The largest political protest in BC’s history.

In 1983, labour and activist organizations alike across the province, including unions, environmental, religious, social justice and women’s rights groups, came together over the course of several weeks through escalating actions in what would effectively become the largest political protest in BC’s history. It was in response to the most sweeping assault on rights Canadian history by the newly re-elected Social Credit government. This project explores the diverse experiences and recollections of workers involved in this moment in history through archival photos, videos, objects, and oral history interviews, to help us learn from the past and work towards the future.

Knowledge Network/BC Labour Heritage Centre video on Solidarity. (2:50)


Past President of MoveUP, Andy Ross, describes August 10, 1983 when he and other uniformed ICTU (bus drivers) members marched into Empire Stadium. (1:11)

July 7, 1983: Twenty-six pieces of legislation
• Human Rights Branch and Commission fired
• Rentalsman Office closed
• Employment Standards Board, Alcohol and Drug Commission, vehicle testing stations, BC Harbours Board axed
• Government gives itself power to fire school boards
• BCGEU contract gutted
• Government gives itself and all public employers the right to fire employees without cause


Dan Keeton photo, Pacific Tribune photo collection, SFU Library MSC160-869-17

Over the coming months, we will explore the Solidarity Movement of 1983 in BC.  The tasks we have set include:

  • Gather stories of participants from all regions of BC through oral interviews; collect photos, correspondence, publications, recordings and videos.
  •  Organize a ‘Solidarity35’ archive, obtain copyrights and permissions. Create a video compilation.
  • October 4, 2018 “It Seemed Anything Was Possible” Common Cause video (1984) screening and panel discussion, Anvil Centre, New Westminster, 7 pm.
  • November 8, 2018 “A Time to Act” presentation and panel discussion, Anvil Centre, New Westminster, 7 pm.
  • Prepare exhibit for posting on Canadian Museum of History’s Virtual Museum. This exhibit will document the story of Operation Solidarity and the Solidarity Coalition in 1983. It will live in perpetuity and be available to view from anywhere in the world.  Publication date: Fall 2019.