Reform, war, and industrial crisis in Manitoba : F. J. Dixon and the framework of consensus, 1903-1920

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Irvine, Duncan Norman
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This thesis is an attempt to study the career of labor M.L.A. Frederick J. Dixon, one of Manitoba's most successful politicians, in the context of the three great upheavals of his time: the Manitoba reform movement (1903-1916), the Great War (1914-1918), and the industrial crisis of 1918-1920. Dixon based all his actions one belief in inalienable human rights, individual and civil, and the view is taken here that Dixon was articulating the components of an early consensus which undergirded Manitoba life at a time of apparent class-conflict. Part One deals with the Manitoba reform movement, and suggests that the legislative session of 1916, one of the most remarkable in the province's young history, was emblematic of a consensual moral urge on the part of most people to restore lost rights to the social environment. Part Two deals with the Great War and conscription, and concludes that opinion for and against both was rooted in a desire to protect the rights and liberties of British subjects. Part Three discusses the industrial crisis of 1918-1920, and concludes that the Winnipeg General Strike was not a class-struggle in the Marxist sense, but was instead a crisis of rights, with workers defending their individual right to bargain collectively, and the rest of society defending its civil right to be governed by democracy. Individual and civil rights, the twin components of consensus, were in crisis in 1919. They were reconciled by Fred Dixon in his celebrated Address to the Jury, as well as in his massive electoral victory in the provincial election of 1920...