Canadian Coffee Break: Let Us Now Break For Labour

’cofadian’The Canadian Coffee Break brings together some of the finest Canadian minds in Southern California every week for a topical, lively round-tablesque discussion over very dark coffee. Won’t you join us.

This week’s topic: Labour Day! What are you best/worst memories of Labour day in Canada? What are your thoughts, if any, regarding the by-and-large Grover Cleveland Communist-Fear-Instigated Federal Holiday in the United States of America? Weekend getaways…Hot weather…Knights of Labour racist origins…Jerry Lewis telethons…Sales at Bed, Bath, Beyond, Guitar Center & Leeds Mattress…Drink specials @ the Red Lobster, Hawthorne Blvd, Torrance…

Sarah (website)
Did you know that Labour Day started in Canada because workers were protesting for a 54 hour work week (in 1872)–can you believe that? You should, it’s on Wikipedia. Back then, the world was a different place… or to quote a line every Canadian is familiar with, “This is going to make your world a lot different than the one I grew up in.” Thanks to these feisty unionists, Canadian society changed immensely… let’s take a look at what it was like less than 20 years later…

Leisure time? Basketball? And not too many decades later we were already inventing Superman, Winnie the Pooh and prisons without torture. Not to mention a bunch of incredibly stupid-looking flags. I think these crazy Torontonians deserve their own Heritage moment. It might go a little something like this:


Chaos abounds. A squat man with a walrus moustache bangs on a large printing press with a metal letter “A.”

Walrus Man:
Order, ORDER!

The crowd settles, sheepish.

Walrus Man:
Now, back to our discussions of unionizing…

Murmurs ripple through the workers.

Walrus Man:
…When we last met, I proposed a 54-hour work week…

Murmurs grow to shouting and laughter. A scruffy-looking man with a torn hat counts on his hands, frowning. He stands and addresses the crowd, waving his ink-stained fingers.

Why that’s impossible, that is! It’s a 9 hour day! Might as well propose we all run for Prime Minister!

The crowd laughs. Walrus Man furrows his brow. Looks across the crowd. Spies stacks of paper, overflowing from bins and gets a twinkle in his eye.

Walrus Man:
Numbers! That’s it! How can they ignore a thousand, or even two thousand of us? We’ll take to the streets!

The crowd starts to clap and cheer–slowly, then gaining momentum. A soothing female narration begins.

Soft-voiced narrator:
And in the end, not one thousand but ten thousand men would march in the streets for decent pay and a shorter work week. All thanks to the efforts of a few brave workers.

Sean Chrétien
I must say, when writing about LaboUr Day in CanoUda, I am glad to be posting under a pseudonym. Though this may come as a shock to the Americano readership of losanjealous, the socialist leanings of the plethora of ostensibly populist leaders in Canada were not limited to the promotion of systemic provision of medical care.

As horrifying as it is to recall, every LaboUr Day, as we children were readying ourselves for a fresh school year, Royal Canadian Mounted Police would gather us on their horse driven carriages and throw us into government-sanctioned gulags to suck every last ounce of summer-energy out of our socialized bone and marrow. So forgive me for not having fond recollections of laboUrious days past. Through my laconic conversing with other RCMP victims, I gathered that once I came of age (19 in most of Canada, naturally) I would be free of the horrors of LaboUr Day – free to enjoy Polish sausage, Labbatt Blue, a final weekend in cottage country, and record sales at Sam The Record Man. Little did I know that its all a massive orchestrated campaign. In fact, The RCMP would leave just enough folk around to enjoy the “civic holiday” whilst those who “traveled to cottage country” actually trekked north to run the savage gulags. Fucking gulags.

They still have me capitalizing the U in LaboUr. Consider me LaboUr Day traumatized 4 lyfe.

Jamie (website)
I find Labour Day quite interesting. I find it interesting in the way that humans find aliens interesting – we don’t understand them but continue to keep trying.

Having grown up knowing that some demographic of people shouldn’t wear white after Labour Day, I thought it was in reference to having children. As you know, women (who are pure, aka: senoritas) wear white to their weddings to display their purities, and then labour comes and you celebrate that they gave birth but they’re not pure anymore so they’re not allowed wearing white?? Which doesn’t even make sense!! When does “after Labour Day” end?? Jan 1?? The FOLLOWING Labour Day?? It’s not fair to restrict our women from wearing white!!

So then I thought you’re supposed to DO labour on Labour Day, but ta-da!! – there’s the government trying to make things difficult by giving you a day off!! “Do labour today, residents, but not at your jobs!!” Maybe they should have called it “Chop Trees Down Day” or “Lift Heavy Rocks Day.”

And to complicate matters, everywhere has sales!! Is that so you’re compelled to spend money which consequently means you need to make more, thereby increasing the amount of labour you need to do??

I guess I could do some research and find real answers. But that would be too much work.

on holliday in canada… (i mean, it’s the last friggin’ long weekend of the summer up here, fercrissakes)