Class, race, and ethnic relations in Manitoba commercial market gardening, 1945-1993

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Mysyk, Avis Darlene
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This dissertation, based upon field and archival research from 1991 to 1993, focuses on the development of Manitoba commercial market gardening and its attendant labour needs. Specifically, the objective is to determine how class, race, and ethnic relations have manifested themselves in this sector of Canadian agriculture. I argue that class relations have primacy over "race" and ethnic relations and that two main classes have development in the industry over time - the petty bourgeoisie and farm workers. Each has also developed into class fractions - small, medium, and large growers on the one hand and racialized fractions of the working class on the other. The conflicts that arose were specifically class conflicts between the medium petty bourgeoisie and farm workers. That events took this turn may have been entirely coincidental but relate directly to the necessity of placing any analysis of social relations in their historical context. I also argue that, the recent expansion of Manitoba commercial market gardening may be a temporary phenomenon due to the fact that, despite growers' access to a potentially unlimited supply of Mexican labour, recent trade policies, such as the Canada-US Free Trade Agreenent and the North American Free Trade Agreement, leave the medium petty bourgeoisie extremely vulnerable in the sphere of exchange. Despite the difficulties I encountered in accessing much of this data due to the sensitivity of the subject matter, I believe this dissertation contributes valuable information to a topic which has been almost entirely neglected in the anthropological literature to date.