PALMER, Bryan D.




Author Tags: Labour, Politics

Bryan D. Palmer is a history professor who documented the labour-driven protest movement against Bill Bennett's politics of 'restraint' in British Columbia during the summer and fall of 1983. This movement was dubbed Solidarity in imitation of the Solidarity movement in Poland but it lacked fully committed leadership from the Federation of B.C. Labour. Bennett’s July budget and package of 26 bills eliminated various social services, abolished the Human Rights Commission and rent controls, greatly increased class sizes in public schools and curtailed the rights of public-sector trade unions. In addition, Bennett's Social Credit wanted to lay off some 1600 public sector employees. In response, there were widespread protests, including the occupation of a hospital in order to prevent its closure. A rally of protest in Vancouver attracted 50,000 people but Bill Bennett successfully deflated the coalition forces of protest by meeting union leader Jack Munro in private. On the strength of a handshake agreement, the large scale protests were deflated. Labour historians such as Palmer have long since concluded the 'timid, legalist' leadership of the Art Kube, president of the Federation of B.C. Labour, and Jack Munro's complicity, amounted to a sellout of union interests. Palmer has also edited a celebratory volume on the life and times of journalist and leftist organizer Jack Scott and contributed the foreword to labour lawyer John Stanton's autobiography.

Review of the author's work by BC Studies:
A Communist Life: Jack Scott and the Canadian Workers Movement, 1927-1985
Labouring the Canadian Millennium: Writings on Work and Workers, History and Historiography
Solidarity: The Rise and Fall of an Opposition in British Columbia

BOOKS:

Solidarity: The Rise and Fall of Opposition in British Columbia (New Star, 1987)

Dreaming of What Might Be: The Knights of Labor in Ontario, 1880-1900
(Cambridge University Press, 1987. Written with Gregory S. Kealey.

A Communist Life: Jack Scott and the Canadian Workers Movement, 1927-1985
(St. John's, Newfoundland: Canadian Committe on Labour History, 1988) Edited and introduced by Bryan D. Palmer

Descent into Discourse: The Reification of Language and the Writing of Social History (Temple University Press, 1990)

Working Class Experience: Rethinking the Experience of Canadian Labour, 1800-1991 (McClelland & Stewart, 1992)

Capitalism Comes to the Backcountry: The Goodyear Invasion of Napanee (Between the Lines, 1994)

E.P. Thompson: Objections and Oppositions (W.W. Norton, 1994)

Labouring the Canadian Millennium: Writings on Work and Workers, History and Historiography (CCLH, 2000). Editor

[BCBW 2003]