Manitoba Historical Society
     Keeping history alive for over 142 years


TimeLinks: The Voice

Search | Image Archive | Reference | Communities | POV | Lesson Plans | Credits


No Image Available The Voice was a weekly newspaper first published in the 1890s by the Winnipeg Trades and Labour Council. The editor of the paper was a moderate socialist by the name of Arthur Puttee, who also served as Manitoba's first labour Member of Parliament between 1900 and 1904.

The Trades and Labour Council was first organized by railway and building trades workers affiliated with the Knights of Labour. By the turn of the century, these skilled workers had set themselves at the vanguard of a craft union movement that was expanding to other sectors of Winnipeg's emerging industrial economy. Many enterprises resisted unionisation, and The Voice faithfully reported on the abuses employers subjected organized workers to.

Under Puttee's editorship, The Voice did not confine itself to labour issues, but commented on the social and political problems of the day. It supported temperance and prohibition and full female suffrage, and strongly opposed conscription and mandatory registration. Among its frequent contributors were Ada Muir, a women's labour activist, socialist MLA Fred Dixon, and dissenting Methodist minister J. S. Woodsworth who wrote under the pseudonym Pastor Newbottle.

In the second decade of the century, the labour press became the forum for an increasing debate between craft unionism, which restricted union membership to only the most highly skilled of workers, and industrial unionism under which all workers, regardless of skill, were represented by the same union.

In 1918, Trades and Labour Council, radicalized by the debate over industrial unionism found Puttee's editorial policies unacceptable, and the paper was dissolved. Several weeks later it re-emerged in a new form and under a new name, the, Western Labour News. This time it was edited by the radical minister William Ivens, whose editorials were more step with the industrial unionists.

This was not the only debate, nor was The Voice its only forum. Winnipeg's diverse ethnic community supported a range of socialist ideas and groups, and several socialist newspapers were published in languages other than English. Winnipeg was a centre of political activism, and its editorial pages were the site of debates over the role of labour in politics and the roles of the several socialist political organizations.

Page revised: 27 August 2009

MHS YouTube Channel

Back to top of page

For queries on the above page, please contact the MHS Webmaster.

Home  |  Terms & Conditions  |  FAQ  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy  |  Donations Policy

© 1998-2021 Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.