May 1st

May 1, International Workers’ Day, is a big deal.

It all started on May 1, 1886, when 40,000 workers in Chicago — and half a million across the United States — participated in a three-day general strike in favour of the limitation of the workday to eight hours. Chicago police responded by shooting and killing four strikers. In response, demonstrators organized a rally on May 4 at Haymarket Square. When police moved to attack the crowd, a bomb was thrown at them. In response, the police fired indiscriminately at the crowd. When the smoke cleared, and at least four demonstrators and eight cops lay dead. One cop died from the blast of the bomb and seven from friendly fire, and 60 were wounded.

This May 1, 2015, cities across the country are organizing actions. Action for Civil Liberties has created this handy event page where people can post May Day rallies, especially if they are linked to Bill C-51. The page includes events from Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Manitoba, Windsor, Halifax and others.

In Toronto, the Toronto Coalition against Bill C-51 has organized one of the many feeder marches into the May Day Rally and is launching a 48-hour vigil for our civil liberties.

But, in my view, Quebec is leading the way. Quebec is organizing a general strike, in the tradition of the original May Day. Over 100 organizations across the province have signed on. There will be a rally in the Place d’Youville, in Quebec City. In Montreal, a protest is being organized with the slogan “It is not only austerity that we must fight. We must bring down capitalism.”

If you don’t see your event here, send it my way and I will add it. Also do add it to the Action for Civil liberties page.


Maya Bhullar

Maya Bhullar has over 15 years of professional experience in such diverse areas as migration, labour, urban planning and community mobilization. She has a particular interest in grassroots engagement,...