Weekend Video: As Friend and Foe

Although May 1 is the workers holiday declared by workers themselves, Labour Day is the government-sanctioned holiday for workers.

In this week’s video, RankandFile.ca presents “As Friend and Foe”, a National Film Board short film from 1980.

It is a brief look at the Canadian federal government’s relationship to workers: “as friend and foe” in shaping the architecture of Canada’s labour relations from 1900 to 1980.

The film ends by observing that after 1975, the federal and provincial governments have ordered striking workers back-to-work on numerous occasions, concluding that “what the government gives, it can also take away.”

As RankandFile.ca would argue, government has only ever been a friend of labour when it is forced to be.

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One thought on “Weekend Video: As Friend and Foe

  1. In a capitalist democracy the role of government, formed by any political party, is to facilitate the demands of capital. Some governments do it willingly others need the threat of a capital strike (see ONDP 1990 – 1995).
    It is not King or Trudeau that should be the focus of workers wrath. It is capitalism where their anger should be directed. But with organized labour led mainly by class collaborators who are afraid of being labelled “socialist” or “communists” or Red or the like there is not much change of a meaningful political mobilization. Political activity is limited to supporting the NDP and holding rallies and marches on Saturday.

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