What is the significance of the Regina Riot in 1935?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In my mind, the Regina Riot speaks to the economic hardship and frustration that was experienced around the world with the worldwide depression of the time.  Canada's story of the Regina Riot is no different than the thousand of soldiers who marched on Washington, living in makeshift shanty towns called Hoovervilles, demanding their war compensation.  The idea of marchers seeking economic change in the midst of crippling economic times speaks loudly to this.  The Regina Riot, itself, also speaks to the fundamental antagonism that was present between strikers and the police authorities.  The latter hiding in wait, circling the former, and being given a signal to strike helps to show the premeditated approach that the authorities held towards workers and strikers of the time.  The Regina Riot reflects this fundamental antagonism, a time when everyone struggled to hold on to whatever little they had and when force was used to put down the voices of those who wished to have a little more in order to live.  Its significance lies here in reflecting how labor strife and economic challenge are just as much a part of Canadian History as any modern nation experiences.

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