July 2, 1935 (17th Parliament, 6th Session)

CON

Hugh Guthrie (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Conservative (1867-1942)

Mr. GUTHRIE:

And no law nor any
order exists in any way, shape or form, to prevent actions of that kind by any person or body of persons who seem disposed so to treat these marchers. Until yesterday it looked as if an arrangement would be made whereby the marchers would go to the two camps I have named in order that final disposition might he arranged so that they might be sent back to their camps, or individual cases might be dealt with in any case in which a man had a home to which he could go. The government was prepared to expedite the movement to the individual homes or back to the camps. Negotiations took place yesterday forenoon with the strike leaders to see if an arrangement of that kind could not be made, but the leaders of the movement insisted' that it should be a mass

B.C. Relief Camp Strikers
movement, that they should be moved en bloc back to Vancouver or to British Columbia. The situation in British Columbia at the present moment is not as satisfactory as it might be, and I think it was very properly decided that such a movement of 2,000 men back there would not be a wise or safe thing at the present time. The negotiations were carried on throughout the day, but without result, and about four or five o'clock in the afternoon the officers of the mounted police, acting under instructions, visited a certain communist gathering held in Regina and there arrested a number of the leaders, charged with offences under section 98 of the criminal code. Later on that particular meeting seems to have dispersed and to have resulted in an open meeting held in the market square at eight o'clock last night. Prior to the opening of proceedings at the market1 square meeting a number of plainclothes men of the mounted police proceeded to the platform and1 arrested others of the leaders, making the total arrests on the two occasions about twenty-four. At the time these arrests were made the city police of Regina, who are under the control of the municipality, came up upon one side of the platform, and the mounted police on the other side. The crowd which had gathered, both strike marchers and onlookers from the city of Regina, on the arrival of the police immediately cleared the square or the space, and it was thought that the crowd had permanently dispersed. However, after the lapse of a few minutes the strikers, having armed themselves with stones, clubs and various kinds of missiles, returned to the scene and made an attack upon the city police. The attack was made in the first instance by the strike marchers, and the city police were called upon to defend themselves. Subsequently the mounted' police joined fo,r the purpose of maintaining order. Shots were exchanged. Shots were fired by the strikers, and the fire was replied to by shots from the city police. No shot whatever was fired by the mounted police. They were armed with batons. I regret to say that there were a number of casualties as a result of this fire. One city policeman was beaten to death by the strikers. Two members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been very seriously injured by missiles of some kind1 and, it is very doubtful whether either of them will recover. There were a number of minor casualties, probably forty or fifty, some as a result of bullet wounds, I am informed.
Peace and order was restored at about eleven o'clock last night, and the men were herded1 back to the exhibition grounds, where they now are. They are there, guarded by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and I think by the city police as well, and are only allowed to leave their present quarters in small contingents for necessary purposes. That is the situation as it existed last night, and as it exists to-day. Communications again have been sent forward to Regina informing the strikers that the former offer is still open to them; food, shelter and transportation are available to them the moment they will accept them-not as an organized revolutionary body-I think I may call them that-but if they disperse among the various camps to which they can appropriately go, or in the case of those men who have homes, direct to their homes, and the expense of that transportation will also be liquidated by the government. The men are not inclined to aeoept this offer. They are determined to have their own way. The government is just as determined to maintain peace and order in Regina, or any otheT part of Canada where disorder may break out.
Some hon. MEMBERS': Hear, hear.

Topic:   B.C. RELIEF CAMP STRIKERS
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