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The Wages of Relief: Cities and the Unemployed in Prairie Canada, 1929

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Book Series: Working Canadians: Books from the CCLH ISSN: 1925184X ISBN: 9781927356050 9781927356067 9781927356074 Year: Pages: 333 Language: English
Publisher: Athabasca University Press
Added to DOAB on : 2013-07-15 10:35:10
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Abstract

In the early part of the Dirty Thirties, the Canadian prairie city was a relatively safe haven. Having faced recession before the Great War and then again in the early 1920s, municipalities already had relief apparatuses in place to deal with poverty and unemployment. Until 1933, responsibilty for the care of the urban poor remained with local governments, but when the farms failed that year, and the Depression deepened, western Canadian cities suffered tremendously. Recognizing the severity of the crisis, the national government intervened. Evolving federal programs and policies took over responsibility for the delivery of relief to the single unemployed, while the government simultaneously withdrew financing for all public works projects.Setting municipal relief administrations of the 1930s within a wider literature on welfare and urban poor relief, Strikwerda highlights the legacy on which relief policymakers relied in determining policy directions, as well as the experiences of the individuals and families who depended on relief for their survival. Focusing on three prairie cities—Edmonton, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg—Strikwerda argues that municipal officials used their power to set policy to address what they perceived to be the most serious threats to the social order stemming from the economic crisis. By analyzing the differing ways in which local relief programs treated married and single men, he also explores important gendered dynamics at work in the response of city administrators to the social and economic upheaval of the Depression. Probing the mindset of local elites struggling in extraordinary circumstances, The Wages of Relief describes the enduring impact of the policy changes made in the 1930s in the direction of a broad, national approach to unemployment—an approach that ushered in Canada’s modern welfare system.

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Depression --- cities --- government --- urban

Working People in Alberta: A History

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Book Series: Working Canadians: Books from the CCLH ISSN: 1925184X ISBN: 9781926836584 9781926836591 9781926836607 Year: Pages: 358 Language: English
Publisher: Athabasca University Press
Added to DOAB on : 2012-03-29 16:37:58
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Working People in Alberta traces the history of labour in Alberta from the period of First Nations occupation to the present. Drawing on over two hundred interviews with labour leaders, activists, and ordinary working people, as well as on archival records, the volume gives voice to the people who have toiled in Alberta over the centuries. In so doing, it seeks to counter the view of Alberta as a one-class, one-party, one-ideology province, in which distinctions between those who work and those who own are irrelevant. Workers from across the generations tell another tale, of an ongoing collective struggle to improve their economic and social circumstances in the face of a dominant, exploitative elite. Their stories are set within a sequential analysis of provincial politics and economics, supplemented by chapters on women and the labour movement and on minority workers of colour and their quest for social justice. Published on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Alberta Federation of Labour, Working People in Alberta contrasts the stories of workers who were union members and those who were not. In its depictions of union organizing drives, strikes, and working-class life in cities and towns, this lavishly illustrated volume creates a composite portrait of the men and women who have worked to build and sustain the province of Alberta.

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labour --- labor --- unions --- working class

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