Vol 35 (1995)

"Hands-off Labour Forum": The Making and Unmaking of National Working-Class Radio Broadcasting in Canada, 1935-1944

Marcus Klee
Queen's University
Published January 1, 1995
How to Cite
Klee, M. (1995). "Hands-off Labour Forum": The Making and Unmaking of National Working-Class Radio Broadcasting in Canada, 1935-1944. Labour / Le Travail, 35, 107-132. Retrieved from https://www.lltjournal.ca/index.php/llt/article/view/4962


This article examines the Worker Educational Association's National Labour Forum radio series as it developed into a popular, and politically contentious, program with a weekly national audience of 100,000. The series quickly evoked the condemnation of C.D. Howe, head of the powerful Department of Munitions and Supply, and embroiled the program and the WEA in the sectarian struggles of the labour movement. Eventually the WEA was expelled from its central role in the production of Labour Forum and control was transferred to the state's Wartime Information Board and its Committee of Industrial Morale. The Trades and Labour Congress and Canadian Congress of Labour bureaucrats slowly responded to a persistent chorus of protest from workers and union locals, withdrawing their support one year prior to its cancellation in 1944. Résumés Cet article examine la série d'émissions radiophoniques National Labour Forum, de la Worker Educational Association, alors qu'elle devint un programme populaire, mais aussi politiquement contesté, avec une audience hebdomadaire de 100,000. La série fut rapidement condamnée par C.D. Howe, dirigeant du puissant ministère des Munitions et des Approvisionnement. Le programme et la WEA furent aussi mêlés aux luttes intestines du mouvement ouvrier. En fin de compte, la WEA fut expulsée de son rôle central dans la production de Labour Forum et le contrôle de l'émission fut transféré à la Commission d'information en temps de guerre. Le Congrès des Métiers et du Travail du Canada et le Congrès Pancanadien du Travail retirèrent leur appuie au programme en 1943, suite aux protestations persistantes de travailleurs et de syndicats locaux, soit un an avant son annulation.