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To Each His Own

William Coaker and the Fisherman's Protective Union in Newfoundland Politics, 1908-1925

By Ian D.H. McDonald
Edited by James K. Hiller
Categories: History, Labour, Fisheries, Newfoundland And Labrador Studies
Series: Social and Economic Studies
Series Number: 33
Paperback : 9780919666573, 214 pages, January 1987


This is a study of the Fishermen's Protective Union, a remarkable populist movement that flourished in Newfoundland between 1908 and the mid-1920s. Under the dynamic leadership of William Coaker, the union set out to reform the fishing industry and to obtain social and political reforms, which would ensure that the rural workers--fishermen, sealers and loggers--received "their own": a fair and just return for their labour, and a voice in the country's affairs. This book seeks to explain why the crusade, which seemed to promise so much, ended in disillusion.


"This is the story of a newly independent colony in which people are struggling for power within a parliamentary democracy easily manipulated by mercantile capitalists. It is a story of the Fishermen’s Protective Union, a radical social movement of impoverished fishermen, led by an energetic organizer…MacDonald’s work is a good example of political history as ehnography of politicians and politics. "

- Bonnie McCay, Applied Anthropology