Introduction | :
On September , information was conveyed to Estevan Police Chief McCutcheon
that the miners’ intended to hold a ‘nuisance parade’ in Estevan the following day. The
parade was to be held for the purpose of dramatizing the miners’ plight in order to gain
local support, and to advertise a mass meeting scheduled for the evening of the twenty-
ninth in the town hall, at which time Anne Buller, a WUL [Work ers’ Unity League of
Canada] organizer from Winnipeg, would address the assembly. As no application for a
permit to hold the parade had been made, Mayor Bannatyne called a special session of
the town council for the morning of the twenty-ninth to discuss it, as well as the matter of
renting the hall to the strikers. After brief deliberations, council, it has been said, passed
a resolution prohibiting the renting of the town hall to the miners, banning the parade
and authorizing the Estevan police and the RCMP to prevent any such demonstration. . . .
At : P.M., on the twenty-ninth, some two hundred miners, all of them evidently
unaware that they would soon be confronted by the police, assembled in Bienfait [a
mining town near Estevan], intent on motoring to Estevan, accompanied by their wives
and children, to interview Mayor Bannatyne regarding prohibition of the public meeting
scheduled that evening in the town hall. At two o’clock the group departed for Crescent
Collieries, three miles distant. That mine had been chosen for a rendezvous and soon
cars and lorries bearing strikers and their families arrived from various points through-
out the district. Here the men boarded lorries, a few of which were draped with Union
Jacks, and the women and children entered automobiles for the seventeen-mile journey.
The caravan, consisting of thirty or forty vehicles, extending for a distance of a mile
along the highway and moving at a speed aptly described as that of a funeral cortège,
then threaded its way through the idle mining district, picking up recruits en route. As
it approached Estevan, banners proclaiming ‘We will not work for starvation wages,’ ‘We
want houses, not piano boxes’ and ‘Down with the company stores’ were unfurled.
Meanwhile, in Estevan the police were reportedly charting strategy to prevent any
violation of the town council’s edict forbidding any parade or demonstration. They are
said to have decided that should any attempt to demonstrate occur, they would concen-
trate their forces at the limits of the town to prevent the striking miners from entering.
Reinforcements had arrived intermittently during the strike, and by the twenty-ninth
Inspector Moorhead had forty-seven RCMP under his command. The police were
equipped with thirty ries (one hundred rounds of ammunition per rie), forty-eight
revolvers, forty-eight riding crops and four machine guns capable of ring three hun-
dred shots per minute. Rumours were prevalent that the police also were holding a stock
of tear-gas bombs in readiness.
Shortly before three .., three to four hundred striking miners plus members of their
families reached the outskirts of the town. The motorcade approached Estevan from the
east on Highway and proceeded west along Fourth Street, the principal thoroughfare,
to Souris Avenue, where twenty-two policemen had formed a cordon across the street.
Chief McCutcheon approached the lead vehicle and told the strikers: ‘Now boys youse
had better pull back home for we are not going to allow you to parade through town. . . .’
During the ensuing argument, McCutcheon apparently grabbed hold of [striking miner]
Martin Day and attempted to pull him down o the lorry. While some of his colleagues
were engaged in holding Day back, another struck McCutcheon in the face and knocked