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> Issue 58 > Page 52 - "Parade of Concern" for Sydney Steel

Page 52 - "Parade of Concern" for Sydney Steel

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/8/1 (198 reads)

And they were playing that all over Canada on TV and radio. Now, after that it was perfected a little, and Charlie would have gone through it again with a better set? ting. But right in the crowd, with--whether it was 15 or 20 thousand people--waiting for the last thousand to come in--in mud. They were all singing. Everybody was sing? ing. And Charlie was standing up there. And Vince Morrison was a sharp--he sensed right quick that this was catching on. So he let Charlie front stage, up in front of the mike, play it as long as he could play it, to hold the crowd together. Then the speeches came very quick, and not long. And they were over, and that's it-- everybody went home. Oh, Charlie stole the show! And it wasn't Charlie's fault or anybody else's--it just happened. Because the crowd got in on it-- they were singing. It was cold, eh. Cold and wet and damp. So they all started to sing. And that was not planned--that was just pure accident. (And when you say they went home, they just wandered out of the place? That was the end of it?) Yeah. m-hm. (They felt they had done their job.) Yeah. (No prom? ises, though.) No promises, no. That's why I say, the meetings afterwards--the meet? ing, I remember, with Marchand and P6pin and Allan MacEachen--I'm sure that was af? ter. Because the meetings were fast and furious. And I know that Tom McKeough--and they had agreed--the management agreed-- they took over the steel plant, practical? ly, in December.... And legally, they took it over the first of January. And they didn't pay any attention to the far-away management, whoever they were. It was an immediate takeover--not legally, but practically. (That's interesting. The whole thing is interesting. It's interesting how the gov? ernment was pulled into it, and that's really all we were fighting for at that point--get them into it, and see what we do with it down the road.) That's right. Not even looking down the road. We can't handle that now, we've got too much of a problem right here. Let's do it. (How long was the Parade of Concern, by the way? ) I would say we started at 12:30. Sunday afternoon. And it was all over at 4:30--4:00, 4:30.... Most of the time was spent in getting up there. And once we got them all in, I would say it only lasted an hour. (Anything else happen that was funny or un? usual or...?) No. The Charlie MacKinnon one was funny, though. I was up there with him, you know--there were a few of us up there. And, "Drive 'er, Charlie!" you know. And Charlie just rose to the occasion. You couldn't believe the spirit out there. We could see everybody, of course--we were up in the stand. And there was a very friendly spirit. And that was great for us, because we were somewhat worried that they might get out of control, you know. There wasn't even a chance of it, the way it developed. (Where has that spirit gone, Fr. Roach? How come we're not scream? ing today?) I'm not too sure. Now, I don't know. But maybe, when the government has it--where there's a problem, "Well, okay, do something." See, in those days, the gov? ernment didn't have coal. And the govern? ment didn't have steel. So there was no au? tomatic answer. And we had to fight for an answer. We had to look for an answer. But since the takeover--"Well, it's your steel plant--you look after it. If it's a prob? lem, you look after it." And the coal in? dustry, the same thing. But up until that time, remember, it wasn't government. The government didn't have the coal mines. And they didn't have the steel plant. So it was a different type of a--maybe. (You're suggesting, then, that the local people never really came to feel it was theirs.) No. (Am I correct?) M-hm. (And today, they're not rising and saying, "Don't dare to take our steel plant." They just expect government, as though it were a third party and not themselves, to do something about it.) Yeah, yeah, yeah. "You have to do it--you're government." The photographs of the Parade of Concern are from the Abbass Studio Collection In the Beaton Institute, U.C.C.B. Our thanks to the staff of the Beaton Institute for their help, and to Ray Fahey and Carol Kennedy, who printed the 1967 pictures. Steel plant photograph courtesy Nova Scotia Information Services. Your Sign of Quality DON'T ACCEPT LESS Let our experienced staff help you with ail your printing needs SPECIALISTS IN PROCESS COLOR PRINTING 180 Townsend St.. Sydney 564-8245 Fax: (902) 539-2040 539-8666
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