10, I894, p. 5; Aug. 27, p. 2. 77 Ibid., June 23, 1895, p. 2; July 11, p. 2. - 64 - 78 whole season. Some contracts also apparently contained clauses 79 allowing unlimited delivery of fish. As soon as the run began, prices, other presumably than these contracts for the season, 80 dropped. In-:one tremendous 24-hour period, beginning at the weekly opening on August 11, every cannery was glutted. One of Anglo- British Columbia's canneries took 40,000 fish in two days at eight 81 and 10 cents each, and was reported to have been offered 100,000. The price dropped to as low as five cents and remained there after the run had eased. The fishermen responded by refusing to fish at 82 that price. The season of 1896 saw a continuance of the high prices of the previous year. Contracts were made with fishermen for 25 cents, 83 20 cents being the lowest price offered. Some canneries exper-84 ienced difficulty in getting fishermen, but this situation was relieved, partly by the arrival of fishermen who left Rivers Inlet 85 because of a strike there for higher prices, and partly by the 78 Colonist, July 13, 1895, P. 2. 79 Ibid., Aug. 13, 1895, P. 1. 80 Ibid., July 16, I895, P. 2. 81 Ibid., Aug. 18, 1895, P- 6. 82 Ibid., Aug. 15, 1895, P- 2. 83 Ibid., July 14, I896, p. 2. 84 Ibid., July 18, I896, p. 2. 85 Ibid., July 19, I896, p. 2. V - 65 - 8 6 licensing of more Japanese. Price changes in the season closely paralleled those of 1 8 9 5 . When the heaviest part of the run developed in August, prices dipped to 1 0 and five cents, but rose 8 7 again to 1 5 cents as it dropped off. Problems arose with contract fishermen, for apparently their contracts that season permitted no price drop. When the supply of fish became abundant, ..the canneries simply refused to honor the contract price of 25 cents. The fisher- men involved resisted the price cut, but, it was reported, "after much consideration and a few threats a compromise was made--20 cents 8 8 being the figure to canners who made contracts." That the threats, whatever they were, were not acted on, simply spells out how vulner- able even the fishermen holding a contract were to unilateral action by the canners. Both canners and fishermen approached the season of I897 in expectation that it would be a "big" year. Before sockeye fishing started, 1 6 of the canners on the lower reaches of the river around Steveston and Ladner's, met and agreed that they would offer only eight cents a fish. This decision caused an uproar among the fisher- men who had gathered for the season's opening. The protest was spontaneous, since no organization then existed; neither was any formal organization set up during the short dispute. First to balk 8 6 Colonist, July 3 1 , 1 8 9 6 , p. 2 . 8 7 Columbian, Aug. 1 1 , 1 8 9 6 , p. k; Aug. 1 2 , p. k; Aug. 1 9 , p. k. 8 8 Colonist, Aug. 1 5 , 1 8 9 6 , p. 2 . - 66 - at the declared price was a group of Indian fishermen, numbering 300 to kOO, who announced that they were on strike, and would return home, unless they were paid 25 cents a fish, the price during most 89 of the previous season. The Japanese followed as a group, asking 90 for 15 cents. The white fishermen joined them, somewhat unwillingly, a number standing aloof, particularly some of the men having their 91 own gear. These men, who made up the once-privileged contract group, seem to have disliked the Japanese so much as to be unable to co-operate with them, even to their own advantage. The three groups were unwilling to give up their separate identities to the point of forming any kind of common organization. Each met separately, and then jointly in a mass meeting at Steveston. This meeting elected a committee to ask the canners to sign an agreement to pay not less than 15 cents a fish for the entire 92 season—a compromise price between the whites' preference for 15 93 cents to open and not less than 10 cents, and the Indians' demand for 25 cents throughout the season. Reports of the dispute suggest that some white fishermen did not like the 15-cent figure simply because it had been first proposed by the Japanese. If this same 89 Columbian, July 8, 1897, p. 1. 90 Ibid. 91 Ibid., July 12, 1897, p. 1. 92 Ibid., July 13, 1897, p. 4. 93 Ibid., July 9, 1897, p. 1. - 6 7 - source can be believed, they were also reluctant to sign a "no 15 cents, no fish" pledge partly because it had originated as a 9k Japanese idea. It is highly unlikely that the cannery owners agreed even to meet the committee, but they did hold a meeting among themselves 9 5 in Vancouver that Saturday and raised the opening price to 1 0 cents. This figure was acceptable to a good many white fishermen and their acceptance probably influenced the other groups. In any case, all went back to work without any significant loss of fishing time during the run. Subsequently some refusals by the canneries to take on the "kickers" was reported, and the whole dispute blamed on "American . 9 6 agitators," although with what justification is not known. Some features of this dispute underline the changes in canner-fishermen relations that had taken place since the last dispute in 1 8 9 3 . Indians, who in 1 8 9 3 had been on daily wages, were now, at Steveston at least, on piece-work--in fact, some of 9 7 them expressed a desire to go back to the former system. This older method of payment had not been entirely eliminated, however, 9k Columbian, July 1 2 , 1 8 9 7 , p. 1 . 9 5 Ibid. 9 6 Ibid., July 1 3 , I897, p. k. Numbers of fishermen from the U.S. fished on the Fraser that season (Columbian, Aug. 1 9 , 1 8 9 7 , p. l). Perhaps some of them had had experience in the Columbia River strike of I 8 9 6 (Columbian, Aug. 2 7 , 1 8 9 6 , p. k) and that formed the basis of the report. 9 7 Columbian, July 9 , I897, p. 1 . - 68 - 98 as New Westminster' canneries still had some men on daily wages. The progress of the 1897 season was a vivid demonstration of problems facing the fishermen. A heavy run, one of the largest in the history of the Fraser, set in and lasted two and a half weeks. Even the greatly increased number of canneries since the last "big" year was unable to handle the fish. Prices dropped as low as two cents and limits were everywhere put on deliveries. So heavy was the run that the fishermen were left with thousands of 99 fish on their hands for which no sale existed. A few fish were salted but thousands were thrown away each day—some estimates range 100 as high as 100,000 a day. Small consolation to the fishermen, then, that the pack was the largest yet on the Fraser River. Nor were they much comforted by newspaper observations that "this is not 101 their year" and the hopes expressed that they could "make a little 102 money" by fishing the tail end of the run. The season of 1898 saw another flare-up among fishermen. That season was a failure compared with the years just previous to 103 it, or indeed, with corresponding years in other four-year cycles. 98 Columbian, July 9, 1897, p. 1. 99 Ibid., July 26, 1897, p. 1; July 28, p. 4; July 31, p. k; Aug. 2, p.h. 100 Ibid., Aug. 5, 1897, p. k. 101 Ibid., Aug. 9, 1897, p. 3 . 102 Ibid., Aug. 5, 1897, p. h; Aug. 11, p. k. 103 See Table II, p. 8 above. - 6 9 - The price of fish, therefore, stayed at 15 cents in the first part of the season. A sudden spurt on the evening of a weekly Sunday opening caused some canneries to cut the price—prematurely, as it 1 0 4 turned out—to 1 0 cents. This time the fishermen with their own gear and those on shares refused to work. The cut in prices had been made only by a few canneries and these soon found out they 1 0 5 could not sustain such an action without majority support. Individual settlements ended the walkout and the price returned to 1 5 cents; then it climbed, as the run stayed light, to 2 0 , 2 2 - 1 / 2 1 0 6 and 2 5 cents. This high price did not mean too much for, as one report commented, "the fish are not running so the price is 1 0 7 immaterial." The pack, when complete, was the smallest on the , 1 0 8 Fraser since 1 8 9 2 . In 1 8 9 9 , prices went even higher than they had been in 1 8 9 8 . The season opened with a price of 2 5 cents and the prospect 1 0 9 of its reaching 30 cents. The 25-cent level was maintained through practically the whole season except for a brief slump to 1 1 0 1 5 cents during a temporary glut. The size of the run does not 1 6 4 Columbian, Aug. 2 , 1 8 9 8 , p. 4 . 1 0 5 Ibid., Aug. 3 , 1 8 9 8 , p. 3 . 1 1 0 6 Ibid., Aug. 1 5 , I898, p. 4 ; Aug. 1 7 , p. 4 . 1 0 7 Ibid., Aug. 1 7 , I898, p. 4 . 1 0 8 See Table II, p. 8 above. 1 0 9 Colonist, July l 6 , I899, p. 5. 1 1 0 Ibid., Aug. 1 5 , 1 8 9 9 , P. 1 ; Aug. 1 8 , p. 2 ; Aug. 2 5 , p. 2 ; Aug. 2 6 , p. 2 ; Sept. 1 , p. 5 . - 70 - explain this price level as it does that of 1898, since the pack was 111 in fact second only to the record catch of I897. Competition among the large number of canneries is the only explanation that can be offered. Although wide fluctuations in price occurred both during each season and between seasons, the trend during the period from 1893 to 1899 was for prices to rise. This created problems for the cannery operator, who was faced with an ever higher cost for his raw material. Yet the individual fisherman, because of more competition in his trade, limitations on deliveries and price changes during the course of the fishing season, did not always benefit from the higher prices. The opposing interests of canners and fishermen in the matter of fish prices, produced a conflict that had become endemic in the industry by the end of the l890's. This conflict did not, however, of itself result in an organization of fishermen. The formation in 1893 of the Fraser River Fishermen's Protective and Benevolent Association may appear at first glance to contradict this statement, but this organization was not formed to seek price adjustments. Its objective was legislative action to change the balance of fishing licenses as between individual holders and canneries, and to alter the conditions under which licenses were 111 See Table II, p. 8 above. - 71 - granted. The end of these changes would be to weaken the canners' control over the supply of fishermen and to create a monopoly for the contract fishermen. The strike of 1893 bore little relation to this campaign. It was in a sense forced on the Association by its members' reaction to the canners' insistence on price cuts that would undermine their privileged position. Throughout this essentially negative struggle, the Association was on the defensive. If the strike was a diversion of the Association from its main purpose, then its reluctance to assume the leadership of a,i 1 fishermen regardless of ethnic group, or whether they were on contract, shares or wages, and failure to hold together this motley group, is understandable. The approach to the Indians and the inclusion of the demand for a raise in daily wages appears to have been made only at the last minute. The Association rebuffed the Japanese when they tried to join it, even though the Japanese of their own accord adopted the Association's price demands. It stood by while the Indians were persuaded, by methods amounting to intimi- dation, to go back to work. Although the press was ever ready to leap on any reports of subsequent disturbances, no evidence exists of any Association attempt to interfere with fishing by non-striking fishermen. The evidence, in fact, points just the other way—to the passivity of Association members in face of the bleeding away of their support. The main resolution at the final public meeting, for in- stance, did not even refer to the strikers' price demands, but repeated arguments for license changes. - 72 - Granting the purpose of the Association to be the protection and improvement of the position of the contract fishermen at the expense of other fishermen, then its relation both to the struggle over prices and to other fishermen, including the Japanese, becomes clear. It hoped to control prices by creating a monopoly for its members. An influx of fishermen, whether Japanese or American, could only destroy this monopoly. No organization that united all fisher- men would serve the purpose of advancing the interests of a particular section. Hence the refusal to broaden the Association to include all fishermen. This also seems to be the-reason why the opportunity that existed at the opening of the season of 1897 to re-create a fisher- men's organization was not taken. The protests over price cuts were in that year started by the Indians, followed by the Japanese, and only then taken up reluctantly by the white group. The logic of the situation demanded an organization embracing the three groups, but they met separately, and ineffectively, during the brief dispute. Even though the white group were again actively promoting legislative change, as will be seen in the following chapter, they were apparently prepared to accept the lower prices offered rather than submerge their special interests in an all-inclusive organization. We must, therefore, look to the struggle over fishery regulations to find the genesis of those fishermen's organizations that were to lead the 1900 strike. - 73 - CHAPTER I I I FISHERY REGULATIONS AND THE FORMATION OF FISHERMEN'S UNIONS The struggle that convinced fishermen of t h e i r need, t o organize f o r the p r o t e c t i o n of t h e i r c o l l e c t i v e i n t e r e s t s centred. i n the regulations governing f i s h i n g , regulations that came under the j u r i s d i c t i o n of the f e d e r a l Department of Marine and F i s h e r i e s . As we have seen, the very f i r s t s h o r t - l i v e d fishermen's organization i n 1893 was formed t o influence expected new regulations t o the 1 advantage of i t s members. In t h i s aim, the Association, though as a body i t d i d not survive i t s involvement i n the 1893 s t r i k e , was at l e a s t p a r t i a l l y s u c c e s s f u l . The regulations adopted i n 1894 provided f o r continuance of unlimited issuance of i n d i v i d u a l l i c e n s e s , a p r a c t i c e that had been begun i n 1892. They also l i m i t e d issuance of an i n d i v i d u a l l i c e n s e t o a "bona f i d e fisherman, being an actual resident o f the Province o f B r i t i s h Columbia." Each member o f a f i r m or company and every person r e c e i v i n g a l i c e n s e had t o be a B r i t i s h subject. Licenses were also made non-transferable. But the remedies against dummy canneries were not, as i t turned out, 2 s u f f i c i e n t l y d e t a i l e d . 1 See page 49 above. 2 Canada, Privy Council, "Order i n Council, March 3, 1894 ^Fishery Regulations f o r the Province of B r i t i s h <3olumbia]," Canada Gazette, v o l . '27 (March 17, 1894), pp. 1579-80. - Ik - Once these new regulations came into effect the agitation over the fishe r y regulations subsided. The po s i t i o n of both i n d i v i d u a l fishermen and canners remained much as i t had been i n the previous two seasons, and the energy of the canners was directed to a struggle f o r the repeal or suspensions of the regulations which required them 3 to dispose of f i s h o f f a l by towing i t to deep water. Agitation was renewed i n 1896 by two unrelated events: the continued increase i n f i s h i n g i n t e n s i t y caused by the growing number of fishermen and the election i n that year of a new L i b e r a l govern- ment i n Ottawa. The f i s h i n g pressure would, i n any case, have aroused fresh discontent among the fishermen, but the coincidence of the ele c t i o n of a new government made them hopeful of repeating t h e i r e a r l i e r success i n influencing changes i n the regulations. The steady increase i n the number of licenses caused a k comparable drop i n the catch per unit of e f f o r t . This drop, to a large extent, offset r i s i n g sockeye prices i n the 1890's. No r e l i e f appeared to be i n sight f o r the fisherman as he watched the issuances 5 of licenses increase i n good years and bad. 3 Colonist, Sept. 30, 1894, p. 6; Oct. Ik, p. 6; Oct. 16, p. 6; Nov. 1, pp. 6-7; Nov. 22, p. k; Dec. 11, p. 8; Dec. 12, p. k; May 17, I895, pp. k, 5; May 2k, p. k. k See Table VI and Figure I, pp. 75 and 76 below. 5 From 1897 on, the annual catch very closely r e f l e c t e d the abundance of sockeye, thus suggesting that the r i v e r was close to i t s point of maximum u t i l i z a t i o n . P r i o r to that date, other factors, discussed previously, l i m i t e d the catch (Ward and Larkin, Cyclic Dominance i n Adams River Sockeye, p. 10). - 75 - TABLE VI CATCH PER UNIT OF EFFORT BY GILLNETS * ON THE FRASER RIVER, 1888 - 1901 Year Number G i l l n e t t e d T o t a l Units of E f f o r t Catch Per Unit of E f f o r t 1888 433,000 576 752 I889 3,651,393 596 6,126 I89O 2,263,250 596 3,797 1891 1,296,937 629 2,062 1892 54-3,100 954 569 1893 5,397,005 1,626 3,319 1894 3,737,200 2,481 1,506 1895 4,033,720 2,580 1,563 -I896 3,120,523 4,291 727 1897 9,959,350 3,832 2,599 I898 2,293,715 4,642 494 1899 4,514,385 4,785 943 1900 1,873,981 6,369 294 1901 11,792,692 6,350 1,857 * Rounsefell and Kelez, Fraser River Salmon F i s h e r i e s , p. 766. The concept of "unit of e f f o r t " "of Rounsefell and. Kelez was developed, t o measure the .intensity of g i l l n e t f i s h i n g f o r the sockeye runs on the Fraser River. From the o f f i c i a l t o t a l of l i c e n s e s issued, the authors estimated the numbers o f Indians, whites and Japanese ge t t i n g l i c e n s e s (Table 2, pp. 706-7). They then c a l c u l a t e d the t o t a l of u n i t s o f f i s h i n g e f f o r t by assigning each l i c e n s e a weight, according t o t h e i r estimate of the f i s h i n g e f f i c i e n c y of each group. Indian l i c e n s e s were assigned a weight of 1.00, whites 1.375 and Japanese 2.32 (p. 707). They used t h i s t o t a l t o derive an average annual catch per u n i t , o f f i s h i n g e f f o r t , by d i v i d i n g i t i n t o the number of sockeye caught, which l a t t e r f i g u r e was estimated from the pack i n cases. The r e s u l t - i n g t a b l e and f i g u r e (Table 31, and Figure 23, pp. 766-7) axe repro- duced i n the present study only f o r the years 1888-1901. For comparison, the cycle of years i n c l u d i n g 1900 i s shown i n red (see p. 3 above). - 76 - 1888 ' 1892 1896 1900 FIGURE I CATCH PER UNIT OF EFFORT BY GILLHEIS ON THE FRASER RIVER, 1888 - 1901 * Rounsefell and Kelez, Fraser River Salmon F i s h e r i e s , p. 767. - 77 - The most v o c a l o f the fishermen—the white resident group that had been the "outside" or contract fishermen during the p e r i o d o f l i c e n s e l i m i t a t i o n — r e a c t e d by attempting t o r e s t r i c t the e f f o r t s o f t h e i r competitors. Towards the end o f the season of 1896, at a meeting i n the Opera House, Steveston, a demand was made on the Dominion Government f o r "changes b e n e f i c i a l t o the fishermen who are residents and voters i n the Province." A committee of seven was chosen t o dr a f t a p e t i t i o n to the Minister o f Marine and F i s h e r i e s demanding, among other changes i n the regulations, that l i c e n s e s be issued only t o P r o v i n c i a l v o t e r s . Such a r e s t r i c t i o n would eliminate the competition of the Japanese who had been deprived of the vote by the P r o v i n c i a l l e g i s l a t u r e . A f u r t h e r demand f o r stringent enfore- ment o f n a t u r a l i z a t i o n was aimed at those Americans who became " B r i t i s h subjects" f o r the duration o f the f i s h i n g season, as w e l l as at the Japanese. The fishermen also asked f o r a heavy duty on imports of trap-caught f i s h and f o r the a b o l i t i o n of traps i n B r i t i s h Columbia waters t o r e s t r i c t another source o f competition, the increasing catch o f Fraser River salmon by the f i s h traps i n United States waters around Point Roberts and i n the Canadian reaches o f Boundary Bay. 7 Whether or not t h i s p e t i t i o n was c i r c u l a t e d i s not c e r t a i n , 6 Columbian, Aug. 18, 1896, p. 4; Aug. 25, p. k. 7 A p e t i t i o n from A. Wheeler, Vancouver, was refused endorsation by the New Westminster C i t y Council because of i t s exaggerations about that c i t y . Whether t h i s was the fishermen's p e t i t i o n cannot be deter- mined (Columbian, Sept. 15, 1896, pp. 1, 2 ) . - 78 - but any plan t o forward i t t o Ottawa was abandoned when i t was learned that the new Minister o f Marine and F i s h e r i e s , L. H. Davies, was sho r t l y t o v i s i t B r i t i s h Columbia* At a second meeting i n New Westminster a committee was chosen t o l a y the fishermen's requests before him. An address, presented t o the Minister during the course of a t r i p made under the committee's auspices from New Westminster down the Fraser River t o Steveston, repeated at some length objections to various aspects of the reg u l a t i o n s . The main request was f o r the r e s t r i c t i o n of l i c e n s e s t o P r o v i n c i a l voters 9 and bona f i d e fishermen. The Minister's v i s i t marks the emergence, f o r the f i r s t time, o f a separate group comprising fishermen who l i v e d i n Vancouver i n the off-season. Meeting i n the Union H a l l , Hastings Street, t h i s group passed r e s o l u t i o n s s i m i l a r t o those accepted at the New Westminster and Steveston meetings, and appointed 10 a committee t o present re s o l u t i o n s t o the Mini s t e r . Their deputation was headed by Robert Macpherson, a member o f the B r i t i s h Columbia L e g i s l a t i v e Assembly, who introduced the presentation by pointed reference t o the f a c t that these men had helped e l e c t the new L i b e r a l member f o r Burrard. The leaders o f the delegation made i t p l a i n that, i n opposing l i c e n s e s f o r a l l a l i e n s , Japanese or 8 Columbian, Oct. 26, 1896, p. 1. 9 Ibid., Dec. 15, 1896, p. k; Dec. 16, p. 1. 10 World, Get. 31, 1896, p. 5. - 79 - Americans, they spoke f o r resident fishermen. They also made e x p l i c i t the demand that the canners he deprived-of t h e i r 20 l i c e n s e s . 11 That demand was not at a l l favorably received by the Minister. In t h i s s e r i e s o f meetings the fishermen f o r the f i r s t time had easy access t o the Minister, and the assistance of L i b e r a l p o l i - t i c i a n s i n smoothing the way f o r the presentation o f t h e i r case. Both these f a c t s might w e l l have strengthened an impression that sympathetic consideration would be given t o the redress of grievances. There followed, however,, a rather l e i s u r e l y consideration of p o s s i b l e changes i n the f i s h e r y regulations. In July, 1897, "Professor" Edward Prince, the Dominion F i s h e r i e s Commissioner, attended meetings i n New Westminster and Steveston, arranged by Aulay Morrison. Prince heard spokesmen f o r the fishermen, i n c l u d i n g members of the committee who had met the Minister, amplify t h e i r grievances and place f r e s h emphasis on the u n f a i r competition from Americans who entered B r i t i s h Columbia only f o r the sockeye season. Procedures used by F i s h e r i e s o f f i c e r s i n handling l i c e n s e a p p l i - cations were also condemned as making easy the evasion o f the requirement of B r i t i s h c i t i z e n s h i p . Prince was impressed by the 12 unanimity of the fishermen*s views on desirable changes. 11 News-Advertiser, Dec. 15, 1896, p. 5; World, Dec. 15, p. 5. 12 Columbian, July 26, I897, p. 3; Aug. 2, p. 1. - 80 - None o f these meetings was c a l l e d by an i d e n t i f i a b l e organization, and none r e s u l t e d i n the s e t t i n g up o f more than a temporary committee f o r a s p e c i f i c object. The meetings with Professor Prince were arranged by Aulay Morrison, the New Westminster L i b e r a l Member o f Parliament who had been e l e c t e d i n 1896. The suggestion that a union was needed appeared i n con- nection with the p r i c e dispute o f 1897. Just before Prince's v i s i t , a Steveston correspondent o f the Columbian remarked that 'what i s evide n t l y needed i s a strong Fishermen's Union t o take organized a c t i o n . . . . But t h i s union cannot be established a f t e r the f i s h 13 have begun t o enter the r i v e r . " Another Steveston correspondent reported t h a t "the fishermen would l i k e very much t o e s t a b l i s h a union, but they f e e l the task i s too great, owing t o the cosmopolitan character of the crowd who come here." The fishermen were said , however, t o be pinning t h e i r hopes on the e f f e c t i v e l i m i t a t i o n o f Ik both fishermen and b o a t - p u l l e r s t o B r i t i s h subjects. Vancouver fishermen, d i d attempt at t h i s time to set up a fishermen's union. At an organization meeting the chairman and the secretary were men who had been members of the deputation t o the 15 Minister of Marine and F i s h e r i e s the previous year. Though plans were made t o d r a f t a c o n s t i t u t i o n and by-laws, and 38 fishermen were x3 Columbian, July 12, 1897, p. 1. Ik Ibid., Aug. 31, 1897, p. 3. 15 News-Advertiser, Dec. 15, 1896, p. 5. - 81 - 16 e n r o l l e d at the meeting, the attempt came t o nothing. One explanation f o r the l a c k o f any move toward formal organization by the New Westminster and Steveston resident fishermen may l i e i n the enthusiasm of many of t h e i r leaders f o r co-operative canneries as a means, of c o n t r o l l i n g the e f f e c t s of p r i c e cuts during the season and l i m i t a t i o n s on d e l i v e r i e s of f i s h . Two such co-operative canneries were s t a r t e d at t h i s time: one at A n n i e v i l l e i n 1896 by the Fraser River I n d u s t r i a l Society Limited and one at Steveston , 18 i n 1897 by the C o l o n i a l Canning Company, Limited L i a b i l i t y . Several fishermen who served on committees or delegations i n these years or who were l a t e r i n the unions were among the organizers o f these ventures. F i n a l l y , e a r l y i n 1898, the f e d e r a l f i s h e r i e s a u t h o r i t i e s , were ready with a d r a f t o f a complete r e v i s i o n of the r e g u l a t i o n s . The d r a f t met with i n s t a n t opposition from the canners on the question 19 o f l i c e n s e s . Clauses two and three tightened the regulations i n favor of the fishermen who were residents and B r i t i s h subjects, but f o r the f i r s t time required that boat-pullers have a permit. F i s h e r - men and boat-pullers were t o be required t o r e g i s t e r with the 16 News-Advertiser. Sept. 8, 1897, p. 5; World, Sept. 8, p. 8. 17 B.C. Reg. of Cos., F i l e 63 (Co-op) [microfilm] . 18 Ibid., F i l e 413 (1890) [microfilm] . 19 What the exact proposals were cannot be s a i d since no copy o f the d r a f t i s a v a i l a b l e t o me. - 82 - Inspector of Fisheries by March 31st and from t h i s r e g i s t e r would be taken the names of applicants f o r licenses and permits. I f t h i s regulation were enforced, i t would obviously d i s q u a l i f y Japanese who arrived by steamer just before the sockeye season and Americans who came to the Fraser f o r the July opening. But i t would also d i s q u a l i f y , as the canners pointed out, a number of men who worked for the remainder of the year i n industries i n other parts of the Province. In addition to t h e i r objection to the procedure f o r granting i n d i v i d u a l licenses, the canners objected strenuously to the proposal to cut 20 cannery licenses to ten. That the weight of the proposed new regulations favoured the fishermen can be judged from the reactions from the two groups—the fishermen and the canners. At a meeting i n New Westminster, f i s h e r - men had p r a c t i c a l l y no amendments to o f f e r and the few put forward 21 d i d not refer to the l i c e n s i n g system. The canners, i n contrast, not only suggested extensive amendments, but sought to delay pro- clamation of the regulations. They wired Ottawa asking that the eff e c t i v e date f o r the changes be postponed u n t i l t h e i r represen- 22 tations could reach the c a p i t a l . Presumably they also sought delay i n the hopes that they could exert p o l i t i c a l pressure on the Department. 20 World. A p r i l 26, 1898, p. 2; News-Advertiser, A p r i l 27, p. 3; Columbian, A p r i l 29, p. 3. 21 Columbian, June 7, 1898, p. 1. 22 World, A p r i l 27, I898, p. 5. - 83 - Besides the protest, the meeting of canners produced a long-term r e s u l t , f o r the large and more than usually representative gathering decided to set up a formal and permanent association to replace the e x i s t i n g informal and p a r t i a l means of consultation. Up to t h i s point, a Canners* Association i s mentioned from time to time i n the newspapers, hut i t seems t o have been an ad hoc grouping 23 whose existence a leading canner could refuse to recognize. By 1898, the association was l i n k e d with, but not part of, the Vancouver Board of Trade to which many canners belonged. The Board also had a f i s h e r i e s committee made up of canners and agents, as d i d the B r i t i s h Columbia Board of Trade i n V i c t o r i a . But now a desire had arisen f o r something more close l y k n i t . Henry B e l l - I r v i n g t o l d a meeting at which the idea was put forward that the canners were being ignored by the Department of Marine and Fisheries and that a new type of organization would command more respect i n Ottawa. After some d i s - cussion, a motion creating an organization, t e n t a t i v e l y c a l l e d the " B r i t i s h Columbia Salmon Packers Association," was endorsed and committees made up of three representatives each from Vancouver, V i c t o r i a and New Westminster, were set up to draft the necessary 2k constitution and by-laws. This organization was undoubtedly given impetus i n i t s formative months by the proclamation i n August, 1898, 23 World, Dec. k, 1896, p. 8. 2k Ibid., A p r i l 26, 1898, p. 2j News-Advertiser, A p r i l 27, p. 3; Columbian, A p r i l 29, p. 3. - 84 - of a number of amendments to the fis h e r y regulations t o come into 25 effect i n the next season. The canners had succeeded i n having the government delay 26 any change i n the regulations u n t i l a f ter the season of 1898. The department had also decided that a complete rev i s i o n of the e x i s t i n g 27 regulations would have to wait. But changes had been made i n a number of the most contentious clauses i n the regulations: the qu a l i f i c a t i o n s of license holders and the method by which a p p l i - cations were t o be made. The amendments c a l l e d f o r licenses t o be r e s t r i c t e d to B r i t i s h subjects resident i n Canada, who were bona f i d e fishermen. Each applicant f o r a license was required, no l a t e r than A p r i l 30, to enter personally h i s name and address i n a reg i s t e r t o be kept by l o c a l fishery o f f i c e r s . When actually taking out h i s l i c e n s e , he had to show a receipt for payment of h i s p r o v i n c i a l p o l l tax f o r the preceding year. One license was to be given to each person who was thus q u a l i f i e d . Canneries were to get only 10 licenses instead of 20 as before, and these were s p e c i f i c a l l y r e s t r i c t e d to only one fisherman, native Indian or B r i t i s h subject, whose name was to go on the l i c e n s e . Individual licenses were to be non-transferable and cannery licenses were to 25 Canada, Privy Council, "Order i n Council, August 3, 1898 [Amend- ment to Fishery Regulations f o r the Province of B r i t i s h Columbia] ,11 Canada Gazette, v o l . 32 (August 13, 1898), pp. 280-1. 26 Colonist, June 9, I898, p. 2. 27 Canada, S.P., 1900, no. H a , p. xv. - 85 - be ca n c e l l e d i f the cannery f a i l e d t o operate. For the f i r s t time a permit was required f o r b o a t - p u l l e r s ; these men d i d not have t o be B r i t i s h subjects but they had t o r e g i s t e r under the same conditions as fishermen. The remaining amendments dealt i n d e t a i l with the 28 marking of boats and nets and with p e n a l t i e s f o r v i o l a t i o n s . The regulations, as amended, conceded t o the fishermen ni 1 the changes f o r which they had been a g i t a t i n g , except the complete e l i m i n a t i o n of cannery l i c e n s e s . In the p o l i t i c a l struggle over regulations, the fishermen had worsted the canners, p a r t l y because i n t h i s f i g h t they had found f r i e n d s i n the government. Of t h i s they were immediately reminded. When the d r a f t of the regulations was released, the New Westminster Columbian, a f r i e n d of the L i b e r a l government, s a i d "complete p r o t e c t i o n f o r the fishermen and boat- p u l l e r s i s aimed a t , " and i t was quick t o claim the c r e d i t f o r t h i s achievement f o r the l o c a l L i b e r a l Member o f Parliament. Morrison, i t said, had fought hard f o r the fishermen and had been supported by Professor Prince who had been much impressed by the fishermen's demands during h i s v i s i t t o the Fraser i n 1897. The Toronto Monetary Times also a t t r i b u t e d the enactment of the regulations t o 30 ''the exercise o f p o l i t i c a l i nfluence on the part o f the fishermen." 28 Canada Gazette, v o l . 32 (August 13, 1898), pp. 280-1. 29 A p r i l 16, I898, p. 1. 30 C i t e d i n Colonist, Feb. k, 1899, p. k. - 86 - In t h i s b a t t l e f o r p o l i t i c a l influence the canners had suffered a defeat. Partly because they were more or l e s s s a t i s f i e d with the status-quo, they had not campaigned as vigorously as the fishermen, who i n the course of several years had hammered out a set of very s p e c i f i c demands. Nor had the canners, as they them- selves recognized, been unanimous, or even united, i n presenting t h e i r demands. Now confronted by what they f e l t t o be a h o s t i l e Department of Marine and F i s h e r i e s — t h e Minister was reported by a canner to have said he would have forced the regulations down the throats of the canners except f o r the coming Quebec meetings of 31 the Joint High Commission on the A t l a n t i c f i s h e r i e s — t h e canners made a vigorous attempt to reverse t h e i r unfavorable p o s i t i o n . Led by t h e i r newly organized association, they appealed d i r e c t l y to the B r i t i s h Columbia Members of Parliament. The B r i t i s h Columbia Members of Parliament and Senators, as w e l l as others d i r e c t l y interested i n 32 the industry were i n v i t e d to a conference. Not i n v i t e d were representatives of the working fishermen—the Association secretary said he could not f i n d any fishermen's organizations of "accredited" fishermen. Two fishermen's representatives, i n v i t e d t o be present by the Rev. G. R. Maxwell, L i b e r a l Member of Parliament f o r Burrard, 31 News-Advertiser, Aug. 18, 1898, p. 10; f o r the Joint High Com- mission, see C. C. T a n s i l l , Canadian-American Relations. 1875-1911» New Haven, Yale University Press, 1943, p. 88. 32 Among those i n v i t e d were the l o c a l managers of the Bank of Montreal, Bank of B r i t i s h North America and Merchants Bank of Halifax, an i n d i c a t i o n of the increased importance of banks i n financing the industry. See p. 38 above [Chap, i ] . - 87 - were there, however. One was David Main; the other was Alderman Alex. Bruce of the C i t y of Vancouver, who had been brought up a fisherman though he no longer worked at the trade. Both had been on the delegation to the Minister the previous f a l l . Also present was J . H. Watson, then president of the Vancouver Trades and Labor Council. The conference i n the main re i t e r a t e d the canners* previous objections to the amendments. F i r e was concentrated on the proposals f o r r e g i s t r a t i o n , f o r permits f o r boat-pullers and f o r the showing of tax rec e i p t s . Alderman Bruce repeated the fishermen's contention that the canners should receive no licenses of t h e i r own, but he conceded that several features of the regulations, such as the requirement f o r t a x receipts, might be reconsidered. Maxwell, who came under heavy attack both from canners and from Conservative Members of Parliament, complained of c o n f l i c t i n g representations. He got the conference to appoint a j o i n t committee of fishermen's representatives and canners t o work out proposals f o r amendments which would be agreeable t o both groups. The committee, consisting of Bruce, Main, Watson, and of three canners ( B e l l - I r v i n g , G.I.Wilson -and P. Eyans) with Campbell Sweeny, manager of the Bank of Montreal, 33 as chairman, went t o work at once. 33 World, Oct. 20, I898, pp. 7-8; Hews-Advertiser, Oct. 21, p. 5; Vancouver Province (hereafter c i t e d as Province), Oct. 21, p. 7. - 88 - Even though t h i s committee had not been of t h e i r seeking, i t offered great opportunities t o the canners. Joint proposals from the committee could give the canners the appearance of having the backing of a l l sections of the industry, and would, at l e a s t , p a r t i a l l y neutralize the objections of any fishermen who d i d not agree with whatever the committee decided. For Bruce, Main and Watson, on the other hand, there were corresponding dangers; they d i d not r e a l l y speak f o r any organization, and could e a s i l y be repudiated and d i s - credited by the fishermen i f they appeared to take the canners* part. On most points, however, the differences were not so great that a common po s i t i o n could not be found. In f a c t , such was the progress of the committee that after two sessions i t had reached agreement on every point except that of cannery l i c e n s e s . The canners were not prepared to agree t o any reduction from current figure of 20 l i c e n s e s , although the representatives of the fishermen were prepared to agree t o a l l other recommendations, on condition that the canners would accept 10 as the number of l i c e n s e s . This marked a concession on t h e i r part, possibly dangerous to them personally, as the fishermen had been f i r m i n demanding that cannery licenses be not merely 34 reduced but eliminated. L On t h i s rock the j o i n t committee foundered. The canners held a meeting of t h e i r own which refused to budge from the figure of 20. At the t h i r d meeting of the committee, Bruce withdrew, saying 31* Province, Oct. 27, l898, p. 2; Colonist, Hov. 22, p. 4. - 89 - that the fishermen should meet and elect delegates, otherwise there would always he doubt about his position. The canners* representatives then tried to get the other two representatives to agree to submit the committee's decisions to Ottawa, including the agreed points and a statement of differences on the remaining point. This Watson and Main refused to agree to, and the committee broke up in a public 35 exchange of charges and counter-charges. The canners* representa- tives reported back to a full meeting of their Association, which endorsed their refusal to consider less than 20 licenses. At the same meeting, the British Columbia Salmon Packers* Association was confirmed as a permanent organization, and authorized to present the 36 canners* claims at Ottawa. Presumably both sides continued to press their cases with the authorities, although actually we know only that the canners did forward the results of the joint committee's decision, including the 37 disputed point about cannery licenses, to Ottawa. Meanwhile, a drum-fire in the press charged that the new regulations were "Killing An Industry," and repeated the canners* lament that the industry was being "legislated out of existence" to the advantage of salmon 38 packers on Paget Sound. 35 Province, Nov. 11, 1898, p. 6 (letter by J. H. Watson), Nov. 15, p. 3 (reply by W. D. Burdis). 36 Colonist, Nov. 16, I898, p. 6; Province, Nov. 16, p. 7. 37 World, April 11, 1899, p. 7. 38 Colonist, Dec. 29, 1898, p. 1; also New York Fishing Gazette (here- after cited as Fishing Gazette), Jan. 7, l899> P. 21; Colonist, Feb. 1, p. 1. - 90 - January 1, 1899, the date on which the registry require- ments were to come into effect, came and.went, but s t i l l the industry was not certain that i t would have to operate under the new rules in the coming season. An indication that the Department had had second thoughts about their efficacy can be seen in a wire from the deputy minister to the secretary of the Salmon Packers* Association: "The Department has received such various representations respecting . . 39 regulations that an early decision will be given." The Eev. G. R. Maxwell said that the department was prepared to suspend the regu- lations entirely and modify them to meet the canners' wishes except ho in the matter of the 10 licenses. When the further amendments were promulgated by Order-in- Council on April 1, 1899, major revisions were incorporated. The requirement that an applicant be a bona fide fisherman was dropped. The registration procedure was altered: the final date for regis- tration was to be June 30, rather than April 30; tax receipts did not have to be produced; and native Indians were exempted from registration. Except for a few technical changes, the government stood firm on the questions of cannery licenses, on the remaining stipulations regarding fishermen and boat-pullers, and on the 41 penalties prescribed. 39 Colonist, March 7, I899, p. 1. 1*0 Ibid., Feb. 17, 1899, p. 2. 1+1 Canada, Privy Council, "Order-in-Council, April 1, 1899 (Amend- ment to Fishery Regulations for the Province of British Columbia] ," Canada Gazette, vol. 32 (April 1, 1899), PP. 1884-5. - 91 - The canners greeted the l a t e s t changes with the r i t u a l protests; the regulations were "very l i t t l e better," Henry 0. B e l l - Irving t o l d the annual meeting of the Salmon Packers' Association. The association passed a motion of "regret" that the changes had not conformed more closely t o the suggestions of the i l l - f a t e d j o i n t committee, and served notice of i t s intention t o agitate f o r amend- 42 ment of the objectionable clauses. As the sockeye season of I899 drew nearer, d i r e predictions about the condition of the industry continued. Fear was expressed 43 that s u f f i c i e n t labor would not be available t o man the boats. A special f i s h e r i e s o f f i c i a l was sent out from Ottawa to make 44 on-the-spot changes i n the new regulations i f they were needed. Whatever labor shortage might have existed was quickly eased by 45 h i s extension of the r e g i s t r a t i o n period u n t i l July 15. By the time the f i s h i n g season opened the number of licenses issued was 46 higher than i n any previous year. The grumbles about shortage of labor changed to grumbles about the shortage of f i s h , f o r the season started very slowly. By the time i t was over, however, the pack was 42- World, A p r i l 11, 1899, p. 7. 43 Colonist, May 4, 1899, p. 2; May 14, p. 1; Fishing Gazette, July 8, p. 419. 44 Canada, S.P., 1900, no. H a , p. xv. 45 Columbian, July 10, 1899, p. 4. 46 See Table V ( G i l l n e t Licenses), p. 48 above. - 92 - bigger than any other year to that date, except the "banner year of 47 1 8 9 7 . This big catch seems to have reconciled the canners to a certain extent to the alterations in the regulations. Once the canners had organized a tightly-knit association that gave them the potential power of wielding all their strength as a unit, the fishermen in self-defence had sooner or later to follow suit. The actual decision to organize seems to have been triggered off by reports throughout the fall of 1899 of various 48 attempts to create a combine among the canners. Combines, or projected combines, among canners were not new. They had been tried from time to time in preceding years, and were mostly agreements designed to keep up the selling price of canned salmon by orderly disposition of the pack. The most recent one had operated to sell k9 the 1898 pack in the United Kingdom. Attempts had also been made in 1898 to organize another type of combine to limit production, but it had failed because the smaller operators would not agree to 50 join. This second type was important to the canners because the opening price for selling the pack of any season was based on total pack figures for all Pacific Coast salmon-canning areas from Alaska kl See Table I (Canneries and Pack), p. 2 above. 48 Colonist, :Sspt. 8, I899, p. 8; Nov. 2 4 , p. 8; News-Advertiser, Nov. 29, p. 3 ; Nov. 3 0 , p. 5 ; Province. Nov. 3 0 , p.lH 49 British Columbia Board of Trade (Victoria), Annual Report, I898, p. 17. . "50 Colonist, July 9, I898, p. 1. - 93 - to C a l i f o r n i a — t h e smaller the pack, the higher the opening p r i c e . This kind of combine was also of direct concern to the fishermen since any agreement t o l i m i t the pack could affect f i s h p r i c e s . What was new about the combine that was f i n a l l y decided upon l a t e i n 1899 was that i t not only proposed t o control the s e l l i n g prices of the f i n i s h e d product, but also to l i m i t production. Furthermore when d e t a i l s were published, i t became clear that i t proposed to control prices of raw m a t e r i a l s — f i x i n g an industry-wide 51 maximum season's p r i c e t o the fishermen. The shock waves from t h i s revolutionary plan r o l l e d through the industry. The f i r s t hint of t h i s new development was followed by the organization of a union i n Hew Westminster; the revelation of the complete scheme produced a second union i n Vancouver. The organization of the f i r s t of the two unions, that i n New Westminster, followed too c l o s e l y on the announcement of the canners* plans to be e n t i r e l y attributable to that news. But, we have seen, a self-conscious and a r t i c u l a t e group of fishermen had grown up i n that c i t y , and t h i s group undoubtedly provided the core of the new union. I t s form was perhaps determined by outside i n t e r - v e n t i o n — J . H. Watson, a member of the j o i n t committee of 1898, and of the organization committee of the Vancouver Trades and Labor Council, reported that he had journeyed to New Westminster and organized the union. I t was chartered by the Canadian central labor 51 Province, Jan. 25, 1900, p. 1. - 9k - body, the Trades and Labor Congress of Canada, and i t hoped to e n r o l l a l l fishermen on the B r i t i s h Columbia coast, s t a r t i n g with a 52 membership of 200 i n the New Westminster area. The union i n Vancouver can be more d i r e c t l y traced t o the reaction to the announcement of the d e t a i l s of the canners* combine. The knowledge that the combine would set a maximum price for f i s h f o r the coming season, enforce heavy penalties on canners who paid more, and f i x the size of the pack f o r each cannery, could not have been reassuring t o the fishermen. Even the Province, no f r i e n d of labor, wondered e d i t o r i a l l y whether the combine could achieve i t s purpose 53 without " i n f l i c t i n g hardship on the fishermen." A spokesman f o r the Vancouver Trades and Labor Council commenting that the fishermen had yet to be heard from, added that the Council would make sure 5k they were heard. The promised voice f o r the fishermen soon appeared. In March a second union of fishermen was organized i n Vancouver, again by J . H. Watson. This union received i t s charter 55 d i r e c t l y from the American Federation of Labor. The struggle over fisher y regulations, because i t heightened i n both canners and fishermen an awareness of t h e i r respective 52 Province, Dec. 9, 1899, P. 12. 53 Ibid., Jan. 26, 1900, p. k. 5k Ibid., Jan. 27, 1900, p. 1. 55 Ibid., March 17, 1900, p. k; World, March 17, p. 6. - 95 - i n t e r e s t s , had polarized them into opposing groups. On the employers* side, the end product was an association embracing almost every canner and wielding considerable power over i t s members. On the fishermen's side, the beginnings of organization appear i n reaction to developments among the canners. Though the struggle over regulations had i n t e n s i - f i e d group consciousness of both canners and fishermen, the actual creation of the opposing organizations was due l a r g e l y to the per- ennial problem of f i s h p r i c e s . Each group was driven to organize i n order t o influence f i s h prices i n i t s own favor. Thus, with the emergence of the new canners* association and the fishermen's unions, the c o n f l i c t s h i f t e d from the p o l i t i c a l arena to the f i e l d of i n d u s t r i a l r e l a t i o n s , from lobbying for changes i n regulations to negotiations over the price of salmon. Once they had organized, both sides rushed to complete t h e i r dispositions before the opening of the sockeye season and the almost certain struggle over sockeye pr i c e s . The canners, with past experience i n business organization and with past e f f o r t s i n co-operation to b u i l d on, were able to carry through t h e i r plans with comparative ease, while the fishermen faced a multitude of unfamiliar problems that had to be solved with desperate speed by the untried unions and t h e i r inexperienced leaders. In the f i r s t f l u s h of the public announcement, i t had been expected that the canners' combine would include a l l canneries on the 54 Fraser River. But once the Fraser River Canners' Association was 54 Province, Jan. 25, 1900, p. 1; Feb. 12, p. 8. - 96 - formally launched, three cannery operators hesitated to j o i n . After several weeks of waiting, the Association decided to implement without 55 them i t s plans f o r c o n t r o l l i n g production and prices. A committee was formed to assign t o each p a r t i c i p a t i n g cannery, on the basis of capacity and past performance, a quota f o r the 1900 season's pack. This committee was also t o set the price t o be paid t o fishermen f o r sockeye i n the 1900 season, but i t s deliberations i n t h i s respect were not made pu b l i c . Only i n the l a t e r attempts of the fishermen t o negotiate prices with the canners was any l i g h t shed on i t s decisions. In March members of the committee began to v i s i t i n 56 turn a l l the canneries on the r i v e r . By the end of March, the fishermen had only just completed the formation• of t h e i r two separate unions i n New Westminster and Vancouver. Everything else remained to be done. They had to create some form of j o i n t d i r e c t i o n which would permit the two unions t o operate together. They had to r e c r u i t t o t h e i r ranks the majority of fishermen, s t i l l outside the unions. They had t o make a c r u c i a l decision about the extent of co-operation with the Japanese and Indian fishermen. F i n a l l y they had to formulate the po l i c y of the unions on sockeye p r i c e s . The way these problems were handled was influenced by the kind of leadership that came to the fore i n the fishermen's unions. 55 Province, Feb. 19, 1900, p. 5; March 2, p. 7. 56 Columbian, March 13, 1900, p. 1; Province, March 16, p. 5. - 97 - The impulse to create a union came i n the f i r s t place from the f i s h e r - men themselves, but i n the formation of both unions they were dependent on the s k i l l and experience of an outside organizer, Joseph H, Watson, representing the trade unions of Vancouver* Watson was a member of the organization committee of the Vancouver Trades and 57 Labor Council, and a past president of that body. After the unions had been organized, he continued t o play a part i n t h e i r a f f a i r s , 58 serving as secretary,of the Vancouver union. Watson had been a delegate t o the founding convention of the B r i t i s h Columbia L i b e r a l 59 - Association i n New Westminster i n 1897, and through the agency of the Reverend G. Re Maxwell, L i b e r a l Member of Parliament f o r Burrard, he had i n I898 got an appointment to the customs service i n Van- 60 couver. This post, f a r from cutting him o f f from the trade union movement, gave him an opportunity of doing organizing work. By 1900, Watson, l i k e the majority of delegates t o the Vancouver Trades and Labor Council, was active i n promoting independent labor candidates 61 f o r e l e c t i o n t o the p r o v i n c i a l l e g i s l a t u r e . Though Watson continued to present the fishermen's p o s i t i o n to the public, the leadership of the Vancouver union soon passed i n t o 57 News-Advertiser, Nov. 11, 1899, p. 5; see p. 87 above. 58 Fishing Gazette, A p r i l 7, 1900, p. 210. 59 Columbian. Oct. 13, 1897, p. 4. 60 World, Nov. 16, 1898, p. 7. 61 Vancouver Independent,(hereafter, c i t e d as Independent), May 19, 1900, p. 1. - 98 - more r a d i c a l hands. The vice-president of the union was Frank .62 Rogers, a one-time seaman who was working as a longshoreman. He was prominent i n S o c i a l i s t a c t i v i t i e s i n Vancouver, and one of the leading figures i n a dissident group i n the S o c i a l i s t labor Party section i n the c i t y . A few weeks af t e r the formation of the fishermen's union, t h i s group broke away from the S o c i a l i s t Labor Party and emerged as the United S o c i a l i s t Labor Party of B r i t i s h Columbia. In spite of the polemics (and f i s t i c u f f s ! ) that marked the clash of t h i s s p l i n t e r group with the orthodox S o c i a l i s t Labor Party members, the causes of the s p l i t are not e n t i r e l y clear. The point at issue, however, seems to have been the p o l i c y of the party concerning p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n trade unions other than i t s own S o c i a l i s t Trades and Labor A l l i a n c e , a "dual union" which at t h i s time, after prolonged consideration, was f i n a l l y denied membership i n the Van- 6k couver Trades and Labor Council. The l i k e l i e s t explanation of the defection of Rogers and W i l l MacClain, another leader of the United S o c i a l i s t Labor Party, l i e s i n t h e i r active r o l e i n the Trades and Labor Council, Rogers i n the longshoremen's and fishermen's unions and MacClain i n the machinists* union. They apparently l e f t the S o c i a l i s t Labor Party rather than cut themselves o f f from the main- stream of the trade union movement by confining t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s 62 B r i t i s h Columbia, L e g i s l a t i v e Assembly, Journals (hereafter c i t e d as B.C.. Journals), 1900, p. clxxv. 63 Province, A p r i l 25, 1900, p. 1. 6k News-Advertiser, Nov. 26, 1899, p. 3; Independent, A p r i l 21, 1900, p. 1. - 99 - t o the l a r g e l y i n e f f e c t u a l S o c i a l i s t Trades and Labor A l l i a n c e . Whatever the reasons f o r Rogers le a v i n g the S o c i a l i s t Labor Party, the fishermen's unions faced i t s problems l a r g e l y under h i s leadership and under the influence of h i s m i l i t a n t b e l i e f s . Rogers became i n c r e a s i n g l y prominent i n the union, although as he 65 l a t e r candidly confessed, he had never f i s h e d i n h i s l i f e . By the time of the s t r i k e he was the union's acknowledged leader. The f i r s t problem t o be taken up, the co-ordination of the two separate unions, was t a c k l e d by a delegation from the Vancouver union t o New Westminster. This delegation, of which Rogers was a member, was given extensive powers t o act, i n order t o e f f e c t a speedy d e c i s i o n . One d i f f i c u l t y was that the Vancouver union was chartered by the American Federation of Labor, while the New Westminster union had i t s charter from the Trades and Labor Congress 66 of Canada. This d i f f e r e n c e was resolved by agreement t o unite under a Trades and Labor Congress charter, but u n t i l t h i s could be 67 done, a c e n t r a l board was set up with Rogers as secretary. This board was apparently somewhat l i m i t e d i n i t s d i r e c t i n g r o l e since during negotiations the New Westminster union was s t i l l able t o 68 send i t s own delegation t o interview the Canners' As s o c i a t i o n . 65 B.C., Journals, 1900, p. clxxv. 66 Independent, A p r i l 21, 1900, p. 1. 67 Ibid., June 23, 1900, p. 2. 68 B.C., Journals, p. clxxv. - 100 - Thus the gap between Vancouver and New ffestmLnster, which corresponded roughly t o the difference between men who fished only i n the summer fo r the sockeye and those who also fished i n spring and f a l l f o r Chinook and coho, was not e n t i r e l y closed and was t o widen again during the stresses of the s t r i k e * The decision t o e n r o l l i n the one union a l l fishermen, whether white, Japanese, or Indian, was an emotionally-charged one. As we have seen, the group represented i n the New Westminster union had i n the past based most of i t s e f f o r t s on attempting t o r e s t r i c t i t s competitors, especially among the Japanese fishermen. Now, quite understandably, i t hesitated t o open the: organization to 69 Japanese and Indians. In contrast, the Vancouver union had i n v i t e d a l l fishermen t o i t s very f i r s t organizing meeting and some 70 Japanese and Indians had attended. At that meeting i t passed a resolution i n favor of en r o l l i n g a l l fishermen irrespective of ethnic 71 o r i g i n s . Relations with the Japanese fishermen offered the greatest challenge. Because of t h e i r numbers—they held approximately h a l f 72 the f i s h i n g licenses issued f o r the Fraser River i n 1899 — t h e i r p a r t i c i p a t i o n was essential t o any successful p r i c e negotiations 69 Independent, June 23, 1900, p. 2. 70 Province, March 2, 1900, p. 5j March 17, p. h. 71 World, July 11, 1900, p. 3 ( l e t t e r from J . H. Watson). 72 See Table V, p. 48 above. - 101 - by fishermen, but great difficulties stood in the way of such participation. To the barriers of language and custom had been added the tension generated by past campaigns among white fisher- men against Japanese immigration in general and the entry of the Japanese into the fishing industry in particular. The approach of the fishermen*s unions to the problem also took place against a background of increased agitation among trade unionists against 73 Japanese immigration. In the spring of 1900, something like a panic developed over the sudden increase in the number of Japanese immigrants--in April i t was reported that 7,036 had entered Canada since January. Trade unionists suspected that the recent visit of canneryman Frank Burnett to Japan had something to do with this 75 increase in numbers. Protests against naturalization procedures and the methods of registering Japanese for fishing licenses increased in volume, Rogers himself making a public protest on behalf of the fishermen's union against license procedures in 76 Vancouver. In this atmosphere the Japanese fishermen could hardly be expected to take at face value protestations of goodwill by the whites who were offering membership in the new unions. 73 The Vancouver labor weekly, the Independent, ran editorials against Chinese and Japanese immigration. (April 21, 1900, p. 2; May 12, 1900, p. 2). The Vancouver Trades^and Labor Council added a demand for ''total abolition of Chinese and Japanese immigration" to its platform. (Ibid.. May 19, 1900, p. l ) . 7k Ibid., April 28, 1900, p. 6. 75 Ibid., May 19, 1900, p. 1. ? 6 Province, June 23, 1900, p. 5. - 102 - Undaunted by these considerations, Rogers personally set about the organization of the Japanese fishermen. The effort at first seemed to have the support of the Japanese consul, who was 77 reported to be anxious to have all his countrymen join the union. Rogers made at least one trip, with an interpreter, to talk to 78 Japanese fishermen in Steveston, and the union held a meeting of 79 the Japanese "bosses" from the canneries to explain its purposes. Somewhere along the way the attempt must have failed for there is no evidence that any Japanese joined either union. Probably the language difficulty was one reason. Perhaps the past and current propaganda against Japanese made the Japanese fishermen fearful of an organization dominated by whites. Then, too, the canners would not have welcomed this proposed accession to union strength and we have no way of knowing what influence they had in the decision of the Japanese not to join the fishermen's unions. When the Japanese did act, the organization they set up was not a union, even though in the newspapers' accounts of the period it is usually referred to as the Japanese union. In actual fact, its name was the Japanese Fishermen's Benevolent Society, and 80 as its title indicates it was a cultural and welfare group. Among 77 World, March 17, 1900, p. 6. 78 "independent, April 28, 1900, p. 5. 79 Ibid., May 12, 1900, p. 6. 80 B.C. Reg. of Cos., 77 (Soc.) [office files] . - 103 - i t s objects were the b u i l d i n g o f a h o s p i t a l and a school f o r Japanese at Steveston. *fork on the h o s p i t a l proceeded at once. The Society seemed u n l i k e l y t o take a strong stand on behalf o f the economic, as d i s t i n c t from the c u l t u r a l and welfare, i n t e r e s t s of i t s fishermen members. It was pledged t o "maintain and 82 f o s t e r a good understanding between Japanese and cannerymen, " and i t d i d not confine i t s e l f only t o those who would be normally e l i g i b l e f o r membership i n a union. One of the three signatories o f the a p p l i c a t i o n t o r e g i s t e r as a benevolent society, Kamekich Oki, was a labor contractor or "boss" at the Lighthouse cannery i n 83 Steveston. This i n c l u s i o n of members of d i f f e r i n g economic and s o c i a l l e v e l s i n one organization i s f a i r l y t y p i c a l of ethnic group organizations. I t can be seen today i n the f i s h i n g industry i n the 84 Native Brotherhood of B r i t i s h Columbia. Such an a l l - i n c l u s i v e membership tends t o prevent the organization from functioning i n the economic i n t e r e s t s of i t s members i n the way a union functions and t h i s seems t o have been t r u e of the Japanese Fishermen's Benevolent Society. By June, 1900, therefore, there had been formed among canners and fishermen a l l the o r g a n i z a t i o n s — t h e Fraser River 81 Province, June 21, 1900, p. 2. 82 B.C. Reg. of Cos., 77 (Soc.) [ o f f i c e f i l e s ] . 83 World, July 17, 1900, p. 1; Province, July 18, p. 3. 84 Gladstone, "Native Indians and the F i s h i n g Industry of B r i t i s h Columbia," CJEPS, v o l . 19 (February 1953), PP. 32-3. - 10k - Canners* Association, the Fishermen's unions, and the Japanese Fishermen's Benevolent Society—that were to take part in the dispute during the sockeye season. Once this process had been completed, the stage was set,for each of the contending groups was now ready to make its own decision regarding price levels for the coming season and to negotiate with the other groups for an agreement on prices. - 105 - CHAPTER IV THE 1900 STRIKE--PHASE ONE As the sockeye season approached and both fishermen and canners c l a r i f i e d t h e i r positions on price l e v e l s , a wide gap stood revealed between the union on one side and the canners* combine on the other. So f a r apart were they that one of them would have v i r t u a l l y to capitulate to the other. Since each side had worked hard during the past s i x months to improve i t s bargaining strength, neither was l i k e l y t o be i n a mood to give i n e a s i l y . The l i k e l i h o o d of a prolonged struggle, therefore, overshadowed a l l other prospects f o r the canning season. On the fishermen's side, the Japanese l e d the way i n f i x i n g t h e i r p r ice demands f o r the 1900 season. According to J . H. Watson, the fishermen*s union of Vancouver, which had made repeated attempts through prominent Japanese to contact the Japanese fishermen, was f i n a l l y , i n mid-June, c a l l e d by the Japanese f i s h i n g "bosses" to a meeting at Steveston and introduced to the o f f i c e r s of a Japanese u n i o n — a "union" which within the next week was registered as the Japanese Fishermen*s Benevolent Society. At t h i s meeting, the white fishermen were t o l d that the Japanese had already decided on 1 a price of not l e s s than 25 cents a . f i s h . Immediately a f t e r the meeting, a j o i n t public appeal, signed by three representatives of 1 World, July 11, 1900, p. 3 - 106 - the Vancouver fishermen and the president, vice-president and secretary of the Japanese organization, noted that the Japanese group already had a membership of 1,250, and c a l l e d on " a l l whites (or any other color)* 1 to j o i n what the document c a l l e d the B r i t i s h Columbia Fishermen's Union. At the same time, i t announced a r e s o l u t i o n of the j o i n t meeting i n favor of a p r i c e throughout 2 the season of 25 cents a f i s h . Later, i n the heat o f f e e l i n g against the Japanese f o r having broken with the other fishermen during the s t r i k e and having accepted a p r i c e lower than 25 cents, Watson joined others i n arguing that the 25-cent f i g u r e had f i r s t been set by the Japanese and that the other fishermen had merely followed the Japanese l e a d . This explanation seems rather too simple, f o r i n an attempt t o score o f f the Japanese, i t ignores other reasons that pre-disposed the fishermen t o ask f o r 25 cents. In the f i r s t place, 25 cents had been the opening p r i c e i n the 1899 season and had been maintained throughout, with only a b r i e f slump t o 15 cents and with several companies paying 3 p r i c e s higher than 25 cents. The season of 1900 was l i k e w i s e expected t o be a small year, so a p r i c e equal t o that of the past season would not appear excessive t o the fishermen. Another consideration i n the fishermen's minds was the p r i c e s reported as being p a i d on the Columbia River and i n Paget Sound. Fishermen from the Columbia 2 News-Advertiser, June 21, 1900, p. 6 3 See Chapter I I , pp. 69-70 above. - 107 - River who came to f i s h on the Fraser, f o r instance, reported that seven cents a pound was heing paid there for the Chinook, a larger salmon than the sockeye. Applying that rate to the sockeye, the k price per f i s h would be 35 cents and up. A more d i r e c t l y com- parable s i t u a t i o n was that on Puget Sound where sockeye were said .5 to be fetching 25 cents a f i s h . Another reason f o r the fishermen to demand a higher p r i c e was that the steadily increasing number of boats cut the number of salmon caught per boat and thus produced smaller returns to the i n d i v i d u a l fisherman. The fishermen based part of t h e i r argument f o r 25 cents a f i s h on an average catch f o r the season of 1,000 f i s h per fisherman, a figure derived from t h e i r 6 experience of the past season. Their spokesmen pointed up the dilemma of fishermen by saying that i n past years they could afford to accept a lower price because there had been fewer fishermen and 7 consequently larger catches per man. Moved by a l l these reasons, the fishermen's unions agreed with the Japanese to hold out for 25 cents a f i s h . Separate meetings k Prices on the CJolumbia River advanced during the season from f i v e cents to seven and one-half cents a pound f o r f i s h f o r the canneries and to eight cents f o r cold storage f i s h . (Fishing Gazette, A p r i l 14, 1900, p. 238; May 26, p. 335; July 21, p. 453). 5 WbiO-dU July 10, 1900, p. 2. 6 Rounsefell and Kelez show an average catch of 9̂ 3 f i s h , using t h e i r "unit of e f f o r t " concept (See Table VI, p. 75 above). S t a t i s - t i c s presented to the .Royal Commission on B r i t i s h Columbia Fisheries, 1905-07, show a somewhat higher average catch, approximately 1,675 f i s h (Report and Recommendations, Ottawa, 1908, p. 23). 7 Columbian, July 27, 1900, p. 1; Independent, July 28, p. 1 ( l e t t e r by J . H. Watson). - 108 - of the Japanese union at Steveston, and the fishermen's unions in Vancouver and New Westminster, ratified the decisions on Saturday, June 30, just prior to the opening of the sockeye season. While the decisions by the fishermen on their price demands are easy to follow because they were made in public, parallel decisions on the part of the canners are more difficult to unravel because they were made in private. The announced intention of the combine was to set a price to the fishermen as high as was consistent with profitable operation, a committee being delegated to arrive at 9 the actual figure. Though hailed by the press as a new departure, this intention was not incompatible with the price pattern of previous years, when the announced opening price was varied during 10 the season according to the supply of fish. Nothing indicated that a price fixed for the whole season was contemplated. What primarily concerned the canners was the elimination of losses from mid-season price boosts caused by competitive bidding for fish among the canners. A solution to this problem would be, not a fixed price, but a maximum price, which would s t i l l leave them free to lower prices in a temporary glut as had been the custom in previous years. For a number of reasons, the canners were likely to delay as long as they could the announcement of any such maximum price. 8 World, July 3, 1900, p. 3. 9- Province, Jan. 25, 1900, p. 1. 10 See Chapter II, pp. 61-70 above. - 109 - Since their other costs were fairly predictable, profit margins depended on the ratio between the cost of the raw fish and the selling price of the canned product. Advance orders for canned salmon, always subject to confirmation on publication of the season's opening price for the canned product, were influenced by opening prices in other salmon-producing areas, especially Alaska and Paget Sound, 11 which also canned sockeye salmon. Prudence, then, induced the canners to wait as long as possible so the price of raw fish could be set in light of the latest market conditions for the canned product. No price for sockeye appears to have been arrived at prior to the season's opening on July 1. Some time before June 2k when the Association's secretary met a delegation of fishermen, the canners' association did pass a price resolution, but only in the most general terms, reserving its right to fix the price of fish 12 from time to time as i t saw f i t . This resolution is added evidence that no fixed season's price was contemplated, and that prices were to be handled as they had been in previous years, lb also under- lines the refusal of the canners to make any concessions to meet the changed circumstances brought about by the formation of unions, in effect, the canners rejected the main principles underlying the union demands: that prices be the subject of negotiations between 11 For discussion of the importance of opening prices in the indus- try's sales pattern, see Cobb, Pacific Salmon Fisheries, pp. 584-6. 12 News-Advertiser, July 12, 1900, p. 3. - no - canners and fishermen and that one price be paid throughout the season. This attitude makes i t unlikely that the canners considered putting forward their own price proposals in answer to the unions* demands, though during the strike one canner blamed the unions' early announcement of its demands for forestalling a voluntary 13 increase in prices by the canners. In any case, an early announce- ment, especially when prices had to be cut, had many disadvantages for the canners. A low opening price would discourage the flow of seasonal labor—better to wait until the men had arrived on the river. A premature release of price figures could help the union fishermen in their organizing drive; in a couple of the past years, disputes at the beginning of the season had been touched off by the posting Ik of price cuts too far ahead of the heavy run. The canners probably also thought, again in the light of past experience, that the fisher- men would be unable to hold out for long; previous seasons had seen similar stands by fishermen which had not lasted beyond the appearance of the sockeye in numbers. The Fraser River Canners' Association, therefore, watched the approach of the season with apparent unconcern. They published nothing about the season's prices and made no counter-moves that would appear to recognize the enrollment of substantial numbers of 13 Columbian, July 11, 1900, p. 3. Ik See Chapter II, pp. 52, 65, 69 above. - I l l - fishermen i n organizations which claimed to speak on t h e i r behalf. The fishermen d i d not begin to f i s h when the sockeye season opened on July 1, and were therefore t e c h n i c a l l y on s t r i k e . But, as the f i s h had not begun to run and the heavy part of the run was not expected u n t i l mid-July or l a t e r , the two sides had an i n t e r v a l i n which differences could be s e t t l e d without any s i g n i f i c a n t cut i n the season's pack. In t h i s s i t u a t i o n , the unions moved f i r s t . They asked the Canners' Association to meet delegations which had been appointed by the June 30 meetings of fishermen's unions. At a July 3 meeting with the canners* executive committee, the fishermen explained t h e i r stand and asked the Association to give them a verdict, on t h e i r demands. The executive promised to c a l l a meeting 15 at which the cannery owners would consider the unions* requests. At t h i s point, a decision by the canners on a maximum season's price was revealed. Even before the meeting of the f u l l association, the owner "of one of the largest canneries on the Fraser" was quoted as saying that the maximum price would be 20 cents and that t h i s maximum would be enforced by heavy bonds already put up 16 by a l l the canners. A canneryman not i n the combine denied that he was paying 25 cents and indicated that he understood 20 cents 17 to be the combine's p r i c e . Presumably, t h i s maximum had been set 15 World, July k, 1900, p. 8. 16 Ibid., July 3, 1900, p. 3. 17 Ibid., July k, 1900, p. 8. - 112 - by the executive p r i o r t o the July 3 meeting with the fishermen's delegation, and was probably r a t i f i e d within a few days of that date by the meeting of cannery owners, a meeting which, as reported by another canneryman, was only a formality because 20 cents had already 18 been decided on. An appreciation of the exact nature of the decision i n - volving the 20-cent figure i s c r u c i a l t o an understanding of the future course of negotiations. Was t h i s an of f e r t o the fishermen for 20 cents a f i s h throughout the season? On the contrary, both canners and fishermen recognized t h i s figure as the t r a d i t i o n a l opening p r i c e , i n which reduction could be made at any time. Previous seasons were replete with examples of a swift cut i n the opening p r i c e as soon as the f i s h began to run heavily. In 1900, in d i v i d u a l canners made i t p l a i n i n discussing the figure, that i t was not an offer t o pay 20 cents for the season. C. S. Windsor of Malcolm and Windsor t o l d a reporter that the Association would, i f possible, pay 20 cents throughout the whole season but would not 19 make any agreement t o that e f f e c t . One or two canners were, indeed, reported to be i n favor of paying 20 cents to the end of 20 the season but the majority would not agree to t h i s . On the fishermen's side the 20 cents was also recognized f o r what i t was— .18 World, July 4, 1900, p. 8, 19 NewsrAdvertiser, July 12,.1900, p. 3 20 World, July 10, 1900, p. 2. - 113 - the usual opening p r i c e . Some fishermen disagreed with the unions* methods—they f e l t the s t r i k e should be delayed u n t i l the 20-cent 21 opening price was actually reduced. Since the crux of the unions' demands was for one price throughout the season, the majority naturally declined t o follow t h i s course and i n answer t o the canners simply repeated t h e i r demands f o r 25 cents. The canners reacted with the i r r i t a t i o n of men who had followed a long-standing arrangement only t o see i t rejected out of hand. From t h e i r point of view, the only new element i n the s i t u a t i o n was not the l e v e l of pri c e s , but the re s t r a i n i n g of price competition among themselves. From the unions* point of view, the new element was the demand f o r one price through the season. With t h i s the canners were not pre- pared t o cope. By the opening of the second week of the season, the canners had made t h e i r decision f o r the time being and began t o o f f e r 22 20 cents f o r the few f i s h being taken. The next move was up to the fishermen, who had t o cut o f f the supply of f i s h i f they wanted t o bring the canners again to the bargaining t a b l e . During the weekend, the unions prepared to enforce a general stoppage along the r i v e r . On Saturday, July 7, two large meetings were held, one at Steveston i n the afternoon and one at Eburne on the North Arm i n the evening. The Steveston meeting was reported to have been attended by about 700 men, about one-third of the fishermen then i n Steveston, and the Eburne meeting by from 21 News-Advertiser. July 12, 1900, p. 3. 22 Columbian, July 12, 1900, p. k. - 114 - 200 to 300. These were propaganda meetings to state the fishermen's case and to show that the unions had the backing of the trade union movement. They were addressed by labor leaders from Vancouver, including Joseph Dixon and Francis Williams, the Independent Labor candidates in the June provincial election, and Will MacClain, the 23 candidate of the United Socialist Labor Party. Further recruiting for the union continued—at Eburne, a group of 125 fishermen were 2k enrolled in the union after the meeting. During this weekend the first stresses began to appear among the disparate group of fishermen. The Indians lined up on the side of the strikers, but one of their chiefs warned the whites against deserting the Indians to go back to work as had happened, he claimed, in the strike of 1893* The Japanese did not participate in the meetings. With some difficulty, apparently, the secretary of the Japanese union was brought to the Steveston meeting to repeat his pledge that the Japanese would stay out for the 25 cents 25 demanded. At the end of the weekly close time on Sunday, July 8, however, a large group of Japanese did go out to fish—nearly 26 1,000 boats were said to be fishing. Since the action suggested 23 World, July 9, 1900, p. 3. 2k Province. July 9, 1900, P. k. 25 Wbrlcl, July 9, 1900, p. 3» The tone of the newspaper reports was uniformly hostile to the Japanese and reflected the belief that the Japanese would break the strike. Lurid reports circulated about the Japanese all being armed. These reports Sogers investigated per- sonally and pronounced a "canard"(Province, July 6, 1900, p. 5). 26 World, July 9, 1900, p. 3 - 115 - either that the Japanese union had not been able to gain the support of i t s fellow countrymen or that i t was not completely straight-forward i n i t s claim to support the s t r i k e , the union f i s h e r - men were confronted with a c r i s i s . I f the s t r i k e r s were t o bring pressure t o bear on the canners, t h i s f i s h i n g had to be stopped. But i t was not i n any panic that the union men began a campaign to inform both union and non-union fishermen about the s t r i k e and to persuade them not t o f i s h f o r l e s s than the union*s demands. Aside from the obvious case of the Japanese, Rogers and other union spokes- men stressed that lack of communication prevented many fishermen 27 scattered along the r i v e r from knowing about the s t r i k e . A system of union p a t r o l boats began on Monday and the boats, each with i t s red and white f l a g , and an interpreter, i f Japanese were to be interviewed, soon swept the r i v e r clean. Some reports indicate that the catch of the offending fishermen was dumped overboard, but no r e l i a b l e reports appeared of violence being offered t o non-strikers. On shore, a procession of s t r i k e r s , organized at Steveston, paraded i n turn t o the Japanese bunkhouses at each cannery on the dyke. The s t r i k e s i t u a t i o n was explained through an interpreter t o the head man 28 of each house. By Tuesday evening July 10, Rogers was able to 29 report that the s t r i k e was as nearly general as possible. 27 World, July 12, 1900, p. 2. 28 Ibid., July 10, p. 2; July 11, p. 2; Province, July 10, 1900, p. 9. 29 World, July 11, 1900, p. 2. - 116 - This bounced the ball right back into the canners8 court and the executive of the Association met to consider the changed situation. They were frank to recognize the success of the unions* efforts—as they wired to J. H. Todd and Son, one of their member companies with headquarters in Victoria, no boats were fishing. But this was not reason enough for the Association to prepare to negotiate with the union. Indeed, in the same wire, they specifically reassured Todd*s that "the Canners* Association has • 30 . not recognized the union in any way." Apparently the canners were unable to believe that large numbers of fishermen were no longer prepared to accept the old system of fluctuating prices. Their only explanation of the strike, therefore, was that a few "agitators" were preventing the great majority, who were quite willing to fish on the canners* terms, from going out. The canners* policy was consequently directed toward creating the conditions under which this presumably docile majority would start fishing again. To do this they attempted to stop what they considered "intimidation" and what the union probably classified as "persuasion"—that is, the systematic visiting, on the fishing grounds and elsewhere, of all fishermen in an attempt to get them not to fish at less than the union rate. As a first step, the canners had already dusted off the legal phraseology used in 1893; fresh posters soon went up over the name of W. A. Duncan, secretary 30 British Columbia, Sessional Papers (hereafter cited as B.C., S.P.), 1900, p. 1007. - 117 - of the Fraser River Canners * Association,, Repeating the exact words of the 1893 poster, these offered one hundred dollars* reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone committing a variety of offences, including cutting nets, intimidating non- 31 strikers, or threatening violence. Protection of the supposedly loyal fishermen was not, however, to he confined to offers of rewards. The canners* executive wired D. M. Eberts, Attorney-General of British Columbia, for police protection. The wire painted a lurid picture of the strike situation; riots and property damage were said to be likely unless there was "immediate and ample" police protection for those fishermen said to be "desirous of pursuing their lawful 32 calling." Armed strikers were alleged to be parading in Steveston, an assertion which shows how far the canners were prepared to stretch the truth to gain their ends for not even the most sensational journalist among those on the scene had reported seeing arms among the strikers. On the contrary, both Vancouver afternoon newspapers emphasized the peaceful and orderly nature of the previous evening's 33 parade in Steveston. Any government numbering in its ranks the Hon. J. H. Turner, former premier and now Minister of Finance, and one of the province's most prominent canners, might be expected to act quickly when the 31 Province, July 10, 1900, p. 9. 32 B.C., S.P., 1900, p. 1005. 33 Province, July 10, 1900, p. 9; World, July 10, 1900, p. 2. - 118 - representatives of the canners asked for police help. Chief Constable R. B. Lister of the provincial police at New Westminster was dis- patched to Steveston on the same day the wire was received in Victoria. The information in the canners' wire resulted in his being told to keep in touch with the stipendiary magistrate in Vancouver in case 3k the reading of the Riot Act should become necessary. Almost as soon as the initial orders had been sent, the unfortunate Chief Constable was bombarded with wires from the Attorney-General's department in Victoria demanding an immediate report. The contrast between the situation outlined in Lister's first reports and the picture drawn by the canners, was a startling one. This kind of contrast was to work against him more than once in the succeeding weeks. "All quiet here at present," reported Lister, who could find only two incidents between strikers and non-strikers, neither of which he witnessed personally. Lister reported his version of the causes of the strike: the Canners* Association had offered the men 20 cents a fish for the whole season and the majority of fishermen were satisfied to go to work at that price. A number of men, how- ever, had been induced to hold out for 25 cents by two 'labour agitators by the name of McCLain [sic] and Anderson." Lister commenced to hire special constables and to make arrangements with the Canners' Association for four of their cannery tugs to patrol the fishing grounds, each carrying three or four special constables. 3k B.C., SjP,, 1900, p. 1005. - 119 - This "exhibition of authority," he was convinced, would prevent "any 35 serious lawlessness." In l i n e with the theory of both canners and p o l i c e o f f i c i a l s that agitators alone were responsible f o r the trouble, an attempt was made to remove the union leaders from the scene. Captain J . L. Anderson, who had been elected president of the Vancouver union on i t s formation, was arrested and charged with intimidation as a r e s u l t of h i s a c t i v i t i e s as a spokesman i n a union p a t r o l boat on English Bay. The information was l a i d by an Indian boy, John Thomas, a boat-puller i n h i s uncle's boat, but the management of the English Bay cannery was evidently behind the arrest since Thomas admitted under cross-examination i n court that he had been sent for to sign the information by a Mr. Graham, presumably a 36 cannery employee. The charges were dismissed and Anderson l a t e r announced he was bringing a damage su i t against the cannery company 37 and i t s manager, J . J . Crane. The thinking behind t h i s purely vexatious arrest i s revealed i n a report by P r o v i n c i a l Constable C o l i n Campbell who t o l d Eberts that "Anderson i s looked on as one 38 of the leaders." The other "agitator," W i l l MacClain, could not 35 B.C., S.P., 1900, pp. 1005-6. 36 World, July 12, 1900, p. 1; Province. July 12, p. 8; Colonist. July 13, P. 6; News-Advertiser, July 14, p. .3. 37 World, July 18, 1900, p. 3. 38 B.C., SjP., 1900, p. 1008. - 120 - be got at i n the same way as Anderson since he was not engaged i n pa t r o l work, but he was at t h i s time dismissed by the Canadian P a c i f i c Railway from h i s employment as a machinist. Although MacClain said confidently that his workmates would s t r i k e because of h i s dismissal, no such action was taken. He then proceeded to 39 devote a l l h i s energies to the fishermen's s t r i k e . Another case involving charges of intimidation against a Chilean fisherman named Williams was thrown out by the presiding magistrates who said they d i d not have j u r i s d i c t i o n i n the case since one of the alleged offences took place outside the three ho mile l i m i t . Williams was remanded several times on other charges ^1 before the information was withdrawn and the case dropped. Though the e f f o r t s of canners and po l i c e were singularly unsuccessful i n permanently removing the leaders, they d i d provoke an angry response from the Fishermen's Union and i t s labor sup- porters. A meeting i n the Labor Ha l l i n Vancouver protested against the use of special constables "to protect the canners* i n t e r e s t , " i n view of L i s t e r ' s statements that he expected no trouble. It also charged that Anderson had been arrested "without any reason whatever." 39 Province, July 16, 1900, p. h. A wire from L i s t e r (dated July 13) would seem to indicate Rogers was also arrested i n t h i s round-up of "agitators," but I think the date given i s a misprint f o r July 23, the day before the m i l i t i a arrived, f o r which date other sources corroborate Roger's arrest (B.C., S.P., 1900, p. 1007). kO World, July ih, 1900, p. 8; B.C., S.P., 1900, p. 1008. hi B.C., Journals, 1900, p. c l x v i . - 121 - The fishermen's union denied that i t had been responsible f o r mysterious notices that had appeared around Steveston threatening t o shoot anyone who fished for l e s s than the union rate or, at the very l e a s t , stove i n h i s boat. lbs p o s i t i o n was stated as urging " a l l fishermen to r e f r a i n from a l l intimidation and violence, but t o use a l l l awful means t o keep men from f i s h i n g under p r i c e . " Plans were also set i n motion f o r an appeal to public opinion i n the form of a procession and meeting i n Vancouver on Saturday evening, July 1 4 . But the fishermen d i d not confine themselves to public demonstrations. On the Friday before the procession a meeting was held i n Vancouver, apparently with representatives from a l l l o c a l i t i e s , at which a committee, consisting of two fishermen from Vancouver, two from New Westminster and one each from the North Arm and Steveston, was set up t o meet the canners, i f the l a t t e r so desired, t o negotiate a settlement. Rogers, Watson and MacClain were not on the committee which seems to have been chosen to meet c r i t i c i s m s 43 that the leaders of the union were not themselves fishermen. While these plans f o r opening negotiations were coming t o f r u i t i o n , the fishermen held a powerful demonstration i n Vancouver. Led by the Fort Simpson Indian band i n c o l o r f u l costume and playing catchy tunes, followed by o f f i c i a l s of the Vancouver Trades and Labor Council, a procession of fishermen and t h e i r sympathizers 42 World, July 1 2 , 1 9 0 0 , p. 1 ; Independent. July 1 4 , p. 2 . 43 Province, July 1 4 , 1 9 0 0 , p. 1 . - 122 - estimated at about 1,000 persons, paraded through the downtown streets to an open-air evening meeting at the corner of Hastings and Cambie Streets. Here a large crowd was addressed from the steps of the Courthouse by various speakers, including Watson, MacClain, Anderson, Dixon, a Fort Simpson Indian chief and Mr. H. Tribble, a labor leader from Winnipeg. The fishermen's case got a thorough airing, and though the speeches did not offer much in the way of new argument, one of the speakers, Ernest Burns, voiced what must have been a common fear of the fishermen, that the price would drop to 10 or 15 cents i f the union were defeated. From the union's point of view the demonstration was highly successful: 200 new members had been signed up in 24 hours before the parade, the crowd donated from 225 to 300 dollars, and the press gave extensive reports of 1*4 the proceedings. The second week of the fishing season ended, therefore, with no sign of a break in the strike—it was on the contrary, becoming more widespread and increasingly effectively enforced as the unions marshal1ed their forces. The canners nevertheless showed no signs of being willing to negotiate. They evidently hoped that the presence of the police would induce numbers of fishermen to go out under their protection. Individual canners predicted during the week that up to 75 percent of the fishermen would return 44 flews-Advertiser, July 15> 1900, p. 8; Province, July 16, p. 3; World, July 16, p. 8. - 123 - 45 t o f i s h i n g when t h i s protection was provided, and Sunday night, the 46 opening of the week's fishing,was t h e i r target date. But Sunday night came and went, and no return t o work occurred. The Japanese, on whom the canners had placed t h e i r hopes, stood f i r m i n t h e i r agreement with the other fishermen. Around Steveston, the heart of the s t r i k e , the only boats on the r i v e r were those with union permits 47 t o f i s h f o r food. In other parts of the widespread reaches of the r i v e r and i t s d elta, the s t r i k e was probably not so well observed. The union had begun to dig i n f o r a prolonged struggle. In addition t o the col l e c t i o n s on occasions l i k e the Vancouver demon- st r a t i o n , donations were being s o l i c i t e d from Vancouver merchants. A wagon load of bread, donated by union bakers i n Vancouver, r o l l e d 48 out to Steveston, as part of the evidence of trade union support. A commissary was set up i n a house i n a f i e l d near Steveston, which also served as union headquarters, and here several hundred men were 49 fed d a i l y . Preparations were being made t o seek support even further a f i e l d — M a c C l a i n and the Indian brass band were about to go to Nanaimo to r a l l y support and get donations among the union-conscious 50 miners. 45 News-Advertiser, July 3, 1900, p. 8. 46 World, July 14, 1900, p. 8. 47 Province, July 16, 1900, p. 3. 48 World, July 17, 1900, p. 1; July 18, p. 3; Province, July 17, p. 8. 49 Independent, July 28, 1900, p. 2. 50 Province, July 19, 1900, p. 2. - 124 - At the "beginning of the week, the canners were forced to face the fact that they had to negotiate—the strike was strong, the sockeye run was reported in the Gulf outside the river mouth, though s t i l l not running in the river, and no more time could be lost. The canners met Tuesday morning, July 17, and amid much grumbling—they refused to meet anyone but bona fide fishermen-- they appointed a committee to meet the fishermen's committee, which 51 had arrived in town with a request to meet the Association executive. The conference took place on Wednesday with E. P. Bremner, the recently appointed Dominion Labor Commissioner for British 52 Columbia in attendance. During the course of an all-day meeting the canners made an offer on prices, their first genuine attempt to negotiate. The maximum price was to remain at 20 cents, but would be reduced to 15 cents in a heavy run and the canneries would not take more fish than they could can. The range of prices between 15 and 20 cents was to be governed not only by the quantity of fish obtainable at both Fraser River and up-coast points, but also by the state of the market. Since the fishermen's delegates had no instructions other than to press for 25 cents, they were obliged to ask for an adjournment until Friday. That evening the union in Vancouver held a meeting, which adjourned until 10 p.m. to enable reports to come in from the Japanese union and the white fishermen 51 World, July 17, 1900, p. 1. 52 Province, June 22, 1900, p. 3. Bremner had been appointed a com- missioner to conciliate labor disputes in British Columbia, under the Alien Labor Act. - 125 - at Steveston and the North Arm, as well as from the Indians. All localities rejected the offer of the canners, but negotiations were continued with the delegates being instructed to meet again with the 53 canners1 committee on Friday and to convey this decision to them. The New Westminster union fishermen were reported to be preparing to ask the canners, through Dominion Labor Commissioner Bremner, for a straight 20 cents through the season, with limits, when in 54 effect, to be imposed equally on all fishermen. The Friday conference opened in an atmosphere of optimism. Both sides were under considerable outside pressure to settle—the local newspapers, for instance, called editorially for concessions 55 on both sides. Reports were current that an agreement would soon be reached and fishing would commence on Sunday night. The fisher- men's unions had even drawn up an agreement embodying their terms for settlement of the strike. A fixed price was to be set for the season, with a month's notice on either side of a desire to alter i t . Limits on deliveries, where necessary, were to be the same for individual boats as for cannery boats. Strikers were not to be discriminated against. Men owning their own gear were to be free 53 News-Advertiser, July 19, 1900, p. 8; Province, July 19, p. 3; World, July 19, p. 1. . 54 Columbian, July 19, 1900, p. 1. 55 World, July 18, 1900, p. 4; News-Advertiser, July 19, p. 4; Province, July 20, p. 6. - 126 - to deliver t o any cannery. F i n a l l y , the s t r i k e was to terminate 56 only after an agreement had been signed. The early part of the conference seemed to j u s t i f y the optimism. When the fishermen had explained t h e i r reasons f o r re j e c t i o n of Wednesday's o f f e r , the canners made an alternative proposal t o pay 18 cents r i g h t through the season. The fishermen's delegates r e t i r e d to consider t h i s and returned t o counter by asking f o r 20 cents f o r the whole season, a move i n l i n e with the New Westminster proposal and agreed to i n the conference break by the 57 other groups by a 3 t o 2 vote. The two sides were now only two cents apart, and before the afternoon session was completed, the World prematurely reported that the l o g i c a l compromise—19 c e n t s — " 58 was the probable settlement, quoting a canner as i t s source. But t h i s was not t o be, for the canners' committee coupled with i t s o f f e r of 18 cents an ultimatum to the delegation. I f the fishermen agreed to the o f f e r , the canners would receive t h e i r assent through the delegation. Otherwise, i t would be useless t o arrange further 59 meetings. The conference then broke up and that evening the fishermen met again i n Vancouver. To t h i s meeting i t was reported that New Westminster and the Japanese were prepared to f i s h f o r 56 News-Advertiser, July 20, 1900, p. 8; Province, July 20, p. 3. 57 Province, July 20, 1900, p. 3; Columbian, July 20, p. 4. 58 World, July 20, 1900, p. 1. 59 Province, July 21, 1900, p. 3. - 127 - 20 cents (presumably through the whole season), while Steveston and the North Arm s t i l l held out for 25 cents. The Vancouver men voted not to accept less than 25 cents a fish—the 18-cent offer 60 was apparently rejected without even being voted on. Thus the deadlock between canners and fishermen remained. The canners* intentions in these final negotiations are hard to assess. On the credit side they made a second offer moving up from 15 cents minimum to 18 cents. On the negative side they coupled their second offer with an ultimatum, if they were sincerely anxious for a settlement, this ultimatum is hard to understand since the union delegation had come down (though, i t is true, by only a majority vote of the delegation) to 20 cents. Two weeks later and after bitter travail, the compromise figure of 19 cents was the one finally agreed to. But without access to records of the Canners' Association, it is impossible to say why negotiations were broken off when a settlement was so close. Fragmentary evidence hints a division in the canners* ranks both on union recognition and on prices. C. S. Windsor, in favoring recognition of the union, provided it was led by bona fide fishermen, ~~oT admitted that other canners did not favor this approach. The problem of prices seems to have been linked to the prices paid at up-coast points—the price on the Skeena that year was eight or 60 B.C., S_j_P., 1900, p. 1011. 61 B.C., Journals, 1900, p. c l v i i i . - 128 - 62 nine cents. The canners* first offer specified that the supply of fish at up-coast points was to be included in any formula governing 63 the fluctuation of prices between 15 and 20 cents. Canners with plants both on the Fraser and at up-coast points may have feared that high prices on the Fraser would lead to demands for price increases in the other areas. Perhaps the problem was that a price differential of 10 cents or more between the Fraser River and northern canneries would place those canners operating only on the Fraser at a disadvantage compared to those who also had plants in the north. Though Skeena River canned salmon traditionally sold for less than the Fraser River product—a differential of 50 cents 64 a case was reported in 1900—the difference in cost of fish would more than compensate for the lower selling price. The measures that the canners turned to, once negotiations broke down, appear to have been decided upon prior to the end of the conference, since the very same evening before the fishermen finally turned down the 18-cent offer, there was a clash with striking fishermen at Steveston, a clash that was clearly deliberately 62 Colonist, July 20, 1900, p. 8. 63 News-Advertiser, July 19, 1900, p. 8. 6k Ibid., July 24, 1900, p. 5. - 129 - 65 provoked. W. A. Monro, the manager of Phoenix cannery, one of the Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company's plants, sent out two f i s h i n g boats, protected by ten special constables i n three cannery tugs. Chief Constable L i s t e r reported to h i s superiors i n V i c t o r i a that 66 t h i s was done "evidently to t e s t the attitude of the s t r i k e r s . " As might be expected, union patrols responded vigorously. Led by Rogers, they seized one boat with i t s boat-puller, though f a i l i n g to capture the second. The captured boat was towed to the wharf at Steveston. There the unfortunate boat-puller was hauled up on a box by Rogers, to be jeered at as a "scab" and then manhandled by 67 the crowd who treated him " l i k e a f o o t b a l l " as he f l e d . This episode gave the canners t h e i r j u s t i f i c a t i o n for 65 One possible explanation of the timing of t h i s episode was that the canners who advocated a hard l i n e toward the s t r i k e r s were t r y i n g to force t h e i r l e s s b e l l i c o s e associates into an attempt to break the s t r i k e . Any theory about "hawks" and "doves" among the canners i s mere speculation, but i t i s .interesting,to note that the provo- cation was organized at a plant of Anglo-British Columbia Packing Company, Ltd. This company was managed by Henry G. B e l l - I r v i n g , an advocate of the.hard l i n e i n past disputes,. and Dr. Duncan B e l l - I r v i n g , H.O.'s brother, was on the canners * executive committee. The Province had heard rumors, before i t s deadline on Friday, while the.conference was s t i l l going on, of "something i n the wind that i s being kept very close by the canners," but took i t t o mean that Japanese were going out (July 20, 1900, p. 3). 66 A f u l l discussion of t h i s episode i s contained i n the evidence given before the Select Committee of the Legis l a t i v e Assembly (B.C., Journals, 1900, p. c x l i x (evidence of Robert Whiteside, J.P.);, pp. c l i v - c l v (evidence of W. A. Munro); pp. c l x i i , c l x i v , clxv (evidence of Chief Constable R. B. L i s t e r ) ; pp. c l x x - c l x x i , c l x x i i i - c l x x i v (evidence of Hugh Campbell);_pp. c l x x v i i - c l x x i x (evidence of Frank Rogers). 67 Ibid. - 130 - fresh appeals t o the aut h o r i t i e s . Though, the newspapers reported, the incident d i d not take place u n t i l 9*30 p.m., a telegram, signed by Dr. Duncan B e l l - I r v i n g and William F a r r e l l of the Canners* Association executive committee (but not i n the name of the Association) was dispatched with suspicious promptness that same evening. It c a l l e d the special constables "useless" and said the pol i c e were unable t o cope with the sit u a t i o n , c i t i n g numerous other (unspecified) "outrages" on other parts of the r i v e r . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , i t quotes an opinion of the si t u a t i o n as 'most serious" from an agent of Pinkerton's, a United States detective agency notorious f o r i t s strike-breaking a c t i v i t i e s , who had been 68 on the scene when the incident occurred. This telegram was followed the next day, Saturday, June 21, by two more, t h i s time directed t o Premier James Dunsmuir and signed . 69 i n the name of the Fraser River Canners* Association. One repeated the claims about the special constables who, i t said, stood by and "saw r i o t and unlawful acts by the s t r i k e r s without attempting t o of f e r a i d . " L i s t e r was said t o be unable to cope with the s i t u a t i o n . "Many men" were intending t o f i s h and the telegram predicted "serious r i o t s " when they began t o carry out t h e i r i n t e n t i o n . The canners argued that the m i l i t i a was "urgently required or great l o s s of l i f e 68 B.C., S.P., 1900, p. 1009. Another wire referred t o the man as "our detective" ( i b i d . , p. 1010). 69 Ibid., p. 1010. - 131 - and property would result." The second telegram, besides recom- mending that Provincial Police Constable Colin Campbell of Vancouver be put in charge, asked the provincial government to send the steamer "Quadra" (which in any case was operated by the federal government J) with armed and uniformed men to patrol off Steveston. Mother telegram was dispatched to Ottawa, presumably to the Minister of Marine and Fisheries, asking for protection against 70 violence allegedly threatened by the strikers. It claimed to speak in the name of some of the licensed fishermen who had expressed a willingness to fish and desired protection, and argued that the federal authorities, in collecting license fees, had undertaken an obligation to offer such protection. It again asserted that the police were unable to cope with the situation and suggested that the canners had been forced to take steps to ensure a "better force" was put into the field. The newspaper coupled this report with a suggestion that consideration might have to be given to calling out the militia. The Vancouver Board of Trade was also wheeled into line by the canners to fire a round or two on their behalf. At a special meeting of the Board called for Saturday afternoon, only 20 or so of the Board's approximately 200 members turned up, including, naturally, a number of canners. Over the protests of several members who argued that the Board was advocating the use of force against 70 Province, July 21, 1900, p. 3. - 132 - the s t r i k e r s , t h i s meeting passed a resolution, presented by Henry G. B e l l - I r v i n g , charging that a "state of lawlessness" existed on the Fraser River and that fishermen who wanted to f i s h were being "intimidated and prevented from doing so." Characterizing the present protection f o r these men as "enti r e l y inadequate," i t asked the p r o v i n c i a l government t o take "immediate steps f o r the f u l l pro- t e c t i o n of l i f e and property." An amendment asking the Board t o confine i t s e l f t o supporting a resolution asking f o r mediation by the p r o v i n c i a l government, previously passed by the New Westminster Board of Trade and c i r c u l a t e d f o r endorsation t o Vancouver and V i c t o r i a , was defeated. To placate the minority, however, a second resolution, endorsing the pos i t i o n of the New Westminster 71 Board, was forwarded along with i t s more vehement companion. Events moved rapidly t o a climax. There was feverish a c t i v i t y i n the Canners* Association, which held meetings o f f and on a l l Saturday. By Sunday morning, the canners had produced a "more d e f i n i t e " version of t h e i r f i r s t o f f e r , made on the previous 72 . Wednesday, for a pr i c e ranging between 15 and 20 cents. The new terms provided f o r 20 cents t o be paid f o r the f i r s t 600 f i s h delivered i n each week and 15 cents f o r any over that f i g u r e . 71 Province. July 23, 1900, p. 3; World, July 23, p. 3; B.C., S.P., 1900, pp. 1009, 1010 (texts of New Westminster and Vancouver telegrams). 72 Province, July 23, 1900, p. 1. - 133 - Canneries would take at those prices a l l the f i s h they could handle and i n case l i m i t s on delivery were necessary i n a heavy run, each cannery would take the same number of f i s h from each boat, whether i t was f i s h i n g on shares or contract. These terms represented a considerable improvement over the o r i g i n a l o f f e r , even i f the canners t r i e d to disguise t h e i r concessions as a c l a r i f i c a t i o n . The promise of 20 cents a f i s h f o r a d e f i n i t e quantity went some way towards meeting the views of those fishermen who had said they would f i s h f o r 20 cents. The pledge of equal treatment when l i m i t s were put on d e l i v e r i e s also met another of the fishermen's demands. Since the canners had terminated negotiations by t h e i r ultimatum and were now not prepared apparently to recognize the union by dealing with i t , t h i s o f f e r had to be delivered to the fishermen by way of posters, which were put up i n Steveston on Sunday afternoon, July 22. The reaction of union fishermen there was to vote down the o f f e r , i n spite of pleas by Mr. E. P. Bremner, Dominion Labor Commissioner, f o r them to think twice before r e j e c t i n g i t . Voting was by secret b a l l o t , the 5kl votes being counted by two of the newspaper reporters at the meeting. T a l l y was 492 f o r 25 cents, 15 f o r 22-1/2 cents, 27 f o r 20 cents and seven spoiled 73 b a l l o t s . This was the vote of the hard-core of s t r i k e r s , those men who, as Watson said, were so incensed at the canners that they 73 World, July 23, 1900, p. 3. - 134 - 74 were determined to hold out f o r 25 cents. Among the leaders who spoke, Burns and MacClain notably refrained from advising the men how to vote on the o f f e r , and confined themselves to urging them to abide by majority decision, a :position that suggests they 75 i n c l i n e d to a compromise at l e s s than 25 cents. The temper of the meeting was such, however, that any compromise suggestion 76 brought angry denunciations from the rank and f i l e fishermen. During the 24 hours after the canners had posted t h e i r l a t e s t o f f e r , contacts were reportedly made between the Association 77 and the Japanese. The report says that an agreement was signed with the Japanese union, and the canners themselves mentioned a 78 "further agreement" i n a wire to Eberts on Sunday. Whether any formal, agreement was signed or not, the Japanese held a huge meeting i n Steveston on Monday afternoon which was attended by from 3,500 to 4,000 men. After hearing speeches by several "Japanese labor contractors" and Y. Yamasaki, secretary of the "union", the Japanese Fishermen's Benevolent Society, they decided i n a great burst of cheering to accept the canners' l a t e s t o f f e r 79 and to return to work the next morning. Afterwards, they formed 74 Province, July 20, 1900, p. 3. 75 World, July 23, 1900, p. 3. 76 Province, July 23, 1900, p. 1. 77 Columbian, July 23, 1900, p. 1. 78 B.C., SJ?., 1900, p. 1012. 79 World, July 24, 1900, p. 1. - 135 - up i n a procession, said t o be four blocks long, headed by the 80 Japanese f l a g , and paraded through the streets of Steveston. Later i n the afternoon, the union men could only muster from 500 to 600 men to a meeting intended as a counter-demonstration and did not attempt t h e i r own parade. The stage was now set for the long-feared c l a s h — a clash much talked about up to t h i s time by canners, f i s h e r - men and newspapers—between the Japanese and the other fishermen. As we have seen, the Canners* Association was convinced that the force of special constables had to be replaced by something more ef f e c t i v e , before any fishermen would go back to work. On Saturday they had t r i e d t o get both federal and p r o v i n c i a l govern- ments to provide a strengthened force, and had suggested that one way of providing such a force was to c a l l out the m i l i t i a . By Monday they had answers from both governments of a kind which made i t p l a i n that neither one was prepared t o take the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r c a l l i n g out the m i l i t i a . Legally neither government could have sent the m i l i t i a out " i n a i d of the c i v i l power" under the terms of the M i l i t i a and Defence Act (46 V i c t . Chap. 4l). Section 34 of the Act provided that i n such cases the c a l l had to come from the ju s t i c e s of the peace i n the municipality affected, either from the chairman of the Quarter Sessions of the Peace or i n a r e q u i s i t i o n signed by three justices of the peace. The federal department of Marine and Fisheries had referred the requests f o r protection back to the 80 B.C., Journals, 1900, p. c l x i v . - 136 - to the p r o v i n c i a l government, since law enforcement i n the province a came under the Attorney-General. When the p r o v i n c i a l government received the canners* wires, the Attorney-General had sharply rebuked poor L i s t e r f o r f a i l i n g to provide the necessary protection, and i n spite of L i s t e r ' s defence that he had provided protection on the only two occasions i t had been asked f o r , went ahead with plans to 82 replace him by Chief Constable W. H. Bullock-Webster from Nelson. But, though the p r o v i n c i a l authorities were prepared to add to the force of special constables and to give i t different leadership, they were evidently not prepared to do anything about the m i l i t i a . Their reluctance t o take the i n i t i a t i v e i s probably to be explained by the sharp c r i t i c i s m which had been directed against the province for i l l e g a l procedures on previous occasions when the m i l i t i a had 83 been c a l l e d out i n a i d of the c i v i l power. By Monday, i t must have been apparent t o the canners that they were not going t o get much help from either government. Their wire on Sunday for p o l i c e from V i c t o r i a t o as s i s t Webster, or f o r the m i l i t i a , was r e p l i e d t o by Attorney-General Eberts i n terms which 84 l e f t no doubt that such a force would not be forthcoming. Once 81 B.C., SJP., 1900, p. 1013. 82 Ibid., pp. 1011-13. 83 Peter Guy Silverman, "A History of the M i l i t i a and Defences of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1871-1914," unpublished M.A. the s i s , University of B r i t i s h Columbia, A p r i l , 1956, pp. l60 et seq. 84 B.C., SjT., 1900, p. 1012. - 137 - the agreement with the Japanese was i n prospect, the canners had immediate need of a force t o protect these strike-breakers and lacked confidence i n the p o l i c e already on the scene. In these circumstances, they went ahead with t h e i r own plans t o f u l f i l l the l e g a l requirements f o r c a l l i n g out the m i l i t i a . As a subsequent l e g i s l a t i v e i n q u i r y made c l e a r , the pos s i b l e " r i o t , disturbance or other emergency" was a n t i c i p a t e d not by the three j u s t i c e s of the peace who signed the r e q u i s i t i o n , but by the canners. The r e q u i s i t i o n , addressed t o the senior m i l i t a r y o f f i c e r i n the area, Lieutenant- Colonel S. A. Worsnop, o f the Sixth Duke of Connaught*s Own R i f l e s , with headquarters and i t s main force i n Vancouver and a company also i n New Westminster, was prepared under the canners* d i r e c t i o n i n 85 Vancouver. The Pinkerton agent, Donahue by name, now stepped out of the shadows again as bearer of the r e q u i s i t i o n t o Steveston. That evening at Malcolm and Windsor's cannery a number of canners met with Chief Constable L i s t e r and Assistant Superintendent of the P r o v i n c i a l P o l i c e Frank Murray. Also present were two j u s t i c e s o f the peace, Edward Hunt, a Steveston storekeeper, and a former partner i n a cannery, and Robert Whiteside, foreman of the P a c i f i c 85 Various s p e l l i n g of the name are used. The Province gave h i s name as "F. Donohoe" i n the following "social.note" a f t e r the s t r i k e : "Mr. F. Donohoe, who has represented the i n t e r e s t s .of the Fraser River Canners' Association during the recent fishermen's s t r i k e , leaves to-morrow morning f o r DeKalb, H I . , t o v i s i t a s i s t e r whom he has not seen f o r ten years. .Mr. Donohoe has had many years experience i n la b o r troubles and has . l a t e l y shown himself most i m p a r t i a l and fair-minded [ s i c ] i n such a f f a i r s " ( A u g . 6, 1900, p. 8). - 138 - Coast cannery. Their r o l e i n the meeting can he judged from the fact that the decision t o c a l l the m i l i t i a was made by motion of the meeting, and neither man could t e l l the l e g i s l a t i v e inquiry what s p e c i f i c breaches of the peace or apprehended breaches of the peace had moved him to sign the r e q u i s i t i o n . The t h i r d j u s t i c e , Reeve M. B. Wilkinson, owner of the Dinsmore cannery, was not even i n Steveston, but seven miles away at the North Arm. After he had been reached by telephone, the r e q u i s i t i o n was taken there f o r hi s signature and then sent to Vancouver where i t arrived at 1:30 a.m. July 2k, Colonel Worsnop, who had been t o l d that i t was 86 coming, took prompt action. The Vancouver contingent s a i l e d aboard the steamer "Comox" shortly a f t e r 3 a.m. pursued by the jeers , . 87 of a Vancouver crowd that gathered at the wharf, and arrived i n Steveston just a f t e r s i x i n the morning where they were joined by the New Westminster contingent. The Japanese, who had meanwhile made a l l t h e i r preparations for f i s h i n g , were to go out at eight 88 o'clock, but waited u n t i l ten for a favorable t i d e . As l i t e r a l l y hundreds of boats set out from canneries a l l along the dyke at Steveston, the white and Indian s t r i k e r s stood helplessly by, deprived even of t h e i r leader, Frank Rogers, who had been arrested 86 B.C., Journals. 1900, pp. c x l i i - c l i i i (evidence of M. B. Wilkinson, Edward Hunt, Robert Whiteside, Colonel S. A. Worsnop); pp. c l v i i (evidence of Charles S. Windsor); p. c l x i i i (evidence of R. B. L i s t e r ) ; pp. c l x v i i - c l x v i i i (evidence of .Frank Murray). 87 Province, July £5, 1900, p. 1. 88 Ibid., July 2k, 1900, p. 1. - 139 - the previous day on charges a r i s i n g out of the fracas on Friday 89 night and taken t o j a i l i n Vancouver. The c a l l i n g out of the m i l i t i a may have followed the l e t t e r of the law hut the method adopted v i o l a t e d i t s s p i r i t , as an inquiry by a Select Ctommittee of the Le g i s l a t i v e Assembly c l e a r l y indicated. The i n i t i a t i v e came, not as provided by the law, from the j u s t i c e s of the peace, but from the canners. One ju s t i c e was not even on the scene of the possible disturbances and the other two were unable to give the inquiry s p e c i f i c instances that would have constituted an anticipated emergency beyond the power of the c i v i l authorities t o deal with, as required by the Act. The inquiry had before i t a copy of a wire sent that same evening 90 by L i s t e r t o the Attorney-General i n V i c t o r i a reporting " a l l quiet." Evidence of immediate disturbances was, then, l a c k i n g . The evidence f o r a n ticipating such disturbances would break out was contradictory. The Select Committee, which was set up primarily t o determine the extent, i f any, of p r o v i n c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the c a l l i n g out of the m i l i t i a , side-stepped evaluation of t h i s evidence, saying i n i t s report only that "there i s a c o n f l i c t of evidence, some witnesses swearing that there was no reason to apprehend danger, while others swore that they believed there would be trouble i n 89 World, July 23, 1900, p. 8 90 B.C., S^., 1900, p. 1012. -,li+0 - 91 the event of the Japanese commencing f i s h i n g . " Did any danger i n fact exist and would the m i l i t i a have been more ef f e c t i v e than the special constables i n dealing with i t ? Feeling was high, undoubtedly hot words were spoken and threats made, but the r e l a t i v e balance of forces among s t r i k i n g fishermen i n Steveston that Monday before the Japanese went out to f i s h made any head-on clash very u n l i k e l y . The Japanese were able to muster upwards of 3,000 men, while other s t r i k i n g fishermen assembled only about 600. With such a large preponderance of strength against them and with the scales weighted further by presence of a large force of special constables, i t seems improbable that the remaining s t r i k e r s would have t r i e d conclusions with the Japanese i n a pitched b a t t l e on shore. The r e a l problem was to protect the strike-breakers on the f i s h i n g grounds. There the d i f f i c u l t y was inherent i n the type of f i s h i n g , where boats, each carrying only two men, were spread out i n a wide area at the mouth of the Fraser Pdver, and from f i v e t o ten miles out i n the Gulf of Georgia, i n an arc from the Inter- national Boundary to Point Atkinson at the mouth of English Bay. This was the problem that L i s t e r f e l t he could not cope w i t h — t h e incident on the previous Friday, near Phoenix cannery, even though i t took place i n the confines of the r i v e r , proved that the cannery tugs were r e l a t i v e l y helpless i n face of a group of determined men i n the highly manoeuvreable s k i f f s and boats used by the fishermen. 91 B.C., Journals, 1900, p. c x l i . / - - Unless transport had been provided, the militia could no more have effectively patrolled this clanger zone than could the special con- stables. Many more tugs than were available would have been needed since ordinary steamers would have been useless in the net-strewn waters. The effect, therefore, of calling out the militia was purely psychological—a further evidence to the strikers of the overwhelming array of forces against them. Their sense of help- lessness was reported to have been expressed in these terms: "There are 4,000 Japs, 200 militia, 100 police, and the canners, against 700 British fishermen and a few Canadian Indians." Once the Japanese had begun to fish under the watchful eyes of militia and police, the prospects must indeed have appeared dark to the strikers. At first glance, no hope of a negotiated settlement seemed to remain, and they faced the prospect of staying out for the rest of the season, or of going back individually on any terms the canners would give. Yet, less than a week later, these men were back fishing for a price negotiated with the canners, a happy outcome which in the shock of the first few hours of Tuesday, after the arrival of the troops, none of the strikers could have foreseen. 92 Province, July 26, 1900, p. 1 - 142 - CHAPTER V THE 1900 STRIKE—PHASE TWO With the arrival of the militia and the return of the Japanese to fishing, the strike entered a new and critical phase. During the two previous weeks, the strength of the strikers had lain in their power to prevent any fisherman, union or non-union, from fishing. Union patrols had swept the river clean and few strike violators, except on the very fringe of the grounds, had 1 escaped their attention. But when the Japanese began to fish and to deliver their catch to the canneries, the situation became very different. Union patrols in command of the river were replaced by 2 patrols of police in cannery tugs, which were soon partially with- drawn, however, because the union patrols, unable to force non-strikers to bang up their nets, continued only in diminished 3 numbers, and were largely ineffective. A settlement of the strike on terms favorable to the strikers depended, therefore, upon factors 1 Many contemporary comments on the effectiveness of the strike are based on reports that boats were out fishing. These seem to have resulted from a failure to understand the union, system of permits for fishing for food (B.C., Journals, 19OO, p. clxxvii - evidence of Frank Rogers) and the continued fishing, with a larger-sized net, for spring salmon (Columbian, July 14, I90O, p. 4). 2 Colonist, July 25, 1900, p. 1; Province, July 25, p. 1. 3 Province, July 27, 1900, p. 1; July 27, p. 6; Columbian, July 25, p. 4. - 1-6 - other than their ability to keep the canners from getting a supply of fish, even a supply less than normal. In the days that followed the Japanese action on Tuesday morning, the canners kept saying that the strike was over, and the newspapers carried various reports of a return to work of white fishermen at the North Arm, and in New Westminster, and of an k imminent resumption of fishing by the Indians. By the end of the week, however, it was apparent that the strike was s t i l l being observed by most of the white fishermen, by the bulk of the Indians, and even by a group of Japanese, termed by Rogers the "old-time" 5 Japanese, and estimated by him to number 600. The licenses held by this group represented a substantial proportion of the total of the 3,683 licenses issued in 1900 on the Fraser River—not less than 6 one-third, perhaps as much as one-half. This was no inconsiderable proportion of the fishing labor force, and the canners could do without their services only i f a heavy run of sockeye made i t possible for a few boats to supply the canneries to the limit of their packing capacities. k Colonist, July 26, 1900, p. 1; News-Advertiser, July 26, 1900, p. 8; July 27, p. 1; July 28, p. 1; Province, July 25, 1900, p. 1; July 27, p. 6; World, July 25, 1900, p. 1. 5 World, July 25, 1900, p . l . He amended this figure to 250 in his appearance before the Select Committee (B.C., Journals, 1900, p. clxxviii). 6 1,076 whites and 555 Indians got licenses and a proportion of the 393 company licenses were held by whites or Indians (See above p, kQ - Table V). - Ikk - 7 The run, however, stayed light. This was reason enough for the canners, once they had time to assess their position after the first flush of their victory on Tuesday, to think again about reaching a settlement with the fishermen who continued to hold out. Some canneries were in a more difficult position than others with respect to their supply of labor: these canneries, said to be eight in number, had never employed Japanese fishermen and, there- fore, did not benefit from their return to work. After several days, the Canners* Association allotted to them a proportion of the fish 8 delivered to other canneries by the Japanese. This action further reduced each cannery's already small supply of fish and could be only a temporary solution. The Indians, with rare exceptions, stayed with the strikers. Their close-knit tribal organization, plus their antipathy to the Japanese who were displacing them from the industry, made them 9 among the strongest supporters of the strike, even though they would suffer most from loss of the season's earnings. When the strike was prolonged, there were signs that most Indians, rather than break with their union allies, were simply preparing to leave for their homes 1 News-Advertiser, July 27, 1900, p. 8; Colonist, July 27, p. 1; World, July 28, p. 1. 8 World, July 26, 1900, p. 1; Province, July 27, p. 6. 9 Province, July 26, 1900, p. 1; Percy Gladstone and Stuart Jamieson, "Unionism in the Fishing Industry of British Columbia, " CJEPS, vol. 16 (May 1950), pp. 154-5. - 145 - 10 and f o r f e i t the r e s t of the season's work. A general exodus of Indians would pose another problem f o r the canners; t h e i r operations would be p a r t i a l l y c r i p p l e d by the l o s s of the services of the Indian women and c h i l d r e n who were employed i n processing. The Chinese, who made up most of the r e s t of the labor force i n the canneries, had taken no part i n the dispute. The s t r i k e r s now suggested that they might be able t o persuade the Chinese, who had no p a r t i c u l a r love f o r t h e i r f e l l o w Asians, not to process f i s h caught by the Japanese. Contacts were made with the Chinese, but any prospect of t h e i r j o i n i n g the s t r i k e r s faded abruptly as the canneries s t a r t e d operations with t h e i r usual 11 Chinese crews at work. The c h i e f l o s e r s from any Chinese r e f u s a l t o work would have been the Chinese labor contractors, and they undoubtedly strongly influenced the r e j e c t i o n o f such a boycott. In a d d i t i o n to t h e i r problems with the s t r i k e r s , the canneries faced d i f f i c u l t i e s with the fishermen they had persuaded t o go back t o work. The Japanese who were f i s h i n g included newcomers from Japan, most of them inexperienced, i f not i n f i s h i n g , at l e a s t i n the type of f i s h i n g done on the Fraser River, and unused 12 t o the Fraser River g i l l n e t boats. These, then, were not the most 10 Columbian, July 26, 1900, p. 4; Province, July 25, p. 1; World, Ju l y 25, p. 1. 11 World, July 24, 1900, p. 1; July 25, p. 1; News-Advertiser, July 25, p. 5. 12 World, July 24, 1900, p. 1; Columbian, July 25, p. 4; News-Advertiser, July 25, p. 5. - U n - productive of fishermen. The canners had another source of difficulty- arising from the methods by which the Japanese had been persuaded to go back to work. Because of the language barrier, the great majority of them had no way of communicating with the other fishermen. Japanese favorable to the union charged that their fellow countrymen had been misled into going back by leaders who told them that the 13 whites and Indians were also returning to work. Union men bitterly denounced the "treachery" of Kamekich Oki, the labor contractor at Lighthouse cannery and vice-president of the Japanese Fishermen's Ik Benevolent Society, who was supposed to have received $L,500 for 15 persuading his members to give up the strike. From union sources, also, came reports of Japanese putting their nets on the racks again 16 when they learned that the strike was continuing. Even i f we discount these reports, it is true that the Japanese were not fishing as long hours as usual: apprehension about possible net-cutting or similar guerilla action by the strikers kept them from fishing at 17 night. 13 Province, July 25, 1900, p. 1. Ih World, July 25, 1900, p. 8. 15 Columbian, July 26, 1900, p. h. Other reports circulated that each Japanese contractor had received $100 (World, July 25, p. l ) , 16 Colonist, July 26, 1900, p. 1; World, July 26, p. 1. 17 Columbian, July 26, 1900, p. h. A rash of net-cutting did occur, but after the end of the strike, presumably reflecting hostilities built up during the strike. - 147 - A l l these factors were favorable t o some kind of settlement, but i n the f i r s t shock of the Japanese defection, the remaining s t r i k e r s (led by the union, but not a l l union members) seemed to be without any plan which might achieve t h i s end. Tuesday was a day of confusion and disarray. For one thing, that morning the s t r i k e r s were without two of t h e i r most f o r c e f u l leaders. Frank Rogers had only just been released on b a i l from the j a i l i n Vancouver where he had been held overnight, and he s t i l l had to make h i s way to 18 Steveston by stage; and W i l l MacClain was i n Nanaimo, where he had gone with the Fort Simpson band to attempt to r a l l y support and donations from the miners. How important these leaders, esp e c i a l l y Rogers, were to the union can be seen i n the f a i l u r e , i n spite of attempts by some of the s t r i k e r s , to get any kind of a meeting going u n t i l Rogers arrived. At t h i s meeting, a short one, the s t r i k e r s rejected again the canners* " f i n a l " o f f e r of Sunday, June 22, and doggedly repeated t h e i r demand for 25 cents. The meeting was only a preliminary to a parade, said to be intended as a reply t o the Japanese demonstration of the previous day. Whites and Indians formed up i n a procession 20 that marched through the streets of Steveston. Events took a 18 Province, July 24, 1900, p. 1. Charges against him were l a t e r dropped by the Crown (World, July 25, pp. 1, 8). 19 Province, July 23, 1900, p. 3. 20 Estimates of the numbers i p the parade vary w i l d l y , from 500 to 600 i n the World to 3,000 i n the Province and News-Advertiser (World, July 24, 1900, p. 1; Province, July 24, p. 1; News-Advertiser,, July 25, P. 5). - 148 - possibly dangerous turn when the demonstration circled the head- quarters of the military at Gulf of Georgia cannery, where strikers jeered the soldiers and sang, with intentional irony, "Soldiers of the Queen" and parodies directed at the troops. The militia stood to arms under these provocations, but after Colonel Worsnop ignored the demands of Henry Bell-Irving that the Riot Act be read, the 21 procession dispersed without further incident. A second meeting followed in the afternoon, mostly taken up with expressions of hostility to the canners, the Japanese and the soldiers. At this meeting, Dominion Labor Commissioner Bremner made a start at getting the strikers back to seeking a settlement. In spite of rowdy opposition to his initial suggestion that they accept the canners* terms, the strikers at length agreed to his continuing to try to negotiate with the canners. The meeting authorized him to put three questions to the canners: Would 20 cents be paid throughout the season; would the canners submit to arbitration; and would 22 they recognize the union. The question about arbitration owes its inclusion in part to a current campaign of a section of the trade union movement for compulsory arbitration as a means of forcing employers to bargain with their employees and arrive at negotiated settlements. 3h the 21 Colonist, July 25, 1900, p. 1. 22 Province, July 24, 1900, p. 1; Colonist, July 25, p. 1; Hews Advertiser, July 25, p. 5« - 149 - session of the provincial Legislative Assembly then under way, a motion on this subject was introduced by Ralph Smith, member for 23 Nanaimo City and long-time secretary of the miners1 union. To the fishermen, arbitration meant the canners opening their books so that the price of fish could be set in accordance with what they could 24 actually pay. From the granting of this demand, the union hoped to get proof that the canners could afford the 25 cents the fisher- men were asking. Apparently Bremner did not press the demand for arbitration. He probably felt that considering the current temper of the canners, this demand had no chance of even being considered. He certainly thought that the lapse of time before any arbitration could be completed would lose the fishermen their whole season, for during later negotiations, he raised this point again, and suggested to the fishermen that they return to work on the canners * terms, 25 pending a final price settlement through arbitration. The union men objected to this suggestion and the proposal was dropped. At this point, the demand for union recognition assumed a greater importance in the strike than i t had previously done. In the earlier stages of the dispute the unionists had been satisfied with the de facto recognition given by the canners in meeting with the union delegates. But after the canners* ultimatum that broke up 23 B.C., Journals, 1900, p. 115. 24 Colonist, Aug. I, 1900, p. 6. 25 News-Advertiser, July 29, 1900, p. 4. - 150 - negotiations and their subsequent refusal to deal with the union, hacked by the delivery of offers by letter and poster, the strikers put forward recognition of their union as one of the terms for any settlement. Then, too, their attitude was stiffened by the denunciation of their leaders as not bona fide fishermen and the assertion that all differences could have been speedily adjusted except for the internvention of these outsiders. The union leaders would have been less than human i f these attacks had not made them more determined to force the canners to deal with the union through its officers. In this determination they could draw for support on a natural feeling among fishermen that in the past they had not been dealt with on a basis of equality by the canners. Yet this demand for union recognition remained subordinate to the necessities of a price settlement. Leaders like Rogers and Watson, with their trade union loyalties, might put it first in their public utterances, but, as events showed, the fishermen, though they may have desired a change in the method of arriving at prices, were not prepared to hold out on this issue when a price settlement was in sight. As the fishermen prepared to seek fresh negotiations, however, the demand for union recognition loomed large as a possible obstacle to agreement. Rogers gave it first place in any solution: "Let them recognize the union now and the rest will be easy, but they must deal with the fishermen as an organized body of men or 26 there will be no settlement." Watson excoriated the canners for 26 World, July 25, 1900, p. 8. - 151 - the "quibbles" by which, over the months, they had sought to avoid dealing with the fishermen's unions. He warned them that "the Union is here to stop, " and that they would have to deal with i t 27 next year as well as this. The canners, on the other hand, were now not at all disposed to recognize the union. They felt they had broken the strike and did not have to accept the "Socialist agitators" whom they identified as the leaders of the union. They were also quoted as fearing that recognition of the union would enable it to restrict fishing to union members only, thus reducing the labor force, or i f all fishermen were enrolled in the union, enable it to prevent canners, by threats of strike action, from 28 discharging fishermen "for cause." The feelings of the Canners' Association were clearly indicated by their repudiation of C. S. Windsor, manager of United Canneries* Gulf of Georgia plant. Windsor was quoted as stating in the Association's name that "the fishermen have as much right to organize their union as the cannery- men have to form a combine" and as saying elso that the canners would recognize and deal with the union provided the leaders were 29 bona fide fishermen. 27 News-Advertiser, July 29, 1900, p. 3. 28 Colonist, July 27, 1900, p. 1. 29 World, July 26, 1900, p. 1. Windsor was compelled to make a humiliating denial of his remarks in a letter to the Executive Com- mittee of the Canners' Association which was then;published in the News-Advertiser (July 29, 1900, p. l ) . By the next season he was no longer with the United Canneries, but started his own concern, Union Canneries, in the plant built by the co-operative Fraser River Industrial Society (B.C., Reg. of Cos., Files 63 (Co-op) and 607 (1897) [microfilm] ). The name of the new venture does perhaps suggest that the remarks attributed to him may have had something to do with his leaving the United Canneries. - 152 - Immediately a f t e r the Tuesday meeting, Bremner set about h i s mediation e f f o r t s . Apparently he made l i t t l e progress at f i r s t . The earners' only p u b l i c r e a c t i o n i n the next few days t o the union's repeated demand f o r 25 cents was t o r e i t e r a t e the o f f e r of 20 and 15 cents accepted by the Japanese, and, by way of i n d i r e c t r e p l y t o the union's charge that they would not give written agreements, t o announce that contracts on t h i s basis could be applied f o r by the 30 i n d i v i d u a l fisherman at the cannery f o r which he f i s h e d . Rumors of a s p l i t among canners over the p o s i t i o n of the canneries which had never employed Japanese fishermen were quieted by the Executive Committee's announcement that f i s h would be a l l o c a t e d t o them from 31 the other canneries. Besides the pressure created by the absence of part of t h e i r l abor force, the biggest stimulus t o the canners t o re-open negotiations probably came from the debate i n the L e g i s l a t i v e Assembly on the s t r i k e , and e s p e c i a l l y on the c a l l i n g out of the m i l i t i a . In the previous few months, the province had passed through 32 a peri o d of intense p o l i t i c a l excitement, a r i s i n g from the dismissal by Lieutenant-Governor T. R. Mslnnes of the Semlin ministry and h i s s e l e c t i o n of Joseph Martin t o form a government. Martin's l a c k of support i n the L e g i s l a t i v e Assembly had forced him t o c a l l a June 30 Province. July 25, 1900, p. 1; Hews-Advertiser, July 26, p. 1. 31 World, July 26, 1900, p. l j Columbian, July 26, p. h. 32 Margaret A. Ormsby, B r i t i s h Columbia: a History, Toronto, Macmillan, 1958, pp. 321-24". - 153 - p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n , which sealed h i s government's f a t e , and that of Mo Lanes, but which d i d not see the emergence of any clear-cut a l t e r n a t i v e . This s i t u a t i o n had been temporarily resolved a month before by the patching together of yet another c o a l i t i o n government. In i t s f i r s t session t h i s rather shaky c o a l i t i o n faced an opposition of nearly equal s i z e . At Wednesday's session, a strong attack on the c a l l i n g out of the m i l i t i a was launched by Ralph Smith and backed by other opposition members. They argued that the a c t i o n had not been j u s t i f i e d by the s i t u a t i o n and demanded information about the circumstances l e a d i n g t o that d r a s t i c step—one member s a i d the j u s t i c e s of the peace deserved the "severest censure." The government i n r e p l y was c a r e f u l t o point out that i t had no r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r the d e c i s i o n . I t s r o l e , s a i d the ministers, was one of r e f u s i n g t o aggravate the c o n f l i c t by sending the l a r g e a d d i t i o n a l forces of s p e c i a l constables demanded by the canners. It had o f f e r e d , through the Boards of Trade of New Westminster and Vancouver, t o mediate, but neither canners or fishermen had responded t o the, o f f e r . The debate revealed a general d i s p o s i t i o n among the members t o favor the fishermen, whose law-abiding behaviour was noted and the canners were c r i t i c i z e d — b y a member with cannery i n t e r e s t s — f o r not o f f e r i n g a minimum p r i c e e a r l i e r i n the dispute. The opposition prodded the government t o take further a c t i o n t o s e t t l e with the remaining s t r i k e r s , and Bremner was praised on 33 both sides of the House f o r h i s e f f o r t s . 33 For reports of the debate see, Colonist, July 26, 1900, P. 6; News-Advertiser, July 26, p. 2. - 154 - The reports of t h i s debate, as w e l l as the growing r e a l i - zation among the canners that they needed a l l t h e i r fishermen back at work, undoubtedly strengthened Bremner*s hand. E a r l i e r i n the week, Bremner*s numerous contacts with the canners* executive had been reported " f r u i t l e s s " and he himself was stigmatized as a 34 "representative of the s t r i k e r s . " But at the same time as the 35 debate came f r e s h e d i t o r i a l demands f o r a settlement of the s t r i k e . In t h i s changed atmosphere, s u f f i c i e n t progress was made by Friday afternoon f o r Rogers t o be able t o say that a meeting o f the Steveston s t r i k e r s t o be h e l d on Saturday morning would appoint a committee with powers t o discuss and sign an agreement with the 36 Canners* A s s o c i a t i o n . During t h i s week, the informal l i n k s between the diverse groups of s t r i k e r s proved unequal t o the str e s s of t r y i n g t o hold the s t r i k e r s together t o get some sort o f negotiated settlement. The problem stemmed from the f a i l u r e t o uni t e a l l fishermen (except the Japanese) i n t o one union with c e n t r a l d i r e c t i o n . The Joint Board created t o co-ordinate the Vancouver and New Westminster l o c a l s , seems never t o have functioned and no other form o f o v e r a l l co-ordination was developed i n i t s p l a c e . 34 Colonist, July 27, 1900, p. 1. 35 Province, July 26, 1900, p. 4; World, July 26, p. 4; News- Advertiser, July 27, p. 4. 36 News-Advertiser, July 28, 1900, p. 5. 37 See Chapter I I I , p. 99 above. - 155 - After the strike began, the Vancouver union was itself divided; while it s t i l l functioned in the city under Peter Wylie, 38 the president, and J. H. Watson, chosen secretary pro. tem., a strike centre grew up at Steveston under the leadership of Frank Rogers, the vice-president. The importance of this centre grew with the development of the strike; Steveston had the largest concentration of canneries, and therefore the largest number of strikers; it was also in a strategic position for the direction of patrols, commanding the main channel and being at the nearest point to the grounds outside the mouth of the river. The physical division of the union may also have been accentuated by the political views of its leaders: Watson was an Independent Labor supporter, while Rogers gathered around him some of his fellow Socialists, like MacClain and Burns. The role in the strike of these latter two became a matter of controversy, since they spoke for the strikers, and yet were neither fishermen nor members of the union. As the strike continued, embryo union locals developed in each locality where there were substantial groups of fishermen. In addition to the Steveston group, separate groups were formed by fishermen at the canneries on the North Arm of the Fraser River, at Ladner's Landing and at Canoe Pass, the latter both south of the main channel. What degree of organization existed outside Steveston is not known, but i f the Steveston pattern was followed, 38 Province, July 19, 1900, p. 3 - 156 - each group functioned through a series of meetings, which elected chairmen and secretaries as the need arose, hut did not create any continuing group of officers. Leadership, as can he seen in the case of Rogers, was largely on the basis of personality, not office. Another section of the strike "front" came under the New Westminster local, which embraced chiefly the men who habitually fished in the upper reaches of the river, and, in many cases, had their homes in New Westminster. Outside this regional organization were the Indians. They were, in most cases, not formally members of the union, though they usually attended meetings in the area where they were camped, but were grouped in their tribal bands under the leadership of their chiefs. The co-ordination of these loosely linked components developed on an ad hoc basis during the strike. At the outset, decisions continued to be taken in the name of the Vancouver union. In the first week or so, these decisions involved chiefly protests of one kind or another or, at most, a re-affirmation of the stand for 25 cents and they were taken without any consultation of the 39 areas. When the strike entered its second week and negotiations were in prospect, a committee was set up representing the Vancouver, New Westminster and Japanese unions and the local groups in Steveston kO and the North Arm. The Indians had no representation. Voting on 39 Independent, July lk, 1900, p. 1 kO Ibid., July 21, 1900, p. 1. - 157 - reports of the committee was done i n each of the groups and the Indians were also consulted, the re s u l t s being passed on to the committee. On the only occasion when the committee i s known to have voted on t a c t i c s , voting was by u n i t , each group having one 1+1 vote. Once negotiations had been broken o f f , t h i s committee apparently lapsed. Because the canners refused t o meet with any but bona f i d e fishermen, the committee d i d not include the actual leaders of the s t r i k e and therefore d i d not develop into a central s t r i k e committee, as i t might have done with a different membership. Strike co-ordination then reverted to the previous informal contacts. In the absence of central d i r e c t i o n , t h i s rather ramshackle structure threatened to f a l l apart during the c r i s i s caused by the defection of the Japanese. On Monday, July 23, when the canners were c i r c u l a t i n g t h e i r o f f e r f o r 20 cents f o r the f i r s t 600 f i s h a week and 15 cents over that number, groups i n Vancouver and the 1+2 North Arm voted to accept i t . Since both were much smaller groups than the one at Steveston (the North Arm being perhaps one-quarter as large, and only a comparative handful being l e f t i n Vancouver), they did not speak f o r anything l i k e the majority of union fishermen. This fact decided the North Arm group not to return t o f i s h i n g u n t i l they saw what Steveston was going to do. Vancouver, on the other hand, over the protests of some of i t s members who l e f t i n disgust 1+1 See Chapter IV, p. 126 above. 1+2 World, July 2l+, 1900, p. 1 - 158 - 43 to go to Steveston, met with the canners. Whether they asked for union recognition and an agreement signed with the union as a condition of accepting the offer is not clear, but i f so, they were not successful. They were bluntly told that contracts for individual fishermen at the prices offered by the canners were available at 44 the canneries. The next break came among the Indians. On Thursday and Friday a number of them who fished for the Pacific Coast cannery took out their boats under guard of police on tugs. The canners made attempts to get the rest of the Indians also to go back to work; on Thursday evening a large meeting of Indians was held at . Canoe Pass, and was attended by Dr. Duncan Bell-Irving of the Executive Committee of the Canners* Association, and A. W. Vowell, Superintendent of Indian Affairs for British Columbia. The most they could extract from the gathering was a promise that the Indians 46 would go back on Sunday night, i f the strike was not settled. A union-sponsored meeting in Steveston on the same day had already succeeded in rallying the chiefs to persuade the Indians who were fishing to put up their nets and to stop any further back-to-work 47 movement. 43 News-Advertiser, July 25, 1900, p. 5. 44 Ibid., July 29, 1900, p. 4. Province, July 26, 1900, p. 1; July 27, p. 6. 46 Ibid., July 27, 1900, p. 6. 47 News-Advertiser. July 28, 1900, p. 5. - 159 - At the same time the New Westminster union followed the Vancouver group i n undertaking independent negotiations with the canners. The i n i t i a t i v e i n setting the 25-cent demand had not come from New Westminster~and indications are that that union would have been s a t i s f i e d with 20 cents. Th f a c t , i n the f i r s t few days of the season when the s t r i k e was not being enforced, three o f f i c e r s of the New Westminster union were reported i n the New Westminster newspaper, without denial by them, to be f i s h i n g 49 f o r the 20 cent opening p r i c e . During negotiations with the canners, the New Westminster delegates had been responsible f o r the committee's putting t o the canners a proposal f o r a straight 50 20 cents throughout the season. In t h i s c r u c i a l week, signs m u l t i p l i e d that the New Westminster fishermen were preparing t o act on t h e i r own. They were reported t o be "resentful" of the too active part taken by agitators who had no connection with the f i s h e r i e s , an ind i c a t i o n 51 of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n with the Steveston r a d i c a l s . On Thursday, July 26, the leaders of the union met with certain New Westminster businessmen and were reported, as a consequence, to be going to use 48 World, July 12, 1900, p. 3. 1+9 Columbian, July 12, 1900, p. 4. They could, of course, have been f i s h i n g with spring salmon nets, which was permitted by the s t r i k e r s . 50 See Chapter IV, pp. 125, 126 above. 51 Columbian, July 28, 1900, p. 2. - 160 - 52 t h e i r influence t o end the s t r i k e . On the following afternoon 53 the union met, presumably to formulate i t s proposals, and c a l l e d another meeting f o r Saturday i n preparation f o r voting on the o f f e r they hoped to get. Saturday morning, with Bremner t o smooth the way, a delegation met the Executive Committee of the Canners' Association. Again, what exact proposal they put to the canners i s not clear, but i t was apparently f o r a straight 20 cents and union recognition (that afternoon Rogers reported t h i s as t h e i r p o s i t i o n ) . But the canners were no more ready to make concessions to the "moderates" than they were to the "agitators" and the delegation had only a l e t t e r t o carry back to t h e i r members, not addressed to them but to Bremner, repeating the of f e r from which the canners refused to budge. The 'moderates" were l e f t t o take what s a t i s f a c t i o n they could from the l e t t e r ' s recognition, by actual mention of the union's name, of the 54 existence of t h e i r organization. With the leadership of the parent unions i n Vancouver and New Westminster wavering towards acceptance of the canners* terms, Steveston*s determined leaders, backed by a core of die-hard s t r i k e r s , became the heart of the resistance t o ending the s t r i k e i n c a p i t u l a t i o n . Around them gathered, with t h e i r followers, those leaders from other centres on the lower r i v e r who also desired to 52 Columbian, July 27, 1900, p. 4. 53 World, July 28, 1900, p. 1. 54 News-Advertiser, July 29, 1900, p. 8. - 161 - continue the struggle. In the meetings of the week of c r i s i s , the names of spokesmen of the North Arm fishermen, and of those from Ladner's Landing and Canoe Pass, and of the men who had l e f t Vancouver, appear with increasing frequency, as the m i l i t a n t s drew together i n self-defense. I f , i n the eyes o f the s t r i k e r s , Steveston alone repre- sented the w i l l t o win, even Steveston could not win without at l e a s t c a r r y i n g with i t the r e s t of the fishermen. At t h i s point, the canners might s t i l l have beaten the m i l i t a n t s ; at l e a s t a p a r t i a l r e c o g n i t i o n of the Vancouver and New Westminster "moderates" might have produced an acceptance of more "reasonable" terms on p r i c e . While i t i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the canners that they made no such attempt, i f indeed the i d e a even occurred t o them, the next moves by the Steveston leadership were aimed at f o r e s t a l l i n g t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y by r a l l y i n g a l l the remaining s t r i k e r s i n a new attempt at settlement. The prime need was f o r the re-establishment of a common front on p r i c e and other demands and the r e v i v a l of the negotiating committee, representing as many areas and groups as po s s i b l e and prepared t o take r e v i s e d demands i n t o f r e s h negotiations with the canners. Fortunately f o r the success of the attempt t o r e v i s e the demands, the main obstacle t o agreement l a y i n Steveston i t s e l f , which was s t i l l formally committed t o 25 cents, a p r i c e which had been abandoned by Vancouver and New Westminster and was generally conceded t o be v i r t u a l l y impossible of r e a l i z a t i o n . - 162 - Apparently Rogers f e l t that some of the support f o r t h i s extreme p o s i t i o n came from men who r e a l l y d i d not care whether they f i s h e d or not that season. The charge had been made frequently enough during the s t r i k e that some of the s t r i k e r s were "dyke" fishermen—hangers-on who had no i n t e n t i o n of going f i s h i n g and were only out t o s t i r up t r o u b l e . These charges had admittedly been made by h o s t i l e sources, but the general t i g h t e n i n g up of admissions t o the l a s t few meetings of the s t r i k e lends substance t o t h i s view. Union spokesmen also complained about "leaks" from 55 t h e i r meetings, but since the correspondent of the News-Advertiser was permitted t o make very f u l l reports even of the closed meetings, secrecy could hardly have been the c h i e f end of the exclusions. In any case, Rogers announced that only holders of f i s h i n g l i c e n s e s or boat p u l l e r s permits would be admitted t o the meetings scheduled f o r Saturday. Protests about t h i s requirement from men without e i t h e r (fishermen i n cannery boats d i d not need t h e i r own l i c e n s e s ) , r e s u l t e d i n the s e t t i n g up of an i n v i g i l a t i n g committee t o screen 56 those seeking admission. Out o f the two meetings h e l d at Steveston on Saturday emerged a l t e r e d p r i c e demands and a committee t o take them t o the canners. These decisions bore a strong imprint of Rogers* personal le a d e r s h i p . Ih the morning meeting, he announced that , t o counteract 55 World, July 2k, 1900, p. 1. 56 Province, July 27, 1900, p. 6; News-Advertiser, July 28, p. 5. - 163 - the impression abroad that a l l offers had come from the canners, the afternoon meeting would be asked to approve a counter-offer t o 57 be presented to the canners. In the afternoon meeting, where he fought s k i l l f u l l y f o r the adoption as a counter-offer of 20 cents throughout the season, Rogers " l a i d i t on the l i n e " to a gathering of over 500 men who packed the Steveston Opera House to the point 58 of suffocation. He reviewed frankly, and f a i r l y , the actions taken by Vancouver and New Westminster. He then turned, with a concern he had already expressed i n several previous speeches that week, to the p l i g h t of the Indians i n the coming winter i f they l o s t the season. Later i n the meeting, during expressions of opinion 59 from representatives of the various "branches," when the irre c o n c i l a b l e s balked at the advice of the chairman of the meeting, John Gilmour of North Arm, to accept "a reasonable o f f e r , " Rogers again took the f l o o r . In a convincing demonstration of h i s mastery of the gathering, he f l a t l y t o l d the h o s t i l e elements that he personally had advised the acceptance of 20 cents at the beginning of the s t r i k e , but had been outvoted i n the Vancouver meeting that 57 News-Advertiser, July 29, 1900, p. k. 58 Ibid. The accounts of t h i s meeting are taken solely from the News-Advertiser as only that paper's correspondent was admitted to the meeting. The union f e l t that the newspapers, especially the Vancouver Province and the New Westminster Columbian, had reported t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s u n f a i r l y and t r i e d t o impose boycotts on them (Columbian, July 25, 1900, p. 1;' Province, July 31, 1900, p. l ) . 59 This Is the f i r s t mention of "branches" and indicates how quickly the budding l o c a l s burgeoned i n the .forcing bed of the s t r i k e . - 164 - had decided on 25 cents. F i n a l l y , Rogers fought o f f the intervention of Bremner, who arrived l a t e , coming d i r e c t l y from the morning meeting of the canners* executive and the New Westminster delegation, with a copy of the l e t t e r t o New Westminster repeating the 20-15 cents o f f e r . When Bremner, after reading the l e t t e r , argued that the 'last notch" had been reached and that i t was "useless t o expect another concession," Rogers brushed him aside and, the propitious moment having arrived, proposed a counter-offer of a straight 20 cents and recognition of the union. In spite of Bremner*s pleas, the fishermen rejected the canners* o f f e r with "a sea of sun-burned hands." The meeting then unanimously endorsed Rogers* proposal and voted t o dispatch Bremner with a delegation to present i t , naming to the delegation representatives of Steveston, Canoe Pass, North Arm, Ladner's Landing, and Vancouver. The scene was now set for what proved to be the f i n a l round of negotiations. On Saturday evening the two sides met, but the deadlock remained as each contending party confined i t s e l f to stating i t s present p o s i t i o n — t h e canners s t i l l for 20 and 15 cents, 60 the fishermen now for a straight 20 cents. After t h i s f a i l u r e , another outside mediator was sought i n the person of Francis Carter- Cotton, publisher of the News-Advertiser, who said he had been asked t o act by both canners and fishermen. As a prominent member of the Vancouver Board of Trade and a former p r o v i n c i a l cabinet minister, 60 Province. July 30, 1900, p. 3. - 165 - Carter-Cotton was acceptable t o the canners, and h i s recent " f l i r t a t i o n " with l a b o r — h e had sought trade union support i n an unsuccessful b i d 61 f o r re-election i n the June p r o v i n c i a l e l e c t i o n — n o doubt reconciled the fishermen's committee to him. A l l the f i n a l negotiations took place i n Steveston. Carter- Cotton came there on Sunday morning bringing with him Dr. Duncan B e l l - I r v i n g and William F a r r e l l of the Executive Committee of the Canners* Association. He f i r s t had a meeting with Bremner and the union committee. Then the two sides met again. This meeting was a r e p e t i t i o n of the f i r s t one, with the canners* representatives refusing t o budge either on prices or on union recognition. Tn apparent desperation, the union committee now suggested that i t would make the canners an of f e r of 19 cents throughout the season. Even then, the canners reserved t h e i r decision, but offered enough encouragement that the session ended with the union committee 62 preparing to c a l l a meeting to r a t i f y t h e i r proposal to the canners. On Sunday night a tense crowd gathered. Reports of the lack of progress at the Saturday and Sunday conferences had spread among the s t r i k e r s , and the new f i s h i n g week was already under way as they met. Rogers, as chairman of the committee, put what he said was the " f i n a l " report before the meeting. The committee 61 Independent, June 9, 1900, pp. 1, 5- 62 Province, July 30, 1900, p. 3; News-Advertiser, July 31, P. 3. - 166 - asked the meeting t o r a t i f y the compromise proposal, Rogers s t r e s s i n g that i t was a "better p r o p o s i t i o n " than the one received by the Japanese, and that the whites and Indians would not be going back 63 f o r the same rates as the Japanese. Both Rogers and Gilmour argued that the o f f e r should be accepted so the union could be held together. A f t e r speeches i n support of the compromise by Carter-Cotton and Bremner, the committee's a c t i o n was endorsed by a majority of three t o one and presented t o the canners i n a l e t t e r addressed by 6k the union t o Bremner. On Monday morning, the f u l l Executive Committee of the Fraser River Canners* Association met at Steveston t o consider t h e i r p o s i t i o n . Back t o Bremner came a l e t t e r , containing t h e i r r e s o l u t i o n , and worded i n such a way as not t o acknowledge the existence of the union. "As some fishermen p r e f e r one p r i c e f o r the season," so ran the r e s o l u t i o n , the canners were prepared t o o f f e r 19 cents through- out the season as an a l t e r n a t i v e t o the terms i n t h e i r o f f e r o f 20 and 15 cents. Concessions previously made, on accepting equal d e l i v e r i e s from a l l boats when l i m i t s were necessary, and on taking a l l the f i s h t h a t could be processed, were re-affirmed. Fishermen had t o specify, before t h e i r f i r s t d e l i v e r y a f t e r the date of the 63 On weekly d e l i v e r i e s up t o 725 f i s h , fishermen on the canners* r a t e of 20 cents f o r the f i r s t 600 f i s h a week and 15 cents a f t e r t h a t , would receive a l a r g e r r e t u r n . On d e l i v e r i e s over 725 f i s h , those on the s t r a i g h t 19 cents now proposed by the fishermen would get the higher r e t u r n . It was a gamble i n a speculative industry, l i k e l y t o appeal e s p e c i a l l y t o " h i g h - l i n e " fishermen. Later i n the season, fishermen on the s t r a i g h t 19 cents were reported t o be "reaping the b e n e f i t s " because of heavier than expected catches (Columbian, Aug. 13, 1900, p. .1). 6k News-Advertiser, July 31, 1900, p. 3. - 167 - r e s o l u t i o n , which rate they preferred. Mr, Bremner was graciously thanked f o r h i s services and t o l d he was "at l i b e r t y t o communicate 65 the re s o l u t i o n s t o the fishermen." Though union spokesmen t r i e d t o soften the defeat on union r e c o g n i t i o n by claiming that the canners had, i n f a c t , recognized the union by meeting with i t s elec t e d committee, the way i n which the f i n a l settlement was arranged makes i t c l e a r that the Canners* Association was not prepared t o give any formal recog- n i t i o n whatsoever t o the union. Yet, though t h e i r long ordeal was over, and many of them were dead-broke and even hungry, the union fishermen refused t o be stampeded i n t o an i n d i v i d u a l return t o work. In a l a s t d i s p l a y of the d i s c i p l i n e and l o y a l t y t o t h e i r organization that had brought them t o a negotiated settlement, they continued the s t r i k e u n t i l they had received and approved the canners' r e s o l u t i o n at a meeting on Monday evening. Only then d i d they vote t o return t o work at 6 a.m. Tuesday. In a f i n a l act, they e l e c t e d Frank Rogers president of the union and chose W i l l MacClain as secretary. With t h i s testimony t o the rank-and-file fisherman's estimate of the leadership of these two men, and with an ovation f o r Rogers, and f o r MacClain "and h i s popular w i f e , " 66 the fishermen dispersed. The great Fraser River salmon f i s h e r - men's s t r i k e of 1 9 0 0 was at an end. 65 Hews-Advertiser, July 31, 1900, p. 3. 66 Independent, Aug. 4, 1900, p. k. - 168 - CHAPTER VI THE 1900 STRIKE AND THE CRISIS OF THE INDUSTRY Did the fishermen win the s t r i k e ? On the evidence presented i t would appear that they d i d . The s t r i k e r s forced the canners t o r e t r e a t from t h e i r i n i t i a l r e f u s a l t o set any minimum p r i c e , f i r s t t o o f f e r i n g a minimum of 15 cents, and f i n a l l y t o agreeing t o a minimum of 19 cents f o r the season. In ad d i t i o n t o negotiating a f l o o r p r i c e , the fishermen won other important con- cessions on d e l i v e r i e s . Previous d i s c r i m i n a t i o n against i n d i v i d u a l fishermen was ended. A l l f i s h were now t o be taken up t o the capacity of the cannery, and when that capacity was reached, l i m i t s on d e l i v e r i e s were t o be app l i e d equally t o a l l boats f i s h i n g f o r the cannery, whether on shares or contracts. What the fishermen f a i l e d t o gain was any formal recog- n i t i o n of t h e i r union. Nor d i d they get even the substance of that recognition, an agreement signed with the canners. Nevertheless they had force d the canners t o negotiate, and though the p r i c e settlement was s t i l l cast i n the o l d form, i t represented, i n f a c t , something e n t i r e l y new, a si n g l e p r i c e f o r a whole season, a r r i v e d at by negotiation. Though they f a i l e d t o a t t a i n t h e i r goal of immediate recogni t i o n of t h e i r union, the fishermen had s t i l l won a r e a l v i c t o r y . They had created, i n the face of considerable odds, a - 169 - union organization and sustained i t i n the severest of t e s t s . At the end o f the s t r i k e they were i n an excellent p o s i t i o n t o b u i l d on t h e i r experience i n p e r f e c t i n g the structure o f the union f o r the coming year, and t h i s task they undertook with the confidence born of t h e i r very s u b s t a n t i a l achievements i n 1900. The product of t h i s enthusiasm was the f i r s t coast-wide fishermen's union composed of l o c a l s from Canoe Pass i n the south t o Port Simpson i n the north and i n c l u d i n g the main centres of Fraser River fishermen— Vancouver, New Westminster, Steveston, Eburne—as well as a l o c a l among the Cowichan Indians. The organization of t h i s Grand Lodge of B r i t i s h Columbia Fishermen's Unions began i n September, 1900, immediately a f t e r the f i s h i n g season, and was completed w e l l before the season of 1901, during which i t was strong enough t o 1 l e a d another s t r i k e on the Fraser River. Taking the longer view, the 1900 s t r i k e also marked the beginning o f unionism i n the f i s h i n g industry of B r i t i s h Columbia. Individual unions might merge or d i s s o l v e ; new organizations might be born and be replaced i n t h e i r t u r n ; at times the majority o f fishermen might not even be i n any union; but from that time forward, a continuous thread of trade union a c t i v i t y can be t r a c e d through the story of the industry. The early i d e a l set by the f i r s t fishermen's unions—one organization f o r a l l fishermen on the B r i t i s h Columbia coast—was not even t o be approached f o r many 1 Independent, Sept. 1, 1900, p. 1; Gladstone, " I n d u s t r i a l Disputes i n the Commercial F i s h e r i e s of B r i t i s h Columbia," pp. 145-150. . - 170 - decades, and then only by a union also e n r o l l i n g shoreworkers, a development not foreseen by the pioneers of unionism. But the goal of one a l l - i n c l u s i v e fishermen's union was f i r s t envisaged during the 1900 s t r i k e . The immediate e f f e c t of the s t r i k e , however, was t o deepen the c r i s i s of over-expansion already being suffered by the Fraser Paver salmon canning industry. Over-expansion had occurred i n the c a p i t a l structure and manufacturing capacity of the industry as w e l l as i n the number of f i s h i n g l i c e n s e s issued. A rush of poorly-financed newcomers, a t t r a c t e d by reports of l a r g e p r o f i t s , had swollen the ranks o f canning companies with a number of financially-weak firms, dependent on the banks f o r operating c a p i t a l and able t o survive only i n a succession of good years. The d i f f i c u l t i e s of the seasons of 1898 and 1899, d i f f i c u l t i e s which had created the combine, were added t o by the events of the season of 1900. The length of the s t r i k e reduced the season's pack, which would have i n any case been r e l a t i v e l y small, t o the lowest f i g u r e since 1892, the year i n which l i c e n s e l i m i t a t i o n was ended. This pack, moreover, had t o be shared among nearly three 2 times as many canneries as i n 1892. The new method of s e t t i n g p r i c e s contributed t o t h i s c r i s i s . The establishment of a season's minimum p r i c e f o r 1900 meant a high cost f o r the f i s h that the canneries were able t o pack i n that year. The s e t t i n g of a minimum p r i c e again i n 1901, 2 See above, Table I, p. 2. - 171 - a f t e r another s t r i k e , prevented the canners from recouping any l o s s s u f f e r e d i n the previous season by packing low-cost f i s h as they would u s u a l l y have done i n a b i g year. The dramatic change i n p r i c e s can best be seen by a comparison with the cycle year immediately preceding. In 1900, p r i c e s were 19 cents or 20 and 15 cents throughout the season; i n 1896 they had dropped from 25 cents at the season's opening t o f i v e and t e n cents i n the heavy run. In 1901, the minimum p r i c e was 10 cents; i n 1897, the opening p r i c e was also 10 cents, but i t went as low as two 3 cents with no takers i n the heaviest part o f the run. The sheer volume of f i s h also complicated the p r i c e problem i n 1901. Nearly one m i l l i o n cases of sockeye were canned. Canneries s t r a i n e d t h e i r c r e d i t t o the breaking point t o pay f o r the putting up of a l a r g e pack and then faced a long carry-over p e r i o d before the market could absorb the huge supply on hand. The r e s o l u t i o n of t h i s c r i s i s of over-expansion—and i t must be emphasized that what follows i s t e n t a t i v e and requires t o be t e s t e d by f u r t h e r research—seems t o have proceeded along three l i n e s : mergers by companies, changes i n technology, and amendments to f i s h e r y r e g u l a t i o n s . Each one of these trends a l t e r e d the con- d i t i o n s that had favored the growth of a m i l i t a n t fishermen's union and t h e i r cumulative e f f e c t was the disappearance not only of the Grand Lodge of B r i t i s h Columbia Fishermen's Unions, but also i t s 3 Gladstone, " I n d u s t r i a l Disputes i n the Commercial F i s h e r i e s of B r i t i s h Columbia," p. 150; also see Chapter II, p. 68 above. - 172 - Vancouver component, and l a t e r , of the pioneer l o c a l i n New Westminster. Company merger was the instrument closest to the hand of the cannerymen, and i t promised good res u l t s i n the increased e f f i c i e n c y of a u n i f i e d management, i n savings through large-scale purchases, and i n economies i n production, a l l of which would make the industry more p r o f i t a b l e by reducing costs per case of canned salmon. Plans f o r a cannery combine had often been proposed p r i o r to t h i s date, but had always been defeated by the reluctance of one section or other of the cannery operators. At the end of the season of 1901, however, most canners, because of the problems of the past few years, had neither cash nor cr e d i t , and were i n no p o s i t i o n to hold out against a merger plan. Decisive i n the combine proposal of 1902 was the support of the banks which financed the industry. In the interests of protecting t h e i r current advances and improving t h e i r security i n future transactions, two of the leading banks, the Bank of Montreal and the Canadian Bank of Commerce, backed the scheme. The objective was to buy out a l l the ex i s t i n g canneries i n the province. As i t turned out, the new combine, the B r i t i s h Columbia Packers* Association, was not able to achieve t h i s aim, but d i d acquire on the Fraser River alone 29 of k the 48 plants, as w e l l as 12 i n northern waters. 4 Doyle, " P a c i f i c Salmon Fis h e r i e s , " v o l . 1, pp. 211 et seq.; Cobb, P a c i f i c Salmon Fisheries, p. 472. - 173 - Some of the immediate savings which served t o improve p r o f i t margins can e a s i l y be seen. The number o f canneries operating on the Fraser River shrank t o 23 i n l<=)Oh as the new organization began l a r g e - s c a l e production i n a few of the most e f f i c i e n t p l a n t s . The steady r i s e of f i s h p r i c e s over the past decade was also reversed. Though s t r i k e s , apparently unsuccessful, 4a were reported i n both 1902 and 1903, p r i c e s i n both years were lower than i n the previous corresponding c y c l e years of I898 and 1899. In 1903, p r i c e s averaged only 14 cents, as compared with 5 an average 25 cents i n 1899. Technological changes, though not i n i t i a t e d by the B r i t i s h Columbia canning industry, were another means of reducing costs and thus i n c r e a s i n g the spread between cost and s e l l i n g p r i c e s . The biggest step towards mechanization i n the canneries was the i n t r o - duction some time a f t e r 1903 of the "Iron C h i n k " — a machine that gutted the f i s h and cut o f f t h e i r heads and t a i l s , doing away with the l a r g e butchering gang and performing the work at many times the speed of hand l a b o r . Also brought i n t o general use were the automatic c a n - f i l l i n g machines which eliminated another b i g crew 6 of hand l a b o r e r s . Company merger and t e c h n o l o g i c a l change a l t e r e d the 4a Independent, Oct. 18, 1902, p. 1; July 4, 1903, p. 1. 5 Canada, Dominion F i s h e r i e s Commission f o r B r i t i s h Columbia, 1905-07, Report and Recommendations, Ottawa, Government P r i n t i n g Bureau, 1908, pp. 22-3. 6 Gladstone, " I n d u s t r i a l Disputes i n the Commercial F i s h e r i e s of B r i t i s h Columbia," pp. 33-4. - 174 - s i t u a t i o n that produced s t r i k e s i n every season from 1900 t o 1903 by allowing payment of higher f i s h p r i c e s while maintaining the p r o f i t margins of the canneries. L e g i s l a t i v e action worked i n a d i f f e r e n t way towards the same end. It had the e f f e c t of disarming the vocal section o f the fishermen—the s o - c a l l e d white resident group—by promising t o secure t o them a disproportionate share of the t o t a l returns t o fishermen. Wo fewer than three f e d e r a l Royal Commissions were created i n the years 1902 t o 1905 t o suggest remedies f o r one or other aspects of the problems of the white fishermen. The B r i t i s h Columbia Salmon Commission of 1902 d i d not 7 make any f i n a l report or recommendations, but i t s successor, the Dominion F i s h e r i e s Commission f o r B r i t i s h -Columbia, 1905-1907, recommended an e n t i r e l y new set of f i s h e r y regulations with many 8 features designed t o ben e f i t t h i s p a r t i c u l a r group. The Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration of 1902 considered ways t o mitigate the e f f e c t s on white fishermen of the competition 9 of the Japanese. The s p e c i f i c recommendations of these bodies are not as important i n t h i s discussion as t h e i r e f f e c t i n opening up again t o the fishermen a channel, other than s t r i k e action, f o r expressing t h e i r grievances. 7 Canada, S.P., 1903, no. 22, pp. x i - x i v . 8 Canada, F i s h e r i e s Commission, 1905-07, Report, pp. 80-86. 9 Canada, S.P., 1903, no. 54, passim. - 175 - Probably a minority of fishermen had always supported lobbying t o r e s t r i c t t h e i r competitors i n preference t o any form of m i l i t a n t trade union a c t i o n . As defeats f o r the l a t t e r p o l i c y m u l t i p l i e d , t h e i r numbers were undoubtedly swelled and t h e i r hopes revived by the s e t t i n g up of the Royal Commissions. S i g n i f i c a n t l y i n t h i s connection, the New Westminster l o c a l , which had a r i s e n out of just such a pressure group, survived, at l e a s t f o r a time, 10 the d i s s o l u t i o n of i t s more m i l i t a n t counterparts. In these a l t e r e d conditions, the Grand Lodge o f B r i t i s h Columbia Fishermen's Unions d i d not h o l d together f o r l o n g . Glad- 11 stone and Jamieson place i t s demise as e a r l y as 1902, but i t seems t o have e x i s t e d at l e a s t u n t i l the r e s i g n a t i o n of i t s secretary, 12 Charles Durham, i n the spring o f 1903. In any case, i t probably 13 d i d not o u t l a s t the defeat of the s t r i k e i n that year. Whatever the exact circumstances of i t s d i s s o l u t i o n , the i d e a l of a coast- wide union open t o a l l ethnic groups and m i l i t a n t i n i t s approach t o p r i c e negotiations, was apparently not f i r m l y enough established t o endure the unfavorable change i n climate. 10 Gladstone and Jamieson, "Unionism i n the Fishing Industry o f B r i t i s h Columbia," CJEPS, v o l . 16 (May 1950), p. ikQ (Table I ) . 11 Ibid. 12 Independent, March 23, 1903, p. 3. 13 The Labor Day i s s u e o f the Independent mentions a New Westminster fishermen's union, but l i s t s neither the Grand Lodge nor the Van- counver l o c a l (Sept. 5, 1903, P. l ) . - 176 - One f i n a l p o i n t : i f the hypothesis that r a d i c a l ideology a r i s e s out of i n d u s t r i a l c o n f l i c t has any v a l i d i t y , a waning of s o c i a l i s t influence might he expected i n changed conditions i n which a m i l i t a n t ideology was of l e s s relevance. The r a d i c a l leaders of the 1900 s t r i k e do indeed seem t o have d r i f t e d away from the fishermen's union. MacClain drops out of sight almost immediately a f t e r the 1900 s t r i k e . Rogers, at the time of h i s murder i n 1903, was s a i d not t o have been associated with the 14 union a f t e r the 1901 s t r i k e . Only Ernest Burns continues h i s connection i n 1902. At the founding convention of the P r o v i n c i a l Progressive Party i n A p r i l , 1902, though he went as a representative of the Vancouver S o c i a l i s t Party, he i s r e f e r r e d t o as president 15 of the Fishermen's Union. Present evidence i s , however, too slender t o j u s t i f y even a t e n t a t i v e conclusion concerning the r o l e of s o c i a l i s t s i n the fishermen's unions a f t e r 1900. Ik Independent, A p r i l 18, 1903, p. 1. 15 Loosmore, "The B r i t i s h Columbia Labor Movement," p. 164 and Appendices, p. x x v i . Burns was probably only president o f the Vancouver l o c a l , not of the Grand Lodge. He i s l i s t e d as president i n Vancouver l o c a l ' s standing advertisement u n t i l February, 1902 (Independent, Feb. 23, 1902, p. 5). - 177 - BIBLIOGRAPHY I. MANUSCRIPT SOURCES A. O f f i c i a l Records B r i t i s h Columbia, Attorney-General, Companies O f f i c e . Company Regi s t r a t i o n F i l e s . B r i t i s h Columbia, Attorney-General, V i c t o r i a Law Courts Registry. Probate Court F i l e s [ W i l l o f Jacob Hunter Todd] . B. Theses Gladstone, Percy. " I n d u s t r i a l Disputes i n the Commercial F i s h e r i e s o f B r i t i s h Columbia." Unpublished M.A. t h e s i s , University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1959. Grantham, Ronald. "Some Aspects of the S o c i a l i s t Movement, 1898- 1933." Unpublished M.A. t h e s i s , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1942. . Lawrence, Joseph C o l l i n s . "An H i s t o r i c a l Account of the Early Salmon Canning Industry i n B r i t i s h Columbia, 1870-1900." Unpublished graduating essay, Uni v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1951. Loosmore, Thomas Robert. "The B r i t i s h Columbia Labor Movement and P o l i t i c a l Action, 1879-1906." Unpublished M.A. t h e s i s , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1954. Silverman, Peter Guy. "A History of the M i l i t i a and Defences o f B r i t i s h Columbia, 1871-1914." Unpublished M.A. t h e s i s , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1956. C. Miscellaneous Manuscript Materials Carmichael, A l f r e d . "Account of a Season's Work at a Salmon Cannery [;] Windsor Cannery, Aberdeen, Skeena." P r o v i n c i a l Archives of B r i t i s h Columbia manuscript. Doyle, Henry. "Rise and Decline of the P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s . " U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia manuscript, 2 v o l s . - 178 - I I . PRINTED SOURCES A. Government Publications 1. B r i t i s h Columbia and Vancouver Island B r i t i s h Columbia, L e g i s l a t i v e Assembly. Journals, I893. V i c t o r i a , Queen's P r i n t e r , 1893. . Journals, 1900. V i c t o r i a , Queen's P r i n t e r , 1900. . "Papers Respecting the Strike among Fishermen on the Fraser River." Sessional ,Papers, 1900. V i c t o r i a , Queen's P r i n t e r , 1900, pp. 1005-1013. . Select Committee re C a l l i n g Out M i l i t i a at Steveston. "Report and Evidence." Journals, 1900. V i c t o r i a , Queen's Pri n t e r , 1900, appendices, pp. c x l i - c l x x i x . Vancouver Island, Gazette, 1866. 2. Canada Canada, B r i t i s h Columbia Fishery Commission. "Report and Minutes of Evidence," 1892. Sessional Papers, 1893, no. 10c. . Department of Indian A f f a i r s . "Annual Reports," l88l, I89I, 1901. Sessional Papers, 1882, 1892, 1902. . Department of Labour. Trade Union Law i n Canada. Ottawa, King's P r i n t e r , 1935. . Department of Labour. Labour Gazette. September, 1900-1903. . Department o f Marine and F i s h e r i e s [departmental name va r i e s ] . "Annual Reports," 1872-1901. Sessional Papers, 1873-1903. . Dominion F i s h e r i e s Commission f o r B r i t i s h Columbia, 1905-07. Report and Recommendations. Ottawa, King's P r i n t e r , 1908. . House, of Commons, Select Committee on Chinese Labor and Immigration. o "Report and Minutes of Evidence." Journals, 1879, appendix 4, pp. I-63. - 179 - Canada, Law, Statutes. "An Act f o r the Regulation of Fish i n g and p r o t e c t i o n of F i s h e r i e s , " 31 V i c t . Chap. 70. Statutes of Canada, 1868. . Law, Statutes. "An Act t o r e s t r i c t and regulate Chinese immigration i n t o Canada," 48-49 V i c t . Chap. 71. Statutes o f Canada, 1884-5. . Law, Statutes. "An Act respecting F i s h e r i e s and F i s h i n g , " 4-9 V i c t . Chap. 95. Revised Statutes of Canada, 1886. _. Law, Statutes. "An Act respecting the M i l i t i a and Defence of Canada," 49 V i c t . Chap. 4l. Revised Statutes o f Canada, 1886. . Law, Statutes. "The Criminal Code, 1892," 55-56 V i c t . Chap. 29. Statutes o f .Canada, 1892. . Royal Commission on Chinese Immigration. "Report and Evidence," 1885. Sessional Papers, 1885, no. 54a. . Royal Commission on Chinese and Japanese Immigration. "Report," 1902. Sessional Papers, 1902, no. 54. Canada Gazette (Fishery Regulations only] . I876-I90O. Census of Canada, l88l, I89I, 1901, 1931. Langevin, Hector L. "Report on B r i t i s h Columbia." Canada, Sessional Papers, .1872, no. 10. 3. United States Cobb, John N. P a c i f i c Salmon F i s h e r i e s . 4th ed. Washington, Government P r i n t i n g O f f i c e , 1930 (United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of F i s h e r i e s , F i s h e r i e s Document no. 1092.) Rounsefell, George A. and George B. Kelez. The Salmon and Salmon F i s h e r i e s of Swiftsure Bank, Paget Sound and the Fraser River. Washington, Government P r i n t i n g O f f i c e , 1938 (United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of F i s h e r i e s , B u l l e t i n no. 27.) - 180 - B. Publications of the International P a c i f i c Fisheries Commission Gilhousen, P h i l i p . Migratory Behaviour of Adult Fraser River Sockeye. New Westminster, i960. (Progress Report [unnumbered] of the International P a c i f i c Salmon Fisheries Commission.) Ward, F. J . and P. A. Larkin. Cyclic Dominance i n Adams River Sockeye Salmon. New Westminster, 1964. (Progress Report no. 11 of the International P a c i f i c Salmon Fisheries Commission.) C. Yearbooks B r i t i s h Columbia Board of Trade ( V i c t o r i a ) . Annual Reports. 1881-1901. Henderson's B r i t i s h Columbia Gazetteer and Directory for 1900-1901. V i c t o r i a and Vancouver, Henderson Publishing Company, 1900. Vancouver Board of Trade. Annual Reports. 1889-92, I895-I90I. D. General Works 1. Books Buckley, Kenneth. Capital Formation i n Canada, 1896-1930. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1955. (Canadian Studies i n Economics, ed. V. W. Bladen, no. 2.) Useful c h i e f l y for comments on process of c a p i t a l accumulation under f r o n t i e r conditions. Cairncross, A. K. Home and Foreign Investment 1870-1913. Studies i n Capital Accumulation. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1953. General outline of the changing r o l e of B r i t i s h c a p i t a l i n Canada during the period of growth of the salmon canning industry. Carrothers, W. A. The B r i t i s h Columbia Fisheries. Toronto, University of Toronto Press, 1 9 4 1 . ( P o l i t i c a l Economy Series no. 10.) In spite of a pretentious t i t l e , v i r t u a l l y useless on the.development of salmon canning before 1900, which i t discusses very b r i e f l y , and without much in s i g h t . - 181 - Fox, Paul W. "Early Socialism i n Canada." The P o l i t i c a l Process i n .Canada: Essays i n Honour of R. MacGregor Dawson, ed. J . H. Aitchison, Toronto, U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Press, 1963. The author characterizes t h i s essay as a "rudimentary survey;" i t s relevance t o the present study i s discussed on p. x i . Gregory, Homer E. and Kathleen Barnes. North P a c i f i c F i s h e r i e s with s p e c i a l reference t o Alaska Salmon. New York, American Council, I n s t i t u t e o f P a c i f i c Relations, 1939. (Studies of the P a c i f i c no. 3») The best work on the P a c i f i c coast salmon f i s h e r i e s i n general, but most o f i t s s p e c i f i c examples are from United States rather than Canadian sources. Kerr, J . B., ed. Biographical Dictionary o f Weil-Known B r i t i s h Columbians. Vancouver, Kerr and Begg, 1890. Used f o r biographies of various canners. Ormsby, Margaret A. B r i t i s h Columbia: a History. Toronto, Macmillan, 1958. Used as a general guide t o the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l background o f the p e r i o d 1870-1900. Ross, V i c t o r . "The Bank of B r i t i s h Columbia." A History of the Canadian Bank of Commerce, with an Account of the Other Banks Which Now. Form Part o f i t s Organization, Toronto, Oxford Un i v e r s i t y Press, 1920, v o l . 1, pp. 251-350. Incidental t o h i s treatment o f the r o l e of the Bank of B r i t i s h Columbia i n the P a c i f i c Coast o f both Canada and the United States, Ross gives the only account I have found of the economic growth of B r i t i s h Columbia i n the years 1870-1900 which puts i t i n i t s regional s e t t i n g . S c h o l e f i e l d , E. 0. S. and F. W. Howay. B r i t i s h Columbia From the E a r l i e s t Times to the Present. Vancouver, S. J . Clarke, 1914. k v o l s . . , Howay's account of the beginnings of salmon canning on the Fraser has s p e c i a l value, as some of h i s information could have been obtained d i r e c t l y from Alexander Ewen, Howay*s uncle by marriage. The biographical volumes have information on various people connected with the industry i n a p e r i o d a f t e r t h a t of the work by Kerr. T a n s i l l , Charles C a l l an. Canadian-American Relations, 1875-19H. New Haven, Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 19^3. (The Relations of Canada and the United States, ed. James T..Shotwell.) Consulted f o r the circumstances of the 1898 meeting o f the Joint High Commission. - 182 - V i c t o r i a I l l u s t r a t e d . V i c t o r i a , E l l i s and Company, I89I. A brochure a d v e r t i s i n g the c i t y , and containing some u s e f u l information on V i c t o r i a business houses at a period when the c i t y was the headquarters o f the salmon canning industry. 2. P e r i o d i c a l A r t i c l e s "Foundations F i r s t . " P a c i f i c Fisherman (50th Anniversary Number), v o l . 50 (August .1952), pp. 5-16. . ^ Reviews changes i n the salmon canning industry i n the decade 1903-1913. Gladstone, Percy. "Native Indians and the Fishi n g Industry of B r i t i s h Columbia." Canadian Journal of Economics and P o l i t i c a l Science,, v o l . 19 (February 1953), PP. 20-34. The relevance t o the present study of t h i s a r t i c l e and the.other two wr i t t e n i n c o l l a b o r a t i o n with Jamieson i s considered on pp. v i i i - i x and pp. 40-4l above. " and Stuart Jamieson. . "Unionism i n the Fishing Industry of B r i t i s h Columbia." Canadian Journal o f Economics and P o l i t i c a l Science, v o l . 16 (May 1950), pp. 146-171. Jamieson, Stuart. "Regional Factors i n I n d u s t r i a l C o n f l i c t : The Case o f B r i t i s h Columbia." Canadian Journal of Economics and P o l i t i c a l Science, v o l . 28 (August 1962), pp. 405-416. The point of view of t h i s a r t i c l e i s discussed on p p . x i i - x i i i above. and Percy Gladstone. "Unionism i n the Fishing Industry of B r i t i s h Columbia." Canadian Journal of Economics and P o l i t i c a l Science, v o l . 16 (February 1950), pp. 1-11. Saywell, John Tupper. "Labour and Socialism i n B r i t i s h Columbia: A Survey o f H i s t o r i c a l Development before 1903." B r i t i s h Columbia H i s t o r i c a l Quarterly, v o l . 15 (July-October 1951), pp. 129-150. An assessment of that part of the a r t i c l e bearing on t h i s study i s given on p. x i i above. - 183 - 3. Newspaper and P e r i o d i c a l F i l e s New Westminster Columbian [daily] . 1864-1869; various issues, 1893-1900. New Westminster Mainland Guardian [bi-weekly] . 1869-1879* [New York] The Fish i n g Gazette [weekly] . 1899, 1900. [Vancouver] The Independent [weekly] . March-December, 1900; various issues, 1901-1903. Vancouver News-Advertiser [daily] . Various issues, 1891-1900, Vancouver Province [daily] . Various issues, 1898-1900. Vancouver World [daily] . Various issues, 1893-1900. V i c t o r i a Colonist [daily] . 1864-1900 (by use of P r o v i n c i a l Archives index). [Victoria] The Resources of B r i t i s h Columbia [monthly] . 1883-1885. V i c t o r i a Standard [ d a i l y ] . Various issues, 1870-1871.

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