Almost exactly eighty-five years ago as I write this, a man named William Davis was shot and killed by police paid by the British Empire Steel and Coal Company (BESCO), as he marched in a union demonstration in New Waterford, Cape Breton.
The miners of that day were striking. BESCO cut off water and electricity to their houses. And their police fired over 300 shots in that skirmish.
Even now, despite the fact that no mines work in Cape Breton, Davis Day is celebrated in the mining communities of Cape Breton. I grew up in one of those communities. And I salute the courage of those long-ago miners who fought against tyrannical and brutal companies for the basic rights of a worker and a human being.
William Davis left a wife and nine children.
The Men of the Deeps: “Coal by the Sea”