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Permission card used during
the Winnipeg General Strike
When the strikers in Winnipeg voted in favour of a
general strike that would close down the city's services,
both Conservative Prime Minister Robert Borden and the
city's elites considered this to be a conspiracy to
revolution. Yet it is important to note that the strikers
provided for the continuation of essential services
such as milk and bread delivery. The Winnipeg Trades
and Labour Council gave the General Strike Committee
the task of placing placards (or "permission cards")
on delivery wagons announcing that essential services
were operating with the permission of the Strike Committee.
This was done so that striking workers would know that
the services were not being run by strike-breakers or
"scabs." But the placards gave the impression
that the Strike Committee was now running Winnipeg,
instead of the legally-constituted city government.
The Citizens' Committee of One Thousand, which included
Winnipeg's politicians, manufacturers, and bankers,
believed the same thing. In their view, the placards
became a symbol of the breakdown of public authority.
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